Joanne Shaw Taylor Interview

(Originally aired on December 13, 2012)

At 16, Joanne Shaw Taylor started turning heads with her smoky vocals, gutsy guitar riffs, and snarling solos. The English guitarist first emerged playing feral Telecaster in one of Dave Stewart’s post-Eurythmics bands called D.U.P., and it wasn’t long before Taylor made her solo debut with 2009’s White Sugar. At the 2010 Blues Music Awards, she earned Best New Artist Debut for that album, which she quickly followed with 2010’s Diamonds in the Dirt. At the 2011 British Blues Awards, Taylor scored two more prestigious honors — Best Female Vocalist and Songwriter of the Year — for “Same As It Never Was,” a song from Diamonds in the Dirt.

For her latest solo album, Almost Always Never, the 26-year-old decided to head in a new direction. Rather than return to Memphis to work with Jim Gaines, the legendary producer behind her first two discs, Taylor enlisted Mike McCarthy and tracked in his Austin studio with a band he assembled for the occasion. As a result, Almost Always Never has less to do with Stevie Ray Vaughan and Albert Collins — two of Taylor’s blues influences — and instead offers a more exploratory vibe with extended solos, deep grooves, and experimental tones.

In our exclusive interview, Taylor describes recording Almost Always Never and explains why she chose to explore new sounds and even different guitars on this album. We'll hear selections from Almost Always Never throughout the interview.