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Joanne Shaw Taylor "On Heavy Soul I Went Back To The Blues"

Updated: Nov 3, 2023

14 years on from releasing her debut album "White Sugar" Joanne Shaw Taylor is preparing for a 2024 release of her 10th studio album "Heavy Soul" which will once again be recorded in Nashville at the famous "RCA Studio B " and will be produced by Kevin Shirley and will also include contributions from best friend Joe Bonamassa.

The first single from the album was released last week "Sweet Little Lies"

I caught up with Joanne at home just prior to her setting off on a US tour which will take her up to the holiday season during the conversation we looked back at the very beginnings of

Joanne's love of blues music and the development of her career over the last 2 decades.

The full interview can be heard in the podcast here though are some of the quotes from the interview concerning the new album its recording and her memories of meeting Joe Bonamassa for the first time.

tim caple So the new track that was dropped last week, Sweet Little Lies, initially I thought, oh is that a cover of Fleetwood Mac? So this was the first track written on the new album which is coming in 2024. Is there a title for the album yet? . Joanne Taylor (26:25.872) Yes, it's called heavy soul.

tim caple (26:28.24) Great track I love the video, by the way is it true you haven't watched it yet ?

Joanne Taylor (26:32.262) Oh, thank you. I haven't watched it. Yeah, people keep asking me at the label to check the photos and it's like, I don't want to look at me. I'm sure Rob did a brilliant job. I'm just not much of a narcissist enough to want to watch myself in a video. It's like hearing your phone voice, you know?

tim caple (26:43.224) Oh, it's a great video,

Joanne Taylor (27:04.718) Apparently my dog's in it as well.

Joanne Taylor (27:44.342) You know, it was interesting doing this album because it's the second album I've done with Kevin Shirley and the last one we did Wild we also recorded at RCA and I wanted to return there again to kind of, felt like the right spot to do it with Kevin. And the first time we did Wild in 2015, you know, it was a similar, you know, level of And I was absolutely terrified and completely out of my depth is how I felt. And I had, I just felt like I had no business being there. and then eventually by the end of the session, Michael Rhodes, you know, I can't read charts and they're, you know, coming up with stuff really quickly. And Michael kind of sat me down and went, but we can't be here without you. You're, you know, you're bringing the songs and kind of essentially the product. And without people like you, we don't have a job.

And it kind of sat with me and it was just an interesting experience to walk in on this time. And I realized, you know, I know everyone in the studio. I've known Anton for 10-plus years through Joe. I went to see him play on Letterman once about 14 years ago. Jimmy, I've worked with live. Kevin's been a dear friend for many years now. And it was so nice to walk in and realize that you've reached that level of maturity really, where you're confident in yourself, but not to the point of having an ego, I don't think, but you feel capable. and you know your songs are going to get the treatment you want them to get because these amazing people and talents are lending you, you know, their time. So it was just a really, really nice, positive experience. And yeah, I mean, to answer your question, they're great musicians and it, you know, they certainly added a lot to the album.

tim caple (29:28.4) I've never met Kevin Shirley, never talked to Kevin Shirley, but what is the ingredient that he has that makes every band and musician the moment that they say, right, we're gonna do an album , I'm gonna phone Kevin, will you see if he's available? Literally, the guy has an appetite for work, which is unlike anybody else. I just wonder whether or not he ever has a day off, or does he have a life ?

Joanne Taylor (29:55.278) Yeah, I mean, he does. because he lives in Sydney now as well. So we just seem to spend an amazing amount of time doing long haul flights to America every other week. I mean, for me with Kevin, one, again, going back to that friendship thing and that level of trust where, you know, we're really good mates. He's one of my best friends. So, you know, that's a really lovely support system to have in a producer, you know, someone that you're making this album with. For me, it's just Kevin's ear. You know, I'll take him songs and, you know, the ideas he has for what the musicians could be trying to do. And but also, you know, there's always every take we do. It's Joanna, you happy with this? You have to be happy with this. This is your song. You know, and there's that level of support again. So, yeah, he's just he's a really fabulous guy to work with and just has ideas that. you know, you wouldn't think of. I mean, even if it's just covers he suggested for this album or, you know, subtle changes to the original songs. Um, it's just a, you know, exceptionally creative guy.

tim caple (31:04.048) What can we expect in terms of the style of the album overall? the last album"Nobody's Fool" was very different. I don't think anybody was expecting that retro pop with this very modern flair there and "Nobody's Fool" when you wrote it you said you were listening to a lot of Joni Mitchell and Fleetwood Mac. So what have you been listening to for inspiration for this album?

