Joanne Shaw Taylor
Diamonds In The Dirt
Format : CD // Label : Ruf Records // Release : October 2010
Diamonds in the Dirt is the exciting new album by British artist Joanne Shaw Taylor, a rising star on the international blues scene. The 18 months since the release of her debut White Sugar have seen that recording receive a nomination as Best New Artist Debut at the 2010 Blues Music Awards and become the most successful debut ever on Ruf Records. Taylor’s latest release reunites her with Grammy-winning producer Jim Gaines (Santana, Stevie Ray Vaughan) and the same team of studio pros that made White Sugar such an infectious pleasure.
Recorded at Gaines’ Bessie Blue Studios in rural Tennessee, Diamonds in the Dirt offers 10 stellar, all-original cuts. It begins with the unexpected sound of a lone acoustic guitar but soon shifts into overdrive, becoming a dizzying display of frenetic, full-throttle electric power. Taylor recently moved to the U.S. and attributes the heavy sound of Diamonds in the Dirt to her new musical environment – a place immortalized in song as ‘Detroit Rock City.’ “There’s a huge amount of incredible bands and musicians in Detroit,” says Taylor of her current home base. “I’m sure it’s given me new inspiration and been part of the reason for the slightly heavier sound on this album.”
Songs like “Can’t Keep Living Like This” and “Have Mercy” showcase a remarkable range of dynamics. Taylor and her tight, two-piece rhythm section build gradually upon solid, riff-driven grooves. When the moment comes, the guitarist launches into one of her incendiary solos. Often, as on “Have Mercy,” Taylor, drummer Steve Potts and bassist Dave Smith explode together in a final, breathtaking climax.
It’s not all fireworks, though. “Diamonds in the Dirt,” a song about the process of emotional recovery, shows off the softer, more melodic qualities in Taylor’s singing and playing, as well as her willingness to reveal and heal. “Writing, for me, is very personal,” she says. “All the songs on this album are autobiographical. It’s basically a chance to put thoughts and fears to paper.”
As tempting as it was to try and repeat the success of White Sugar, so much has changed in Taylor’s life since then that she never even considered it. Thus, Diamonds in the Dirt is a fitting step forward. “I wanted an album that showed my growth as a musician and person. I think Diamonds in the Dirt is a good snapshot of where I am right now as an artist and a good memoir of the past two years.”
01. Can’t Keep Living Like This
02. Dead And Gone
03. Same As It Never Was
04. Jump That Train
05. Who Do You Love?
06. Diamonds In The Dirt
07. Let It Burn
08. World On Fire
09. Lord Have Mercy
10. The World And It’s Way
Listen to the following samples: