Joanne Shaw Taylor at Royal Oak Music Theatre in Royal Oak, MI

Joanne Shaw Taylor delivered a jaw-dropping performance full to the brim with impassioned vocals and incendiary guitar at Royal Oak Music Theatre.

Joanne Shaw Taylor is out on the road supporting her eighth studio album called Nobody’s Fool. Released on October 28, the album is produced by friend and fellow guitar slinger Joe Bonamassa. While the new music pushes into a more pop-oriented melodic flow, Joanne retains her bluesy roots. Nobody’s Fool is a wonderful change of pace and lets Taylor stretch her wings as a writer. At the beautiful Royal Oak Music Theatre with her Detroit-based band, the audience got to hear how Joanne’s new music fares in a live and intimate setting.

The blues burn bright from the soul of Joanne Shaw Taylor. She uses the first part of her two-hour set to dive straight in with a number of choice cuts from her stellar The Blues Album. Songs such as “Stop Messin’ Round” and “Can’t You See What You’re Doing to Me” showcase Joanne’s soul shining on the stage. She has her guitar singing and shouting. While Joanne can play the lightning licks, what is most impressive is the way her passion flows from her guitar. Comparisons to Stevie Ray Vaughan, B.B. King, Bonnie Raitt, and Otis Redding are appropriate especially when you hear her sing and play songs such as “Let Me Down Easy” or “Keep On Lovin’ Me”. This is soulful R&B with the fire of a Fender cooking music that sizzles. Joanne’s joyful expression makes the music that much more exhilarating.

Toward the middle of her set, Joanne unveils a string of new music starting with the title track, “Nobody’s Fool.” This song is fun to the point of being danceable. Sadly, most of the crowd stay seated and miss a great opportunity to move with the music. The twangy noir country vibe in “Bad Blood” rings true in the live setting. The 80s Bowie “Let’s Dance” mojo comes through loud and clear when Joanne plays “Won’t Be Fooled Again.”

Trading her telecaster for a Taylor acoustic, Joanne introduced the new song “Fade Away.” She mentioned that her mother had passed away nearly ten years ago. This song is a way to wonder what her mother might have said to her today. As she stood on the stage under a single light, the audience was transported into the intimate portrait of loss and wonder. Anyone that has lost someone knows this pain and desire to have just one more conversation. Especially where you wish you could ask the questions never spoken.

Joanne wound us back up with the new tune “Runaway” with its infectious calypso groove. She then dove back to her early work. The luscious syncopation on “Dyin’ to Know” flared into fireworks on the fretboard. Her band was there with Joanne on every step keeping the rhythm locked in and tight. “Watch ‘Em Burn” from her first album White Sugar lets Joanne unleash fierce joy through her voice and hands. Thanking the crowd, Joanne headed off stage only to be called back by the cheers for a couple more tunes before calling it a night. Nearly two hours of amazing music performed to perfection felt like the blink of an eye. Go see Joanne Shaw Taylor and witness a soul-stirring show that will change your life.

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About Chuck Marshall 45 Articles
Chuck loves music. If it is powerful and played with conviction, that is even better. In a past life, Chuck enjoyed thrashing on the stage in a Michigan metal band (Battalion). Now he prefers to use his imagery and words to capture the essence of a concert or an album. See and feel the music with Chuck; you’ll be glad you did.