Joanne Shaw Taylor The Dirty Truth

The Dirty Truth is Joanne Shaw Taylor's fourth studio album and sees her reunited with Jim Gaines who produced her debut album " White Sugar " with the intention of retaining the vibe of the debut.

With the album being recorded in Memphis, you get an organic earthy feel and you can imagine the laid back vibe of the music and the studio combining to produce music that is the definition of the blues.

At times mellow and at times as the solos start to build quite aggressive but with Joanne's always breathless vocals at the core of the music.

On the original press release their was a superb run through track by track from Joanne herself, which I really enjoyed as I do like to know the background of a song.
I have decided to use that run through in Joanne's words with my thoughts tagged onto each track.


JST I had the song title "Mud, Honey" for several years and intended to write an instrumental under that name. I originally wanted my second album "Diamonds in the Dirt" to be called "Mud, Honey." When we went in to the new album with Jim Gaines, I took a demo of this in and told him it was going to be an instrumental, however, when I heard how it sounded with the band, it was so big and heavy it seemed a shame not to write some lyrics for it.
I decided to go with a darker subject matter for the lyrics as I felt that’s what would do the heavy track justice. It’s a fictional song about a gangster style character whose burned too many bridges.

Rockgig A picked riff that continues throughout with an urgent vocal although for the me the highlight is the first of many superb solos that tells its own story. I love the way it builds and then slows to a whisper before firing in again.Quite superb.


JST When I sat down to write the song that would become "The Dirty Truth" I was actually attempting to write a country track. I’m a big country fan and had been listening to it a lot around the time I was writing. I hit upon this riff which obviously has a slightly more blues feel to it but decided to keep the lyrics more in a story telling vain that’s obviously common in country/Americana.
Again another fictional song about trying to get out of a relationship with a violent partner and the admission from the narrator that they know the only way to do so would be with the other person "winding up dead". It’s a fictional song. I haven’t shot any of my boyfriends.

Rockgig The title track starts with a near acoustic riff before another insistent riff that nags away but what I really like is the way Joanne puts in a lot of solos into the song. Sometimes you know listening to a song just when the solo will hit home, but not on this song as you get 3 in total that just burst in and floor you with the quality and tone.


JST I often struggle when writing with what direction to take a song in when it comes to the melody and lyrics. I had the music written for a little while but just couldn’t figure out what else to do with it. The chorus just popped into my head one day. It wasn’t until we we’re in the studio and it came to record the vocals that I managed to write the verses and bridge.
It’s part autobiographical. Since I was struggling so much with finding what to say in the verse lyrics I decided to draw upon an experience I had last year with myself and a friend parting ways.

Rockgig A near ballad with my favourite vocal on the album with Joanne using a little different vocal tricks. More great use of light and shade with the middle solo just stopping and a breathless vocal taking over. Great solo over vocal to close the track too.


JST This track took a little longer for me to figure out the chorus lyric but I’m very happy with it. A story about the new sensation of falling in love with someone that you know is the right relationship you’ve been waiting for.

Rockgig A real country feel to the riff on this with another earthy vocal and some superb backing vocals add to the depth.You can imagine this being played in a small smokey club and with only a small guitar solo near the end of the song this is all about the voice.

JST This is the one song on the album that was changed quite drastically from my demo version of it. I originally wanted it to be a rock song and it was similar to "Jump that Train" off my second album, Diamonds in the Dirt. However when we got in the studio there we’re too many changes in it and it became obvious it would benefit from being stripped back. I made the rhythm guitar part less busy, and it really gave the vocals more room.
It’s basically about falling in love with someone and the concerns about not being open to the prospect of getting hurt that go along with that. The chorus lyric summarizes with the realization that you’re already to "far gone" to not run with it.

Rockgig A swinging riff with a driving drum rhythm with again one searing blues solo near the end of the song.

Photo Credit: © Rob Monk

JST I describe this as a soul ballad. I had the title of this song written down for some time and always intended to write a slow blues track for it. I came up with the music to this song and the front part of the chorus lyric and realized it was the lyrical conclusion I needed for that chorus.
I actually wrote this about a long term relationship I ended last year. I guess it’s an apology of sorts and it also gave me the chance to explain my reasons for leaving the relationship.

Rockgig Described perfectly a soulful ballad with a superb picked solo and a real change in tempo . Near jazz outro.


JST A Texas style blues shuffle. I wanted it to be a little heavier i.e. more in the Billy Gibbons style so I played it on a Les Paul cranked through a crate head and 4 X 10 cab. The lyrics are about someone realizing their own immortality and questioning where they will go in their next life having lived a less than seraphic existence. 
I grew up listening to a lot of gospel music and have always enjoyed the use of words and stories involving redemption that feature heavily in that genre.

Rockgig After a ballad a real uptempo rocker with probably the dirtiest riff I have heard Joanne play. You can imagine this being a real barnstormer live with the riff and fiery blues solo at the top of her game. Great outro solo and band jam to finish.


JST I co-wrote this song with Kevin Bowe over a decade ago and up until the past few years it had been a main staple of my live set list but I was never able to find the right album to put it on until we began this album. It’s a song about an unrequited love and for that reason I wanted the vibe of this song to be quite dark though the chorus is slightly sweater.

Rockgig Another soulful ballad with Joanne's voice at it's smoky best. Some excellent keyboard flourishes add to the depth of the song. The guitar solo takes the song ever higher and then a vocal and guitar jam leads into an extended guitar solo outro.


JST A straight up 3 piece rock song based around a driving riff. The lyrics are about being cheated on. I really love the vibe of this song and I felt it sounds closely related to the vibe on the opening track "Mud, Honey".

Rockgig An insistent guitar riff and driving drum rhythm lead into a searing blues solo. Another song that will go down a storm live with the light and shade centre part bound to be added to in the live setting with the outro again being a band jam with guitar solo.


JST I wrote this song and previously recorded it for my 2009 debut album, "White Sugar."
However I also wrote "Kiss The Ground Goodbye" for that album and I felt the Hendrix feel of both songs made them a bit too similar to include on one album.
It’s obviously heavily influenced by Hendrix, and the way he used to play a rhythm part that was almost a rhythm/lead hybrid. That’s also the reason we decided to keep this song a three piece track. It’s about finding love.

Rockgig Joanne describes the song riff perfectly with its melodic lead sound and a solo from the gods leave us on a high. 

Joanne Shaw Taylor has produced an album that belies her tender years and will only lead to her star going ever higher.

Photo Credit: © MHP Studios

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