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In the past two years, Joanne Shaw Taylor has gone from a promising young blues talent to a bona fide force on the international music scene. She took home Best Female Vocalist honors at the 2010 British Blues Awards, has supported tours by Joe Bonamassa and Eric Sardinas and impressed legions of fans in the US, Europe and Australia with her high-energy attack.
Hailing from the British Midlands, Taylor was discovered at age 16 by Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics, who recruited her to play guitar in his side-project D.U.P. Tours with Stewart and fellow band members Jimmy Cliff, Candy Dulfer and Mudbone Cooper provided a first taste of the international stage. Taylor then spent several years developing her craft as a guitarist and, in particular, as a singer and writer of original material. She signed to Ruf Records in 2008 and recorded her debut, White Sugar, with Grammy-winning producer Jim Gaines – a direct link to two of her greatest guitar heroes, Albert Collins and Stevie Ray Vaughan. The album became the best-selling artist debut in the history of Ruf Records and garnered a nomination as Best New Artist Debut at the 2010 Blues Music Awards.
Following 18 months of intense touring activity, including a stint on the 2009 Blues Caravan Tour, Taylor returned to Gaines' studio outside of Memphis in 2010 to record her follow-up disc, Diamonds in the Dirt. Reuniting her with veteran session players Steve Potts and Dave Smith, Diamonds reflects a somewhat heavier sound, which Taylor attributes to her new musical environment: Increasingly in demand at clubs and festivals throughout North America, Taylor recently set up a new home base in Detroit, Michigan. “Detroit had an influence on the album and added to the vibe,” she says. “There's a huge amount of incredible bands and musicians in this city and it's been incredible to be exposed to them.”
Still just 25, Taylor has already taken the first few hurdles on the way to a long and successful career. Just ask Joe Bonamassa, arguably the most influential young artist on the current blues circuit. “There are a lot of great guitarists and singers in the blues today. What I see in Joanne Shaw Taylor that sets her apart from the rest is the ability to write a great song. Not only is she a killer guitarist and singer, but find yourself walking away from her shows singing her songs as well.”