Joanne Shaw Taylor – White Sugar was produced by Jim Gaines, released on the Ruf Records label, and marks Joanne Shaw Taylor’s debut release. New to the blues scene, this British singer/guitarist/songwriter has taken the genre by storm. Only 23, but with a depth of presence that reflects a more seasoned musician, she had no problem taking her talents to the famed Bessie Blue Studios in Western Tennessee, and under the direction of acclaimed producer Jim Gaines, who has produced the likes of Stevie Ray Vaughan, Santana, Luther Allison, and Jonny Lang, she embraced the challenge with the same commitment and dedication that she has for her instrument.
White Sugar opens with the track Going Home, which starts with a series of soft blues chord changes that are accompanied by Joanne’s sultry vocals as we are formally introduced to this talented musician. Though she has the inner passion and drive that translates into some blazing guitar work, she selected a lead track that lets her audience get to know her. The track Just Another Word begins with a guitar solo that combines rock and blues while she draws her audience in with her captivating voice. Ready to take the audience to another level she releases her music with the driving track Bones that lets her guitar do the talking. Blistering, funky, sexy, and an attention getter, her guitar work is worth wearing out the replay button. speed dating
Now that the audience has been appropriately warmed up she opens the track Who Do You Want Me To Be? with a hot solo. This is the track that she starts to let it loose with her guitar while moving seamlessly in and out of rock and blues to capture a pulsating sound that she complements with her powerful vocals. Time Has Come is a soulful traditional blues track that lets the listener take a breath and ease into her creative and progressive sound; she nails the blues on this track. The title track White Sugar is an acoustic track that is raw, funky, and at times playful; this is the track where Joanne lets it all hang out.
Kiss The Ground Goodbye pays tribute to one of her influences, Jimi Hendrix, where she blends signature Jimi chord changes and melodies, while the lyrics carry signature passages from Jimi Hendrix’s Purple Haze. The release also includes the tracks Heavy Heart, a stripped down track that features Joanne’s vocal prowess to carry the track; and Watch ’em Burn that turns up the volume with Joanne’s now signature blend of funk/blues/rock guitar work, a very distinct and appealing sound. The release closes out with the track Blackest Day that is like a slow fuse burning that starts with a beautifully measured guitar solo that moves the flame along its desired path; the track builds with anticipation through some cleaver changes in melody and pace, and the finish is a series of controlled riffs that takes you down gently.