Joanne Shaw Taylor? Never heard of her? Hang on St. Louis, this young lady is about to introduce herself via a two-night stand at the Beale on Broadway. For a music lover and part time guitar player, I knew all too well of what this 26-year old from Birmingham, England was capable of. If you ask Joanne, I’m sure she would consider herself a blues guitarist but she rides a fine line between blues and rock, with a guitar sound that is as raw as Angus Young’s but bluesy in a Jimmy Page kinda way. Joanne was discovered by Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics at the age of 16 and was quickly recruited to play in Dave’s super group, D.U.P., in 2002. Today, Joanne is touring as part of a power-trio fashioned after some of her early influences such as Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn.
I took up a spot about three feet from the Beale’s crowded stage; I believe this may have been the last available spot in the club. Many audience members were not prepared for what was about to transpire on this Saturday night in St. Louis. If you were intent on hearing a white girl from England do a few standard blues numbers, you were about to be disappointed. This chick rocked. Armed with a Gibson Les Paul and a dilapidated looking Fender amp, Joanne and company wasted no time getting acquainted with St. Louis. Joanne noted that this was her first time in St. Louis. Joanne’s first set proved to be too much for some and sadly many left. As the band started set number two, there may have been about fifteen people left in the once packed club but this in no way affected the sonic output of her performance. Joanne played a variety of tunes from her albums Diamonds in the Dirt and White Sugar. Nearing the end of the second set, a slow but steady crowd began to trickle in from BB’s Jazz, Blues and Soups located directly across the street. By night’s end, Beale on Broadway was once again packed and Joanne showed her appreciation by closing out the night with a fresh take on Jeff Beck’s “Going Down.” A standing ovation and drunken hoots and hollers filled the night air as Joanne and Co. left the small St. Louis stage in a smoldering pile of rubble.
Show notes: Joanne’s cover of Hendrix’s “Manic Depression”, excellent. A barehanded drum solo by Layla Hall ala John Bonham, excellent. Thanks to Justina Heckard and Barry Taylor from MCT Management. Photos of the show are below: