This is the first time I have been to a gig at the Waterside Arts Centre in Sale, Greater Manchester1 Waterside, Sale M33 7ZF
. The venue was brilliant. Being both intimate, with the addition of great acoustics. Definitely a venue I want to visit again.
Top of the bill was Joanne Shaw Taylor, and back up was a Manchester band called Federal Charm. I have albums, and have been following Joanne Shaw Taylor with interest for some time, but never heard of, or heard Federal Charm until last night.
The night opened up at about 8 pm with Federal Charm, and I was blown away. What amazing vocals, the band grabbed the audience from the get-go. How have I not heard of this band? I don't know, but I am looking forward to watching them perform again, and bringing others with me.
I personally wondered about their name, then came across this, explaining all from
Wire-Sound, who they are their booking agents. From co-founder member Paul Bowe; “The name came from a Eureka moment in a Manchester bar, I really liked the idea of being called ‘Federation’ or ‘The Federation’. I liked the hard togetherness of it and Nick wanted to quirk it up. He liked the word ‘Charm’ and we put it together and the rest is history. We also thought no one on earth would have the name. It’s got a nice ring to it and looks great on merch (laughs).”
The band were tight and appeared to perform with absolute ease. The band were only formed originally in 2009, but play as if they have been together far longer. The line up in the band is Nick Bowden, on vocals, guitar and Harmonica. Paul Bowe on Guitar, L.D. Morawski on bass guitar, and finally, last, but not least, Danny Rigg on drums.
This is another band set to hit the music scene by storm, one to watch.The set list for the evening was:
1 Any Other Day
2 Guess What
4 No Money Down
A big favourite of mine was this one - Hercules
Their self titled debut album was released in May 2013 by Mystic Records and is full of melodic twists and turns, twin guitar riffs and stop-start rhythms.
Last night, at the gig I bought this album, and their latest one "Across The Divide" which was released only yesterday.
The band played a number of tracks from the new album, and blew us all out of the water. They were unlike any other rock /blues band I have heard before, but I could not pin down why? They slipped easily between the different styles of rock, from soulful melodic numbers to the upbeat, blast your ears type, with absolute ease. Future top of the bill band material.
Joanne Shaw Taylor
Now for the main event, which was the fabulous Joanne Shaw Taylor and her band. Joanne performed songs from her recently critically acclaimed album The Dirty Truth, as well as songs from her previous three albums White Sugar, Diamonds in the Dirt and Almost Always Never.
Her inimitable style of soulful blues - rock music takes you on a journey. Opening the show with a gutsy Love Honey, taking the stage by storm. Her total absorption, and innate love of the guitar comes through in her performance, leaving me enthralled. I have never seen anyone be so absorbed and delighted to play, laughing and smiling as she did so.
She dedicated a heartfelt song to her mother Almost Always Never , blowing us all away with an amazing acoustic guitar version, taking to the stage for a solo performance.
When listening to Joanne on her albums I get a vibe of Tina Turner, but the live performance, less so. Her gorgeous gravelly voice lends guts to her songwriting talents. Her exceptional guitar playing sets her apart, and the hoots of pleasure from the audience, and whilstles told me I was not alone in my awe.
Beauty and talent too.
"An exceptional talent, her formidable guitar playing and stunning soulful vocals are there or us all to adore when seen live. What makes her a cut above all the rest is her superb and heartfelt songwriting"
"Who said white gals can’t play guitar? Killer licks, soaring solos and heart-wrenching vocals"
The Sunday Times
The Sunday Times
Joanne Shaw Taylor - Biography
Sold out concerts. Screaming fans. Her name in lights. Joanne Shaw Taylor never anticipated any of that at the start. Back then, she was just an ordinary Black Country schoolgirl, bored with the disposable pop she heard on late 90s radio, rifling her father’s record collection for sunken treasure, and falling for albums by Stevie Ray Vaughan, Albert Collins and Jimi Hendrix.
At 13 she played her first electric guitar. “Guitars were always lying around the house,” says Joanne. At 14, she defied her teachers to play The Marquee and Ronnie Scott’s, and began to overcome insecurity about her voice.
“I never set out to be a singer,” she modestly told Classic Rock. “I’ve always had a deep voice. I think it came from my influences as a kid.
