The British-born blues-rock phenom who splits time between Detroit and Nashville brings the tour behind a new album to Kalamazoo on Wednesday. The Local Spins interview, with videos.
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With her latest album, “Nobody’s Fool,” already creating an industry buzz after being released on Friday, guitarist and singer Joanne Shaw Taylor clearly has ascended to the summit of the blues-rock scene.
The British-born artist who now splits her time between Detroit and Nashville soared to No. 1 on blues charts with her last two albums, 2021’s “The Blues Album” and 2022’s “Blues from the Heart Live,” also an acclaimed live concert film.
Collaborating with the likes of icons Joe Bonamassa (who co-produced the new album) and Dave Stewart (who discovered Taylor at age 16), Taylor’s newest, musically diverse collection has quickly turned heads and impressed critics.
RockAndBluesMuse.com called it “a guitar lovers’ album” with “guest shots by Joe Bonamassa and Bones UK guitarist Carmen Vandenberg. (Taylor) spices most of the tracks with her lethal Telecaster snarl. ‘Nobody’s Fool’ should win her a broader audience while delighting her existing fan base.”
Of course, the 37-year-old Taylor, who grew up in England, quips that her recent success has come after years of toiling amid the rigors of the music business, starting as a teenager.
“I always joke I’m a 20-year overnight success,” she told Local Spins in a recent interview from her residence in Nashville.
“(Growing up) I was adamant that I wanted to live in America and I wanted to make a living at music, but I didn’t think it would be the career that it has been. Persistence is the key in this industry. It has been a hard slog and it’s only the last couple of years that I’ve been able to make a living at it.”
That persistence – along with immense talent and being “authentic to myself” – has earned the electrifying performer kudos from fans, critics and fellow musicians.
Taylor kicked off her fall U.S. tour on Friday, and makes a stop Wednesday (Nov. 2) at Kalamazoo State Theatre. Tickets, $29-$99, available online here. The show starts at 8 p.m.
Released on Bonamassa’s Keeping the Blues Alive Records, “Nobody’s Fool” also features guest spots by Bonamassa, Vandenberg, cellist Tina Guo and Stewart, who joins Taylor for a cover of The Eurythmics’ “Missionary Man.”
It follows the release earlier this year of Taylor’s first concert film, “Blues from the Heart Live,” which was recorded at The Franklin Theatre outside Nashville with guest appearances by Bonamassa, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Mike Farris. (Watch a video from the concert here.)
VIDEO: “Summertime,” Joanne Shaw Taylor with Joe Bonamassa
“I thought it was a brilliant night,” Taylor says of the concert that has also been featured on PBS. “I really enjoyed it.”
MAKING THE MUSIC THAT SHE BELIEVES IN
Influenced on guitar by the likes of Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix and Albert Collins, Taylor also has drawn vocal inspiration from icons such as Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, Susan Tedeschi and Bonnie Raitt.
And she’s “always had a fascination with Detroit,” having lived in the Motor City for the past 14 years. She’s been splitting her time between Detroit and Nashville since March.
She’s also tickled about returning to stages after a pandemic that shut touring down for 18 months.
“It’s been so nice to be able to get back on the road and play for fans,” Taylor says. “It felt like everyone was very happy to be back out. Everyone’s just really pleased that live music is back.”
Taylor says fans at Wednesday’s show in Kalamazoo can expect “a really good mix” of new songs, greatest hits and “a couple that are a bit more acoustic” in nature.
The first leg of the U.S. tour wraps up in mid-November, followed by a series of dates in the United Kingdom. The second leg of the U.S. tour kicks off next spring.
For Taylor, the recent accolades serve to reinforce her resilient attitude and faith in her own music.
“I think you have to believe in yourself and in making the music that you believe in,” she says.
“If you do what you want rather than a product that isn’t genuine, you’ve got a better chance of striking a chord with someone else. It’s nice to think at the end of this that I did it exactly the way I wanted to do it and I was authentic to myself.”
VIDEO: “Fade Away,” Joanne Shaw Taylor w/ Tina Guo (from “Nobody’s Fool”)
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