"You must have the right mindset to overcome failure. It is part of life." - Joanne Shaw Taylor

Posted: June 14, 2024
I must mention it quite an amazing feeling to have many fans applaud me at my shows. It is unforgettable to hear 600 or more people clapping or cheering for me.
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FREE Thinking - Forming your own opinions and beliefs, especially about religion or politics, rather than just accepting what is officially or commonly believed and taught: We want our children to grow into freethinking, confident adults. She advocates freethinking views on religious issues.

That is your typical understanding of who a freethinker is. However, those with the ability to think outside of what is considered the norm, have endless possibilities. They are creative and can think outside the box. It doesn’t mean that they do not share the same views or beliefs as other people do. Free thinkers will come to a determination based upon a collection of proven points, or directives.

I believe that this is the formula for getting in touch with who you are on the inside and can draw out emotions that you never thought existed. FREE thinking leads to unbridled expression. I talked to an artist recently. Her name is Joanne Shaw Taylor. Once the interview was over, I was convinced that she built a foundation that was built upon her perception of the world around her. Her style of singing the blues is outside of what the typical blues artist is known for.

Joanne is a FREE thinker and has decided to bring in her own variation of what the blues should sound like. She draws upon her emotions, and experiences. Which is the setting for her new release Heavy Soul.

“With The Heavy Soul album. I was able to push the limits of emotion and try to connect with my listeners as much as possible. I think I was able to accomplish that and more.” – Joanne Shaw Taylor


Joanne Shaw Taylor, discovered by Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics at the age of 16, has carved out an impressive niche for herself in the world of blues-rock. After witnessing her remarkable guitar playing, Stewart immediately invited her to join his supergroup, D.U.P., setting the wheels in motion for a flourishing musical career. Her prodigious talent on the guitar earned her accolades from several industry giants, including Jimmy Cliff, Joe Bonamassa, Stevie Wonder, and Annie Lennox.

Now in her 30s, Joanne has emerged as one of the most coveted guitarists in the rock domain. Her debut album, White Sugar (2009), released on Ruf Records, showcased her soulful voice and exceptional songwriting ability, heralding the arrival of a new luminary in the blues-rock arena. This release was followed by a series of critically acclaimed albums: Diamonds In The Dirt (2010), Almost Always Never (2012), featuring the UK radio hit “Soul Station,” and the live album Songs From The Road (2013).

In 2014, Joanne unveiled her fourth studio album, The Dirty Truth, on Axehouse Records, featuring hit singles “Mud, Honey,” and “Wicked Soul.” Her fifth album, Wild (2016), produced by the legendary Kevin Shirley, included performances of “Dyin’ To Know” and “Summertime” on the popular BBC Two Television music show, Later With Jools Holland.

Joanne’s journey over the past two decades has seen her evolve into a prolific songwriter, with each of her acclaimed albums being more successful than the last. Her 2019 album, Reckless Heart, broke into the UK Top 20 Album Chart, solidifying her standing as one of the most important British blues-rock exports.

In a significant collaboration, Joanne teamed up with producers Joe Bonamassa and Josh Smith for her seventh album, The Blues Album, released under Bonamassa’s independent label, KTBA Records, in 2021. This powerhouse project not only showcased Joanne’s deepening artistry and evolving sound but also earned critical acclaim, debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard Blues Chart. This achievement marked a pivotal moment in her career, underscoring her status as a leading figure in the blues-rock genre.

Produced by Kevin Shirley (Black Crowes, Journey, Aerosmith), Joanne’s latest studio album, Heavy Soul, delves into the depths of emotional struggles with powerful lyrics and soul-stirring melodies. The album has been praised for its fusion of contemporary soul-pop with traditional blues roots, featuring accomplished musicians like Anton Fig, Alison Presswood, and Rob McNelley. Joanne remains influential in blues rock, eagerly anticipating her next album release.


Guitar Thrills: Do you consider yourself a blues artist, or how would you classify your style?

