Combining her love of blues and accessible pop, Nobody’s Fool finds Joanne Shaw Taylor leaning into songcraft and transforming life lessons into fine music. Co-produced by Joe Bonamassa and Josh Smith, Taylor’s eighth studio album brings the kind of crossover appeal destined to reach beyond blues audiences.
Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics joins for a spirited cover of “Missionary Man” with pumped-up fuzz-guitar flourishes and vocal swagger. The blue-eyed soul singer’s nicotine vocals are a perfect fit for moving ballads like “Fade Away,” featuring cellist Tina Guo.
On the energetic ’80s-style pop of “Figure It Out,” Taylor is joined by guitarist Carmen Vandenberg (who has played with Jeff Beck) doing a powerful solo. Bonamassa also gets his licks in, putting aside his Brit blues appropriations in favor of concise lyricism, trading solo sections with Taylor on the mid-tempo “Won’t Be Fooled Again.” Nobody’s Fool is filled with cool tunes, great playing, and earthy-but-clear production – think Adele after a pack of cigarettes, shot of whiskey, and with burning guitar chops. The gutsy “Just Getting Over You” and “New Love” deliver all of it. Whether on acoustic, clean-sounding Les Pauls, or fuzzed-out Teles, Taylor is one to watch.
This article originally appeared in VG’s March 2023 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.