Joanne Shaw Taylor has finally given a name to her hotly anticipated sixth studio record, which has been announced as The Blues Album – an 11-track effort that will serve up a series of soulful reimaginings of classic blues tracks.
The effort, which will see blues guitar icons Joe Bonamassa and Josh Smith take up position behind the desk for production duties, follows Taylor's 2019 record Reckless Heart, and was recorded at Ocean Ways Studios in Nashville, Tennessee.
It will see her play alongside keys extraordinaire Reese Wynans, drummer Greg Morrow and bass guitar player Steve Mackey, with Smith also set to pick up his signature Ibanez FLATV1 for the rhythm guitar parts.
Accompanying the news is the album’s latest single, Let Me Down Easy, which comes feature-packed with an abundance of tremolo-drenched, extended chord-loaded progressions, complete with subtle melodic flourishes and Taylor’s commanding, range-exploring vocals.
The three-minute mark sees the arrival of Taylor’s high-gain six-string chops, most likely conjured up by her favored 1966 Esquire Junior, which the blues phenom says she used for most of the album.
Blues hits from Albert King, Peter Green, Little Richard, Magic Sam, Aretha Franklin and more are also set to make their way onto The Blues Album’s tracklist, with Taylor revealing it’s been her ambition to make a blues covers album “since the beginning of my recording career”.
“I’ve always found it far easier to write my own material than come up with creative ways to make other artists’ material my own,” she explains. “I mentioned my new project idea to Joe Bonamassa and he asked me for my song choices. Immediately he began sending me notes and was texting me song suggestions.”
Bonamassa, who is also lined up to play on the album’s version of Don’t Go Away Mad, added, “We wanted to make a tough vocal-centric straight blues record that showcases Joanne’s amazing talent but in a slightly different light.
“Josh and I focused on testing her limits and pushing boundaries that might not have occurred before. It's all about making a statement and having the listener want to play the music repeatedly.”
Of her gear choices for the record, Taylor mused, "I tried to use a few of Joe's Teles, but they’re set up for much bigger hands than mine. I did use Joe’s vintage amps – I believe one of his '60s Vibroverbs for pretty much all of it. We didn’t use any pedals."
The tracklist for The Blues Album is as follows:
- Stop Messin’ Round
- If That Ain't a Reason
- Keep on Lovin' Me
- If You Gotta Make a Fool of Somebody
- Don't Go Away Mad feat. Joe Bonamassa
- Scraps Vignette
- Can't See What You're Doing To Me
- Let Me Down Easy
- Two Time My Lovin’
- I Don't Know What You've Got feat. Mike Farris
- Three Time Loser
The Blues Album is available to preorder now ahead of its release on September 24.
In the meantime, you can check out Taylor's recently released take on Little Milton's If That Ain't a Reason, which is also set to appear on the record.