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Joanne Shaw Taylor

Tuesday 27th October 2015

Jazz Cafe, London

How often have we all been to gigs to find that the support band appear to be there simply because they are cheap and to be honest not particularly good? Things sounded more promising as I stood at the bar at The Jazz Cafe and told AJ that I would keep my coat as it was cold. “It won’t be cold for much longer” the lady next to me said “and not because of Joanne Shaw Taylor!” Brave words - probably one of the support bands mums!! Thirty seconds later Federal Charm took to the stage and wow!!! Hailing from Manchester these guys have the lot, stage presence, ability, belief and a catalogue of songs that back all of that up. I must admit I was looking for a comparison and on some of the tracks the repetitive Zeppelin riff was more than apparent. If that is who they are basing themselves on then how can they go wrong – for me it’s not a case of will they break through but when! The guys have their second album out called ‘Across the Divide’ and that is on my shopping list. Having already supported Black Star Riders and UFO as well as JST they are a band in demand so when they are back in town, do yourself a favour - definitely in the mix for the WRC Awards this year as ones to watch!!

AJ and me have always been fans of Joanne Shaw Taylor since we saw her support Black Country Communion at the end of 2010. And now that Joe Bonamassa had thrown his hat into the ring stating that JST was the next superstar we just had to check out how her career has progressed. The tour was to promote her new album ‘The Dirty Truth’ and it was clear that tracks on the album were very personal in nature and were aimed at the break up of her relationship with a “shitty” boyfriend – ‘Tried Tested and True’ is an incredibly strong Blues track which is really sung from the heart – not sure the hurt has completely gone though. Contrast this with the wonderful acoustic track ‘Almost Always Never’ which was written about her mothers battle with cancer – again sung with real feeling and you have two total contrasts from what most people associate with JST i.e. in your face Blues/Rock with ear splitting solos. Add in the fact that the new album includes some countrified tracks and you can immediately see that JST is determined not to be known as a one trick pony.

The first time I reviewed JST I did have reservations over her vocals and I am afraid I still do to some extent. Her range is limited and I personally have difficulty with understanding the lyrics at times. That said she has more control since the last time I saw her and the vocals are more earthy which I like. I have always liked artists that leave their comfort zone and look for progression – ‘The Dirty Truth’ certainly does that and I applaud this very talented lady – can’t wait to see where she goes next.


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