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White Sugar

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Album Review

She's already being called "the new face of the blues" by the press in her native Britain, but her debut album is the first opportunity most Americans will have to hear Joanne Shaw Taylor's sharp, fiery take on blues-based rock. Opening with the dark and sultry "Going Home," Taylor makes her intentions clear from the very beginning: her sound is raw, funky, and soulful, and she's as likely to reference Jimi Hendrix's R&B-inflected blues-rock as Stevie Ray Vaughan's rock-inflected blues. She's also unwilling to be hemmed in: notice the gorgeous guitar intro on "Just Another Word," and the way that the song goes well outside the lines of traditional blues structure without erasing them. Also notice the especially Hendrix-y "Kiss the Ground Goodbye," the lovely instrumental title track, and the stark, spare "Heavy Heart." The latter is the finest track on the program; it features a brilliant chord progression and a sly bluebeat outro that reveals a sense of humor that is otherwise pretty much hidden. The album ends on a very powerful note, with the slow-burning "Blackest Day." The challenge on this song is the solo, and she meets that challenge brilliantly, twice, and in two very different ways: once with gentle regret and then again with forsaken rage. A spectacular debut from a major talent.

Customer Reviews

I have been waiting for this one

Always patient and never rushing Joanne shares with us progressive Blues licks that I find inspiring. The back up is tight and right there with her everystep of the way. The vocals are a little weak with the exception of Blackest Day where she shows us her husky best. This effort is right on the evoluntionary path for this artisit.


Well....this is a landmark album in my mind.......folks will refer back to her early work for, hopefully, many years to come. I actually feel honored to write only the second review for this CD on iTunes. If you love excellent, tasteful guitar, and soul or the blues, you will want this music. I (along with anyone else who has heard this) anxiously await more so please, Joanne, keep it comin' and you gotta visit the US should LIVE here! (we are a selfish lot) It's not difficult to immediately understand how refreshing this is but it is hard to think ahead in time and realize where this huge talent will go....her guitar work is already tasteful and technically excellent.....her voice is so very gooooood already......but think about these maturing.....holy cow!!! Thank you so much for sharing your talents......refreshing and hopeful are the best descriptions I can think of.....besides INCREDIBLE!! :-)

Superb guitar, smooth vocals, polished production

This album is very accessible, keeping the blues fresh and up to date, without betraying their roots, whilst maintaining the interest with cliché-avoiding arrangements. As a torch bearer of the SRV, Hendrix, King(s) legacy, Joanne's playing is up there with the John Mayers of the modern blues/rock scene. Her voice is husky and sexy in the Joss Stone mould, adding to the album's modern feel. All in all, a great first album. If you like well arranged blues-tinged rock, or just straight ahead blues, buy this album! We'll be hearing a lot more of JST.


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
White Sugar, Joanne Shaw Taylor
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Customer Ratings