Joanne Shaw Taylor recently made a welcome return to the ARC in Stockton. The room was packed, and the anticipation was high as she brought her latest offering The Dirty Truth.
Opening the show was Whitesnake legend, Bernie Marsden, who played a solid set including Snake classics such as “Ain’t No Love In The Heart of The City” and “Here I Go Again,” which turned the room into a giant sing-along. Stockton is only a stones throw away from David Coverdale’s hometown on Saltburn on Tees. Bernie also played a superb cover of “Dragonfly” by Fleetwood Mac along with several of his own solo tracks from his latest album, Shine. Bernie was joined on acoustic guitar and vocal duties by Jim Kirkpatrick of FM, and left the crowd suitably warmed for Joanne Shaw Taylor.
Shaw’s set introduced the audience to some her new material such as the heartfelt “Tried Tested and True,” “The Dirty Truth,” and “Wrecking Ball,” which as Shaw told us was not influenced by Miley Cyrus, but rather Bruce Springsteen. She also did a sublime cover of Frankie Miller’s “Jealousy.” Shaw was joined on stage by Bernie Marsden for great renditions of “Let It Burn” and “Walking In The Shadow of the Blues,” resulting in rapturous applause from the Teesside crowd.
Shaw was in great form, delivering a fine set of soulful blues with a rocky edge. She is going from strength to strength and seems to get even better every time she plays. Her sound has great tone, her beautiful husky voice, and her stage presence make her a triple threat. Throughout the show, she seems to lean back almost effortlessly, hair flowing as she bursts into a blistering solo on her Gibson Les Paul or Fender Telecaster. She was genuinely enjoying herself almost as much as the audience and it showed.