Joanne Shaw Taylor Nov.13 2022 Byham Theater Pittsburgh, Pa. Reviewed by Michael Rampa

 Joanne Shaw Taylor’s rise to prominence mirrors that of Joe Bonamassa, who is now her producer. A series of PBS concerts in heavy rotation peaked a lot of interest among new fans and brought out those who had been following each of them for years. Taylor was 16 when she was discovered by Dave Stewart of Eurythmics. With a talent like Taylor on the scene, a reckoning may be at hand. Men have disproportionately occupied lead guitar, vocals and musical director roles. Not in this outfit. Taylor is crashing the boys club using her Telecaster as a battering ram. The bruising solos, huge belt range and musical direction all come from her. The affable Brit with the platinum blond locks and beaming smile opened with a scorching version “Stop Messing Around” from her aptly titled No. 1 “The Blues Album.” which the set was heavy on. Of course, she can play bruising blues for two hours and draws comparisons to her influences from all eras of the genre, from Albert King to Stevie Ray Vaughan, but the genius of her artistry is what she doesn’t do. She is not just a high-volume speed player and has the unique ability to paint different textures in a genre that typically never takes its foot off the gas pedal. “Won’t Be Fooled Again” features a breezy dance melody in the vein of Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky.” She went acoustic later for “Fade Away,” a tender ballad which helped her cope with her mother’s passing. As a songwriter, she has a keen ability for melodic structure that allows her songs to breathe organically and even through the hardest rocking numbers. Blues players face the potential pitfall of being labeled high volume speed players But this bandThe band played in telepathic precision with drummer Nick Buda channeling his inner Jason Bonham with booming tom work while  keyboardist Jimmy Wallace peppered in jazz and Jerry Lee.

The journalist community that effectively cautions the over hyping of an artist “Don’t Drink the Press release Kool Aid.” Not in this case. Every scorching solo brought more true believers and any superlative ascribed to her is well warranted so raise a glass and drink up. It’s delicious.


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