When I was singing to records, I was listening to Albert Collins and Freddie King. When I was a teenager, I became a big rock fan: Glenn Hughes, Skin, Doug Pinnick. I wouldn’t get far on The X Factor.”
Joanne left school at 16 and ran straight into her big break, as a twist of fate directed her demo into the hands of Eurythmics icon Dave Stewart after a charity gig.
Reflecting on his first impressions, Stewart recalls that “she made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end.” His call the following day proved the start of a lasting friendship, with Joanne seeking his advice on the industry and accompanying his DUP supergroup across Europe in 2002.
Stewart gave Joanne her first deal, but when the label ran into financial trouble, it gave her a chance to regroup and work on her songwriting. Until then, original material had perhaps been a neglected side of her talent.
“I never really wrote songs until I was 21.” Suddenly the dam broke. In 2008, Ruf won the rush for Joanne’s signature, and soon she was working with veteran producer Jim Gaines (Carlos Santana, Johnny Lang, Stevie Ray Vaughan), bassist Dave Smith and drummer Steve Potts on the songs that became debut album White Sugar. “We recorded it in this little backwater town in Tennessee,” she recalls, “and if we needed a break, we’d walk to the shop and buy root beer.”
When White Sugar dropped the following year, taking in gems like Bones and Kiss the Ground Goodbye, it turned out the press had a sweet tooth, with Classic Rock crowning it Blues Album of the Month and Guitarist noting “she plays with more attitude and flair than most – massive potential here”.
Soon enough, the buzz was building, with Joanne both raising her profile supporting Black Country Communion, and honing her craft on 2010’s Diamonds in the Dirt. This second album was another step up, from the explosive lead breaks on Can’t Keep Living Like This to the heavier influence of her adopted Detroit hometown on the crunching country-blues of Dead and Gone. Not bad, considering she had written the material in just two days and recorded it in less than a fortnight: “It’s the dreaded second album curse. You have ten years to do the first one, and ten days to do the second!”
By then, she was unstoppable, with Diamonds in the Dirt proving not only a classic record, but also a skeleton key to every door in the industry. Having received a nomination for Best New Artist Debut at the auspicious British Blues Awards for White Sugar, Joanne scooped consecutive wins in the Best British Female Vocalist bracket at both the 2010/2011 events: a haul that cements her position, as Blues Matters put it, as “the new face of the blues.”
Since then, it’s gone stratospheric, with Joanne breaking into the notoriously hard-to-crack US market, beating the stereotypes of her age and gender, and being watched by 17 million viewers as she played an angel-winged solo during Annie Lennox’s set at the 2012 Diamond Jubilee Concert.
That same summer gave us Almost Always Never; a bar-raising third album that found Joanne dodging expectations, writing the songs her muse dictated, and diving in at the deep end with just her talent to keep her afloat.
Recorded in Austin, Texas, these twelve cuts moved from the savage Les Paul solos of Soul Station and the strutting hooks of Standing To Fall, to the failed relationship achingly depicted on You Should Stay, I Should Go and the title track’s refrain of “You crash, you burn/you live, you learn”. She’d never sounded more open and honest. “I’ve loved every album I’ve made for many different reasons,” reflects Joanne. “But I’m so proud of these songs. It’s the perfect and truest example of who I am as an artist to date.”
Maybe so, but if you only know Joanne Shaw Taylor as the songwriter and studio magician, then it’s time you heard Songs from the Road. Released November 2013 on Ruf Records, it’s a candid snapshot from the road that makes your front room feel like the front row. “That night was just really good fun,” she reflects. “And I think that translates on the album.”
In May 2014, Joanne reunited with her White Sugar album producer Jim Gaines, and recorded her new studio album in Memphis. The new studio album entitled The Dirty Truth is a return to Joanne’s original sound that mixes rock riffs with blues influences. The album was released in the UK on September 22nd 2014 on Joanne’s own independent boutique label Axehouse Records. Joanne supported the album by an extensive UK tour with special guest Bernie Marsden that received rapturous reviews.
Earlier this year, Joanne joined forces with Joe Bonamassa on his Blues Cruise and also toured the UK with legendary blues guitarist Robin Trower.
Wicked Soul is available to download free here
Love n Stuff