By Trevor Baxter
Joanne Shaw Taylor sings the Blues – which for any normal, self-respecting Aston Villa fan is tantamount to heresy.
But while you can take Birmingham out of this particular girl, the Blues are deep rooted, unmoveable objects of desire.
And as Woody Harrelson disproved the logic ‘white men can’t jump’, Taylor shatters any preconception that blonde, white girls from the West Midlands can’t sing or play the blues.
Judge for yourself when Taylor pitches up at Uppermill Civic Hall on July 10 – the latest booking at the venue by the Gig Cartel.
Classically trained, Taylor plugged in her guitar as the teenage years started, inspired by Texan born Stevie Ray Vaughan and talent spotted by one of Britain’s most iconic music industry figures.
At 15, she’d played her first gig and at 16 came under the wing of musician, producer, Svengali, Dave Stewart of the Tourists and Eurythmics fame.
However, the Saddleworth Independent can now reveal Taylor, praised by Stevie Wonder after playing the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee concert at Buckingham Palace, almost turned to another career.
“I was a really good footballer, a striker, and played for Aston Villa girls as a kid,” she revealed.
“I played football very similar to my guitar technique – attacking. But there were a few more broken shins than resulted from my guitar playing!
“There is a reason why you pick music and you have got to be the right amount of crazy to want to do it. I don’t think I would be capable of doing anything normal.
“I’ve done a lot of pub gigs but I am in a position now where touring is a little easier. I now get changed somewhere which isn’t an outside toilet. That would have been a luxury a few years ago.
“But I am just grateful that I get to do what I love to do for a living,” enthused Taylor, who turns 30 next year and has four studio albums on her CV, including the latest, ‘The Dirty Truth.’
“Dave Stewart signed me to his record label and was the first person who believed in me.
“He put me on the road with a lot of big artists like BB King, Jimmy Cliff and probably more important for me Candy Dulfer. It was the first time I had been exposed to an instrumentalist who was female.
“Dave encouraged me to learn to sing and write songs. I hadn’t thought about that before. He said you can play the best guitar solo in the world but if it is not a good song then no one is going to hear it.
“I read a quote once that said whatever you do as a female you have to do it twice as well to be thought half as good. I have always lived by that.”