Joanne Shaw Taylor: Diamonds in the Dirt (Ruf)

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Joanne Shaw Taylor: Jump That Train
Joanne Shaw Taylor: Diamonds in the Dirt (Ruf)

It would be easy to describe -- and acclaim -- this fiery British singer-guitarist as a blues artist, and she is. But there's more to her than that.

Certainly she can peel off blazing solos like Stevie Ray Vaughan (whose producer Jim Gaines is again on hand here) and can also conjure up the more gentle blues-soul of Hendrix (World on Fire). And there is an earthiness here, even when she puts her foot to the floor and starts whipping out an incendiary guitar wail (Let It Burn takes a slice of pure SRV).

But at other times, notably on the slow burning numbers (Same As It Never Was), she reveals a more soulful voice which has her edging towards Etta James -- or Janis Joplin in her more reflective moments.

This is her second album and even beforehand she was picking up awards and acknowledgement in Britain, which hasn't really been a home for this kind of tough urban blues -- which may explain why on the cover she's seated before a sign which reads "Detroit" and the album was recorded in Tennessee. She now lives in Detroit and the States seems her natural home.

She definitely satisfies the demands of the blues festival stage circuit (the Seventies-rock sound of Who Do You Love), but here the more reflective material like the title track (which Bonnie Raitt could comfortably cover) and The World And Its Way shows there is much more to her than what that "blues" description might mean to some.

This is impressive and the fact she does this with just a bassist and drummer means she must be of great appeal to promoters. Let's hope we see her live some time soon, she sounds unmissable.

Like the sound of this? Then try this woman.

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Richard V - Feb 1, 2011

This is a lovely album, as was her previous one - take some time out and give both a careful listen - if you love contemporary blues. She's the real deal.

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