British blues guitar player and singer, Joanne Shaw Taylor, has amassed praises from her peers like Joe Bonamassa, Dave Stewart (The Eurythmics) and Foreigner, among many others. When it was mentioned that Jake Kiszka of Greta Van Fleet told us he’d really like to collaborate with her, she says “Oh yeah, I love the Greta boys. I’m good friends with them. So, you know, it was nice that he [Jake] mentioned me; I’ll have to be a bit nicer to him in the future and stop bullying him as I do (laughs).  She went on to say how happy she is for them by noting that “it’s been really kind of interesting to be there and dipping in and out of their career and see how it’s building.”

When asked if a collaboration might be in their future, she shares that “I would love to think so. You know, it kind of makes sense. Given that we’re friends, but, also do come from the same school, but different. I’m kind of like the British Blues and the Texas Blues. And obviously, not to make the comparison ’cause they’re getting clomped over the head with it but obviously they are sort of classic rock with your Zeppelins and then you know, your 1960s throwbacks. So yeah, I would love to personally because it’d be fun. It would be interesting to see whether it would be a giant mess or if something worked. You never know. I see they’re a little bit busy at the minute, and I usually am as well, so it’ll probably be in about 20 years time (joking).” We sincerely hope not!

Taylor recently inked a new deal with Sony-Silvertone, which is another incredible milestone in her career. While she had been on an independent label, Taylor explains that “I didn’t want to do that anymore and I felt there was only so much I could do. So, my manager started looking at labels, and we were talking to about three or for different labels, I think. Sony was just the best, and [their history of Silvertone]. ‘Cause you know I grew up with those Buddy Guy albums, and they were the ones for me. So to be on that [label] and listen to the albums I used to listen to when I was 12, that was pretty cool!”

With her new record deal and her new record debuting next year, Taylor explains that she doesn’t feel any added pressure with her new album. She relates that “I’ve always thought about it is I think every album is going to be different. The way I think of an album is that, unlike a live show, it’s literally a snapshot of two years of your life.” She further explains that “when it comes to the songs, it’s kind of whatever you’ve been going through in the previous two years and speaking what’s on your mind then, and your sound, even if it’s just subtle, changes over the course of two years I think. Just because of whether you’ve changed what you’re listening to or you’re inspired by particularly at that time, musically, it’s always gonna be a little bit different but it’s always different versions of me. I think the main thing is I just try and release the best songs performed in the best way and kind of hope for the best, really, I think that’s all you can do. As soon as you start overthinking it, you really get into trouble and you don’t end up doing your best. So I try not to use my brain too much.”

Taylor also splits her time between Detroit and London, and she has recorded her music in Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee. She and her producers at the time decided to record on “good middle ground” and where she and the producers “can convene.” She’s been dividing her time in Detroit for the last ten years [where she met the Greta] boys, and splits her time in London because her family’s there. As she puts it, “If I’m not touring I’ll be in Detroit and if I’m touring Europe I’ll take out a bit of time so, for instance I’m in London at the minute ’cause we just finished the UK and we go to Holland in two weeks.”

Since she’s well-versed in playing and singing the blues, we asked her opinion referencing the difference between American blues sensibilities and British blues sensibilities. Since she’s primarily influenced by American blues musicians she concludes that “for me, I think there’s a lot more tenacity in the American blues, and I think that’s what really appealed to me first off. My Dad kind of steered me into blues because I was playing guitar, and I had gotten into Stevie Ray Vaughan and tried to help me with finding an artist because I didn’t have the internet in 2000, or we didn’t anyway. So he kinda played me like the British guys that had just seemed a lot cleaner to me at the time, where there was a certain rawness to the American side of things because I think maybe the American blues in that period kind of dipped more into soul music and came kind of from R&B, whereas the English guys had really been influenced predominately by, sort of, American clean blues artists; Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf you know? But with the exception of a few bands, like the Stones really picked up on that Little Richard, Chuck Berry kind of crossover R&B vibe. I think that was the biggest difference for me.”

Elaborating further, she also shares that she thinks it’s also because “the Brits kind of focused more on songwriting. When you look at bands like [Led] Zeppelin, the Stones, Free, and Bad Company, they did understand the focus was predominantly on the songwriting, where as I think the Americans, not to say the songs weren’t great, were more about the instrumentation involved, I think.”

We couldn’t conclude our interview without asking Taylor who her biggest female influences are, especially during her younger and formative years, and she states that “Bonnie Raitt is a big one, on all fronts. I mean there was no one else, really, and I’m not sure there is. You know? I loved Joan Jett. “I Hate Myself for Loving You” is still probably one of my favorite songs, and Heart. Most of my female influences came as a singer to be honest, because it’s still a hugely male dominated world, and you’re surrounded by it every day. I think we need that one female to kick the door open and inspire other females. So, you know, law of averages, we get more girls coming through. As a female, I could kind of emulate with my fingers what a male guitar player did but my voice was just no chance. I tried to sing like Tom White [British musician], but it just wasn’t happening for me.”

Related Article: British Blues Guitarist Joanne Shaw Taylor on Her New Album ‘Almost Always Never’

Joanne Shaw Taylor’s Gear

Guitars

1966 Fender Esquire 

Fender Albert Collins signature model

2008 Les Paul Standard (lemon drop finish)

Amps

2 super reverb reissues

18 Watt Marshall Bluesbreaker

Pedals

Boss tuner

2 X TS808 Ibanez tubescreamers

T-Rex Tremster Tremelo

Jex Telez Range Lord pedal

Mojo hand recoil delay 

Strings, Cable & Guitar Pick

Ernie Ball Skinny top/heavy bottom strings gauge 10-52

Ernie Ball Guitar Cables

Seymour Duncan Jazz III Plectrums

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