Jo and Joe add magic to this blues cover album
Say what you want about Mr Joe Bonamassa, but he has a God-given gift of getting the best out of other musicians. On 'The Blues Album', Joe Bonamassa and Josh Smith have made magic happen again: Joanne Shaw Taylor's guitar and vocals are her best yet.
Perhaps it's because she's had time out over lockdown to rest her voice after being on the road, maybe it's because of the material, maybe it's the awesome band: Reese Wynans (keyboards), Greg Morrow (drums), Steve Mackey (bass), Steve Patrick (trumpet), Mark Douthit (sax), Barry Green (trombone). In reality of course it's probably a mix of all these factors and more, but 'The Blues Album' is easily her best album to date, and Joe B is on a roll. His vamped-up production has also turned 'The Blues Album' from being yet another blues cover album to being a sassy, sophisticated and modern nod to the glorious past of the genre.
'Stop Messin' Round' and 'If that Ain't A Reason' are album highlights which also fit the vibe of some of Joanne's other work. A cover of The Fabulous Thunderbird's 'Two Time My Lovin' and the soulful 'Let Me Down Easy' are some of the more obscure tracks on offer that really let us see another side to her as a performer.
Under Smith and Bonamassa's watchful eye Joanne's performance is more structured and tightly honed than on her other albums. That may sound strange considering she has a considerable CV and touring rep, but there's a reflective, mature quality to her work on this album that is absent from her other recordings. This is the album that defines Joanne shaw Taylor as a contempoary blues artist to be reckoned with.