FAME Review: Joanne Shaw Taylor - Diamonds in the Dirt
Joanne Shaw Taylor - Diamonds in the Dirt

Diamonds in the Dirt

Joanne Shaw Taylor

Ruf Records - RUF 1164

Available from Ruf Records.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Bob Gottlieb

If you are one of the few who heard this young British artist's debut disc, White Sugar, this second disc is different in some significant ways. She has since moved to the states and now calls Detroit her home base, and like much of the Detroit music her sound has added muscular grit, it has become a souped up Dodge Ram truck as opposed to a hot Pontiac Bonneville. She stills plays with the same intensity and touch, but now there is a greater frenetic force to her playing. She does take some time to slow it down with less of a frenetic pace, and a more mellow sound on a couple of tunes; Diamonds In The Dirt and The World and Its Way. On these tunes she uses the opportunity to display another quieter approach, softer in some ways and an even more focused side of her playing and singing (something this reviewer appreciates because it reveals more facets of her as an artist).

On Diamonds In The Dirt, she again teams up with producer Jim Gaines (Stevie Ray Vaughan) and the others from White Sugar, along with her current band, bassist Dave Smith, keyboards by Rick Steff, and Steve Potts on drums. The four of them work together well, with the guys laying down a solid rhythm foundation for her to launch into her sometimes-combustible solos that torch the surrounding earth. Her voice has a pleasant rough edge to it, and is as good as her guitar playing. However, the songs that are all her own compositions don't have much to say beyond the usual blues clichés. There is great potential in this mid-twenties blues-lady and it will be very interesting to see which direction she channels this energy. I think a little less of the flashy guitar, coupled with some material that is written from a more experienced perspective would set her on a path from which her only limits would be those she imposes on herself. Some times her guitar is great flash, not always a negative and sometimes needed to gain attention; and at other times her playing shows tremendous touch and joy, there is unlimited potential here.

Track List:

  • Can't Keep Living Like This
  • Dead And Gone
  • Same As It Never Was
  • Jump That Train
  • Who Do You Love?
  • Diamonds In The Dirt
  • Let It Burn
  • World On Fire
  • Lord Have Mercy
  • The World And It's Way

Edited by: David N. Pyles


Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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