Joanne Shaw Taylor, the best modern blues-rock guitarist to establish themselves this decade, released her fifth studio album Wild today. After several listens today, I’m hooked.
There’s so much that feels, well, stronger, confident and adventurous. You can hear it in Taylor’s vocals, the beefier riffs on the heavy songs, the expansive Wild Is The Wind with organ and piano, the fuzzed-up strut of I’m In Chains, and the bittersweet ballad I Wish I Could Wish You Back.
The background vocals are a great addition to Taylor’s sound. Perfectly capturing the southern sound of Stax and Muscle Shoals, the singers add extra dimension and soul on Ready To Roll, Get You Back, Wanna Be My Lover, I’m In Chains, and Nothin’ To Lose.
My favourite track so far is Nothin’ To Lose. It’s in Taylor’s natural zone – overdriven riffs and a blistering lead blues guitar – but the confidence, weightier backing band and vocals are what shine. Joe Bonamassa and Beth Hart’s duets have serious competition here. (Producer Kevin Shirley’s influence is all over this album.)
There are two welcome surprises – My Heart’s Got A Mind Of Its Own, a swaggering, sophisticated blues with big brand brass and piano, and the album-closing cover of Gershwin’s Summertime.