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ON TOUR Joanne Shaw-Taylor


of Dave Stewart’s band D.U.P for seven years. No one who had previously seen her play live was the least bit surprised at the glowing reviews it received. Barely a year later she released DIAMONDS IN THE DIRT, peaking at number eight in the Billboard Blues Album chart and the young singer-guitarist won the Best Female vocalist of the year at the British Blues Awards two years in succession, as well as Songwriter of the Year for Same As It Never Was. Now based in Detroit, Michigan Joanne has just released her


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third album, ALMOST ALWAYS NEVER which has received even better plaudits than her previous two releases, and graciously talked to me as she prepared for her latest tour. “My Dad and brother both played the guitar and had great


record collections,” she tells explains when I ask about her background. “I was surrounded by music from as far back as I can remember; everything from the Beatles and the Stones to Led Zeppelin. I was given my first guitar when I was eight- years-old and studied classical music; eventually joining Birmingham Youth Orchestra which I loved, but when I heard Stevie Ray Vaughan when I was about 12, I rebelled and demanded an electric guitar!” “Thankfully, my Dad understood where I was coming from


and my parents bought me one for my birthday. I became mildly obsessed and practised religiously every day until a year later I formed my first band. It seems unbelievable now, but we were playing two or three nights a week around the Midlands when we were just 13 and by my 15th birthday we were gigging right across the UK!” “Because I was on the road so much, my parents took me


out of school and home-tutored me and around my 16th birthday, a friend of Dave Stewart from the Eurhythmics saw me play and brought Dave to the next gig. We chatted afterwards and he eventually asked me to join his band D.U.P. Obviously I was chaperoned, with Dave and the others acting like very protective uncles and aunts, but it was the most amazing time a teenager could have and I learnt so much about playing the guitar from those guys. I’ll be forever grateful.” “It’s only been in recent years that I’ve come to understand


how iconic those songs were at the time. Perhaps if I’d known what they meant to the audiences I would have been terrified in case I got something wrong. A lot has happened since then but out of the blue I got a call from Annie Lennox to play guitar in her band that took part in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Concert outside Buckingham Palace. My part was a ‘blink and you’ll miss it moment’ but I was really thrilled to be part of the show and it made my Mum really proud of her little girl.” After leaving Dave Stewart’s touring band in 2008, Joanne


recorded her debut solo album WHITE SUGAR, receiving great reviews and setting the stage for tours of Europe and the US. Without hardly any time to take a breath DIAMONDS IN THE DIRT was released the following year.


18 Maverick


hen Leamington Spa, Birmingham’s Joanne Shaw Taylor released her debut album WHITE SUGAR in 2009 at the tender age of 23 she had already been an integral part


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