13 years after her debut album Joanne Shaw Taylor has found a new groove.
Since being discovered by the Eurythmics' Dave Stewart, Joanne has toured relentlessly and recorded some very fine blues albums. Things appeared to step up a gear when she teamed up with Joe Bonamassa on the #1 album, 'The Blues Album '(2021). 'Nobody's Fool' has Joanne working with Joe and Josh Smith once again, and it really feels that ever since she's teamed up with Bonamassa she's been able to raise her game.
It's a delicately produced record and is a very different sound than we've heard in her earlier albums. As a piece of work 'Nobody's Fool' has bags of cross-over appeal. It's more temperate and mellow than her other work and dare I say poppy in places, but it will reel in blues aficionados and easy-listening fans alike.
Her solos are largely cleaner, crisper, and more controlled, and her vocals are equally restrained.
'Fade Away' and 'The Leaving Kind' are examples of this more mature iteration of Joanne Shaw Taylor (the latter falls down for allowing a killer solo to fade out far too soon - the one criticism of the album. (We can only hope that live she'll really put her foot on the gas at this point.) An unexpected deep cut is a bluesy little cover of the Eurythmics track 'Missionary Man', which also features Dave Stewart. The stunning 'Runaway' is perhaps the strongest example of this cross-over sound.
Joanna owned the unbridled blues sass of her previous albums, but 'Nobody's Fool' has a maturity and a confidence that allows her to channel her hunger and diversify. Heartbreak, loss, and life experience have given her the bedrock to focus on her abilities as a songwriter and musician. In many ways, the album has similarities with Bonnie Raitt's oeuvre: it's hard and heavy blues when it needs to be but equally tender and heartfelt. Indeed the album's bookends are very much styled on Bonnie's sound, but the album is still unmistakably Joanne Shaw Taylor, despite the shift in sound. It's a different and unexpected groove, but it's one that suits her.