Joanne Taylor (31:16.195) I kind of went back to the blues. I mean the reason I wanted to do "Nobody's Fool" and that kind of departure was because I'd done the blues album. You know, I'd done a cover of blues and then I'd done the blues album live. So essentially I'd done the two most traditional blues albums I'll ever do in the space of a year. So I kind of thought I can get away with anything now, you know, I

could put out anything and it doesn't have to be too bluesy because I've just done two blues albums. So that was really good fun, but I think with this one After making that departure, I kind of went back to the kind of stuff I was always listening to. So a lot of classic rock, a lot of Fleetwood Mac, a lot of free and bad company. And, you know, I kind of didn't really have any stuff left over from "Nobody's Fool "that I wanted to work on. So I kind of approached this one as how do I go from "Nobody's Fool"back into a slightly more blues album.

Moving on we then talked about Joanne's first meeting with Joe Bonamassa which took place in Norway and his liking for British period drama.

tim caple (21:29.108) So the meeting with Joe in Norway, opening up for him, which led to you both sitting up talking all night till 5 a.m. in the morning. What did you find most in common? Why did it click?

Joanne Taylor (21:45.142) never met anyone like Joe that had the same upbringing I'd had in terms of one, playing guitar so young and gigging and getting, you know, he was playing with B.B. King when he was 14 and I was playing with Jimmy Cliff when I was 15 I had a mum and dad who were happily married that supported me in doing this because they wanted their daughter to, you know, succeed at her dreams, but they weren't stage parents, you know as son as I was 18, they had no interest in managing me or, you know, they just wanted to make sure I was safe. And Joe came from that same background, so it's really, I mean, out of all my friends, he's the only one that understands, you know, as you get older, looking back and going, hey, that was kind of a bit weird, you know, we're like, you know, child performers. So that's, you know, that's a huge thing to have in common. And then obviously he's incredibly bright and funny, which never sucks to have those qualities in a friend.

tim caple (22:42.212) The one way to test a friendship is to work together. And he was fairly clear from the outset, I know we're friends, but I'm gonna push you and you will not like me. So did he and did you?

Joanne Taylor (22:46.378) Yep.

Joanne Taylor (22:57.25) I think that was the most interesting thing about it. And I've talked to him about it. I think he was surprised. I don't want to say how professional I was, but when I work with a producer, I understand that we're not making a Joanne Shaw Taylor album, we're making Joe Bonamassa's version of that Joanne Shaw Taylor album. And if I did that album with Jim Gaines, it would sound different. So it is a collaboration, and you've really got to trust each other. So of course, I'm going to go in there and. You know, if you go in and fight a producer on everything, I want it to be faster, I want to change the key, I don't like the chorus, it's just going to be a headache. And you're both going to end up with a product that neither of you like. So actually we got on really, really well. And actually it was so much easier, particularly doing Nobody's Fall, you know, when you're writing original material and you're anxious about, you know, letting people hear it, it was so much easier with him because there was that level of confidence and trust and...

you know, we know each other very well, that I could send him things that even were unfinished and which I would usually never do with a producer, I really polish it up. So it's really nice to have that kind of collaboration with him.

tim caple (24:09.44) I was impressed as well, by the way, with your attempts to get Joe into watching British TV like The Crown

Joanne Taylor (24:15.638) We're on season three. Yeah, bless him. His girlfriend refuses to watch it with her because it's our thing. So it's been, I haven't seen it for a year and he's still stuck on season three because I haven't seen him to watch it with him. Well, the plan was to finish The Crown and then we were going to do Downton Abbey. Yeah, yeah. So, fortunately, his partner has already watched that and he's trying to encourage him to watch it.

Joanne Shaw Taylor talking to me last week and that new album "Heavy Soul" will be out in early 2024.

So here we are almost mid-October as the fall or autumn season is almost upon us so it is time to head indoors to close out the 2023 concert season and as you might well have seen on the website already we have taken the camera with us to meet some of the artists and musicians on tour in the last few weeks we have met up with "Robert Jon and the Wreck" who are going about their business the old fashioned way hard graft in the studio where they are now as we speak preparing to go into writing sessions for the album to come after the next one and when they are not in the studio they are true road warriors constantly traversing globe last week saw them release this earworm. "Stone Cold Killer"

You can watch a video of the band's live performance on the website as we met up with them after the show plus whilst we were there we also met up with Kaitlin Krisko and her band "The Broadcast" and if you are new to this band then I can't recommend them highly enough few can match the vocal prowess of Kaitlin soulful and bluesy but she can rock with the best of them as we witnessed when they closed their set with a cover of Led Zep's Rock'n'Roll check out the video we filmed after the show when we caught up with Kaitlin on the main page of the website.

Coming up this month we will be seeing one of the most outstanding young guitar players around Jared James Nichols he is on tour in Europe with psychedelic southern rockers DeWolff in October and to follow another great Canadian band of which there are many at present "The Commoners" who are on tour with Samantha Fish and Jesse Dayton two very good packages which should ensure everyone has a memorable night so keep an eye out

because we will be posting content from these gigs with interviews and recorded live performances.

Thanks for stopping by and if you have got this far we have just released the new podcast with a special feature on Don Dokken who joined me from his home in New Mexico this week and coming up Girlschool,Foghat ,Ronnie Romero and Don Brewer

Hope you enjoy the show

Tim Caple

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