Joanne: I consider myself a blues guitarist, but with a bit of pop sound to my lyrics. It isn’t your typical blues sound, but I enjoy putting my own authentic style to it.

Guitar Thrills: What came first the guitar, or your singing ability?

Joanne: The guitar came first, but the singing wasn’t far behind. I realized that I needed both to be successful in the music industry. It has worked out for me for the decades of success that I have experienced.

Guitar Thrills: You have a British accent. Are you from the U.K. or do you reside in the U.S.?

Joanne: I was born in the U.K. but have lived in the U.S. for almost my entire life. I just never lost the British accent. Currently residing in Nashville, TN.

Guitar Thrills: Did you ever see yourself as a “Guitar for Hire” or did you believe there was more of you to offer?

Joanne: I never considered myself to be a Guitar for Hire, or session player. Not that there is anything wrong with it. I just believed I had more to give through my life lessons, and experiences. I draw from those experiences, and that is why song writing comes easy to me.

Guitar Thrills: Who were some of your musical inspirations?

Joanne: Steppenwolf, Stevie Ray Vaugh, Keb Mo, Eric Gales, Joe Bonamassa. Just to name a few.

Guitar Thrills: Those are some of top guitarists in the world. Great choice. Have you ever had a chance to work with Joe Bonamassa?

Joanne: Yes, I opened for Joe Bonamassa on several occasions. He is a wonderful person and artist.

Guitar Thrills: I have worked in the music industry and have seen artists quit because of the level of competition. There are other factors as well, such as their ability to overcome failure. Have you experienced failure in your music career?

Joanne: Definitely. However, like you mentioned you must have the right mindset to overcome failure. It is part of life. I recall being on tour and getting extremely ill. Even to the point of collapsing on stage. I was admitted to the hospital, and my manager at the time wanted me to continue performing on tour. There was no way that was going to happen. Especially when you won’t be able to perform at your best.

Regarding failure, I can recall a comment from Joe Bonomassa. He mentioned that you must be talented. You must be better than others that are competing as an artist. Joe has always been instrumental in encouraging me throughout my career.

Guitar Thrills: What is the most important character trait that an artist can have?

Joanne: Humility.

Guitar Thrills: When you write music, it seems that you write with purpose. Is it important to you to touch the heart or emotions of those that listen to you?

Joanne: Throughout my lifetime, I have experienced many different emotions. Breakups and most importantly the passing of my mother. I recall the emotions that I felt. It helps me to give everything to each song, or album that I produce. When I perform before a live audience, it is the same way. I call upon those experiences and emotions to give everything I have for those that have come to see me perform.

I must mention it quite an amazing feeling to have many fans applaud me at my shows. It is unforgettable to hear 600 or more people clapping or cheering for me. These are hardworking fans that pay to come and hear me perform. I never take it for granted.

Guitar Thrills: You are now promoting the album “Heavy Soul”. Which intrigues me. The words alone are enough to pique your interest. What can listeners expect from Heavy Soul?

Joanne: A connection between my last album “No body’s Fool and “Heavy Soul”. I focus more of my raw talent of my voice and test the boundaries of the emotion that charges me.

Guitar Thrills: Was there a gap between the two albums, that is reconciled by the production of Heavy Soul? If so, please explain.

Joanne: Not a gap, but more of what I love to do was accomplished on the “Heavy Soul” album. I was able to push the limits of emotion and try to connect with my listeners as much as possible. I think I was able to accomplish that and more.

Guitar Thrills: I know you are limited in time. You have been on tour to promote “Heavy Soul”. Are you up for it, and does it take a while to regroup or re-energize for your next project?

Joanne: I love touring. I get fired up to perform before a live audience that has come to see me play guitar and hear me sing. It is unexplainable and I couldn’t ask for more.

Guitar Thrills: Sincerely, I want to thank you for dropping by to answer some direct questions related to what you are accomplishing. You truly are unique in every way. You have a level of humility that is lacking in many areas of the music industry. I want to catch up with you again, maybe after your tour and we can talk about your future. Thanks again.

Joanne: That would be great. I look forward to it.

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