Critically acclaimed British guitarist and singer songwriter, Joanne Shaw Taylor, universally hailed as the UK’s premiere blues rock guitarist, is announcing the release of her sixth studio full-length record The Blues Album on Friday September 17, 2021. Today she also shares a new single, Let Me Down Easyalong with a companion music video.
The album will be released via Joe Bonamassa’s independent blues label KTBA Records. It was produced and recorded by Joe Bonamassa and Josh Smith at Ocean Way Studios in Nashville, Tennessee.
The hotly tipped 11-track album features Joanne’s personalised covers of eleven rare blues classics originally recorded by Albert King, Peter Green, Little Richard, Magic Sam, Aretha Franklin, Little Milton, and many more.
The Blues Album, the follow up to 2019’s critically acclaimed album Reckless Heart, features Josh Smith (guitar), Reese Wynans (keyboards), Greg Morrow (drums), Steve Mackey (bass), Steve Patrick (trumpet), Mark Douthit (sax), Barry Green (trombone). Joe Bonamassa plays guitar and sings on the track Don’t Go Away Mad.
Mike Farris also joins as a special guest on I Don’t Know What You’ve Got.
“I’d known from the beginning of my recording career that one day I wanted to record an album of blues covers, I just wasn’t sure when the right time to do that would be,” says Joanne. “I’ve always found it far easier to write my own material than come up with creative ways to make other artists’ material my own.”
When the pandemic put the brakes on from musicians from touring during 2020 and most of 2021, Joanne thought it was the right time to head into the studio to record The Blues Album.
“I mentioned my new project idea to Joe Bonamassa,” recalls Joanne. “He asked me for my song choices. Immediately he began sending me notes and was texting me song suggestions.” Joanne and Joe have been best friends and fans of each other’s music for many years. Joanne always wanted to work with Joe if the right project or collaboration came about.
“He was already acting as a mentor as well as an unofficial producer on The Blues Album, so I asked him if he’d fancy the job, officially,” says Joanne. “Thankfully, he accepted. The Blues Album has been everything I hoped it would be. It’s been a labour of love, overseen by an artist, producer, and friend who I trust beyond measure.”
“We wanted to make a tough vocal centric straight blues record that showcases Joanne’s amazing talent but in a slightly different light,” explains Bonamassa. “Joanne is a dear friend and a superstar. Josh and I focused on testing her limits and pushing boundaries that might not have occurred before. It’s all about making a statement and having the listener want to play the music repeatedly.”
Joanne’s covers album pays tribute to artists and bands that are not obvious choices including Little Village, Little Milton, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, James Ray, but, at the same time, she covers seminal blues icons including Albert King, Fleetwood Mac’s Peter Green and Magic Sam. Some of the songs covered are B-sides of singles.
“We try not to live in the well-worn trails of the blues,” explains Bonamassa. “Each song has to has to stand on its own while paying tribute to the original masters.”
“Joe made it known from the get-go that his main objective for this album was to push me as a singer,” recalls Joanne. “Obviously, Joe has seen me perform many times over the years and knows my voice well. I think he felt that he could my vocal performance more, and get more out of it, especially since I’d had over a year to rest my vocal cords.”
As a musician and a recording and performing artist, Joe Bonamassa has always been a fan of Joanne’s music. Ultimately, what did Bonamassa set out to achieve by co-producing this magnificent, rich, and beautifully recorded and performed album for Joanne? Joe explains, “If you focus on what people might not associate with an artist and work hard on those areas it allows her fans to discover things and sets her up in a different light. Joanne’s a great singer and always has been. The guitar unfortunately has over-shadowed it until now. A lot of us in the business have the same problem. ”
“On the new album, I mostly played my own guitar, my 1966 Esquire ‘Junior’,” says Joanne. “I tried to use a few of Joes Tele’s, but they’re set up for much bigger hands than mine. I did use Joe’s vintage amps – I believe one of his 60’s Vibroverbs mixed with a fumble overdrive for pretty much all of it. We didn’t use any pedals.”
