Blues Prodigy Joanne Shaw -Taylor Kicks Off Her UK Tour In Superb Style  

Live Review

Joanne Shaw Taylor. Photo by Terry Marland.

By Terry Marland, Rock At Night Manchester

Live Review: Joanne Shaw Taylor  with Connor Selby – Royal Northern College of Music -Saturday 17th February 2024 

Tonight’s venue is the Royal Northern College of Music situated in the heart of  Manchester’s sprawling university complex.  The performance space frequently hosts concerts and recitals of the classical nature but has also seen the likes of Adele, David Byrne and Jarvis Cocker.  Tonight the audience eagerly awaits the arrival of Blues prodigy Joanne Shaw Taylor for her sold out show. First on the bill is English bluesman Connor Selby. 

Connor Selby  

Connor Selby. Photo by Terry Marland.

Three time winner of the UK Blues Young Artist of the Year award, Connor Selby delivers a perfectly weighted solo set of emotional and thought provoking songs.  Drawing mainly on  tracks from his first two albums Selby has the auditorium, that is about 80% full at this point, completely onside.  Support artists don’t always get the respect they deserve but from where I was sitting the crowd was completely attentive throughout.     

Stand out tracks were his heartfelt “Love-letter to the Blues” in which he recounts  the affect the Blues has had on his life and set-closer the passionate “Emily”.   His half-hour slot that showcases his sublime guitar and song-writing skills is a fitting opener for Joanne Shaw Taylor.   

Learn more about Connor Selby including dates of his forthcoming solo tour here :https://www.connorselby.com/  

Joanne Shaw Taylor  

Joanne Shaw Taylor. Photo by Terry Marland.

Since being discovered by Dave Stewart of the Eurhythmics when she was sixteen, Joanne Shaw Taylor has carved out a special place in the contemporary Blues music scene. Renowned for her distinctly soulful vocals, accomplished guitar work and prolific song writing she is a consummate performer.  

Playing with her stellar band she takes centre stage dressed in black with her signature long blonde hair draped over her right shoulder.  This is the first night of her UK tour.  

Tonight’s set is a rich mix of tracks from her extensive back catalogue, covers of classic blues numbers and a couple of songs from her forthcoming  album Heavy Soul 

She greets the audience with “Good evening Manchester.  How the  Devil Are You?” and launches into  a blistering “In the Mood” from 2019’s Reckless Heart album.  Her rich vocals and dazzling guitar work, incorporating a riveting  solo, set a template for the rest of the evening.  

The set is skilfully punctuated by chats with the audience and three songs in which she engages with the crowd for the first time and asks for the audience to be lit up to see “all your beautiful sexy faces“.  Shaw Taylor recounts a previous visit to Manchester when a fire alarm interrupted the show; there are no such problems tonight.  Everything runs smoothly.   

Joanne Shaw Taylor. Photo by Terry Marland.

New songs include the jaunty “Wild Love” and “Sweet Lil’ lies”  taken from the forthcoming album release.  Along with other tracks already out there on streaming platforms the new album promises to be a quality product.  

Things slow down for “Fade Away” which was a highlight of the evening, preceded by Shaw Taylor recounting the emotions she experienced in the song-writing process that was inspired by the loss of her mother ten years earlier.  It’s a deeply moving delivery with a beautifully affecting solo that is warmly received by the audience.  

The main set concludes with “Bad Love” before the encore of the crowd favourite and appropriately titled “Going Home” . 

Joanne Shaw Taylor tours the UK until 29th February and commences her US tour on March 29th. Full details here https://www.joanneshawtaylor.com/ 

New album- Heavy Soul is scheduled for release on 7th  June.  

PHOTO GALLERY

 

Terry Marland

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