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Almost Always Never

Joanne Shaw Taylor

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Album Review

Joanne Shaw Taylor has the looks of a cherub, with a round baby face and a shock of blonde hair that makes her look even younger than her 26 years. But when she picks up her guitar and starts tearing into a tune, she channels the sweaty energy of a smoky blues bar at midnight. Her singing is just as gritty and soulful, a throaty growl that conveys the blistering emotions that are her stock in trade. She doesn't waste any time getting down to business. The album opens with "Soul Station," an ode to recovery and salvation, but the extended solo she lays down to close the tune sounds like a battle between angels and demons with its shrieking bent notes and searing distorted arpeggios. Having made her point with her opening volley, Taylor shows more restraint on the rest of the album, although her playing is always just as impressive. "You Should Stay, I Should Go" is a sparse R&B shuffle with some good Hammond B-3 by David Garza and a short sharp blues-rock solo. "Standing to Fall" is a slow funky rocker that includes a long break that plays off Taylor's short bursts of bent-note arpeggios against Garza's sideshow Hammond and Billy White's ominous bass guitar, while "Army of One" shows off her acoustic side with showers of quiet chiming notes set off by White's slide guitar work. The lyrics are the album's only weakness. Taylor's words are laden with clichés and awkward descriptions of dead-end relationships. Her powerful vocals and anguished pyrotechnics convey a world of pain and betrayal that her lyrics don't ever quite capture. ~ j. poet, Rovi

Customer Reviews

Great talent

I bought her 2 previous albums as well as this one and they are all as good as each other. I never thought I would ever hear a 20 something white girl play blues with such feeling and with great intensity in her guitar playing. To everyone who though the blues could only be played by middle aged males, you are wrong. This girl is brilliant, buy her albums, you won't regret it

Exceeded all expectations. Great

Songs are great, musicianship and voice awesome. Original and well crafted. JST just gets better and better. Looking forward to the Derby gig.




Genre: Blues

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Joanne Shaw TaylorTaylor embodies all the elements of modern blues, even if she sings with a distinctively British accent. Given her extraordinary dexterity as a guitarist and well-developed vocal chops, Taylor was already a sensation on the blues festival circuit in both the U.S. and Great Britain when only in her mid-twenties. Taylor caught the blues bug as a young teenager growing up in the Birmingham area. She heard guitarists...
Full bio
Almost Always Never, Joanne Shaw Taylor
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Customer Ratings