It goes without saying that the production team of Joe Bonamassa and Josh Smith are at the top of their game. They recently produced new albums for Joanna Connor, Jimmy Hall, and Eric Gales. Joanna Connor’s album, 4801 South Indiana Avenue, met with great critical acclaim worldwide, was the second album released on Bonamassa’s independent label KTBA Records and debuted at #1 on the Billboard Blues Chart.
“Joe and Josh make a fantastic team,” insists Joanne. “Both bring something different to the table that the other maybe couldn’t. I loved working with them. I was worried about working with Joe for obvious reasons, (we are very close friends), but you never know how that will translate into a working relationship. It was cool to work with two guys not much older than me. Most of the producers I’ve worked with so far haven’t been so close to me in age, plus Joe and Josh have the added benefit of understanding what it is to tour on the same scene as me and what me touring this album will look like. All in all, it was a very relaxed fun session and hang.”
Joanne Shaw Taylor – Biography
Joanne Shaw Taylor was discovered by Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics at the age of 16 who, having watched her play, immediately invited her on the road with his supergroup D.U.P. – a career in music was born and in the proceeding years, her incredible guitar playing saw her build an army of plaudits including Jimmy Cliff, Joe Bonamassa, Stevie Wonder and Annie Lennox.
Still only in her 30’s, she has become one of the most sought-after guitarists in the world of rock. She released her first album on Ruf Records entitled “White Sugar” (2009), unleashing her distinct soulful voice on the world, and demonstrating a song writing prowess way beyond her years – the world of blues rock had a new star! Over the next few years, she released critically acclaimed albums including her sophomore album “Diamonds In The Dirt” (2010), “Almost Always Never” (2012) which featured the UK radio hit “Soul Station”, plus her final album for Ruf Records – the live album “Songs From The Road” (2013).
In 2014 she released her fourth studio album “The Dirty Truth” on Axehouse Records that featured the singles “Mud, Honey” and “Wicked Soul”. In 2016, Joanne followed up with the release of her fifth album “Wild” (Produced by Kevin Shirley) which saw her perform songs “Dyin’ To Know” and “Summertime” on BBC Two Television’s popular music show “Later With Jools Holland”. Three years later, in 2019 she signed to Silvertone Records via Sony Music and released her sixth studio album, “Reckless Heart”.
Over the past two decades, Joanne has proven herself as a prolific songwriter, releasing seven acclaimed albums under her belt, each increasingly more successful with her 2019 “Reckless Heart” breaking into the UK Top 20 Album Chart and cementing herself as one of the most important exports in British blues-rock.
Her highly anticipated upcoming album is currently in the works. The new collection of songs was produced by Joe Bonamassa and Josh Smith at Oceanway Recording Studios in Nashville, Tennessee, and will be released on Bonamassa’s KTBA Records on September 17, 2021.
Keeping the Blues Alive RecordsThe new independent record label is an offshoot of Keeping The Blues Alive Foundation, Joe Bonamassa’s non-profit that aims to conserve the art of music in schools and preserve the rich culture and history of the blues. Bonamassa along with his long-time manager and business partner, Roy Weisman, have expanded their business by creating the new label, Keeping the Blues Alive (KTBA) Records.
The first release on the label was Dion’s album Blues with Friends that was released to critical acclaim in June 2020. In February 2021, KTBA Records release Joanna Connor’s album 4801 South Indiana Avenue which received rave reviews worldwide.
KTBA Records’ main objective is to provide a platform for musical talent in blues and blues-rock based music and helping promote the careers of extraordinary musical talent. The label works synergistically with the non-profit’s mission of supporting musicians to continue the legacy of the blues. 10% of all profits from KTBA Records are donated to the non-profit.
KTBA Records is an important step in the co-evolution of the music and the business of making it. It represents another of Bonamassa’s continuing efforts over the last 25 years in support the artistic community. It reflects the philosophy of paying it forward just as so many did for Joe in the hope of paving the way for blues artists in the future. Visit www.KTBArecords.com for further information.