Ramblin' Man Preview: Joanne Shaw Taylor's Blues Heroes

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The queen of blues rock headlines Ramblin’ Man’s Blues Stage. While relishing the prospect of joining a varied bill of young and established names, she’s looking forward to being reunited with an old touring buddy – former Whitesnake guitarist Bernie Marsden.

“I think it’s a really good line-up,” she tells us. “It’s quite an eclectic mix. Obviously Bernie will be great to see because of his talent alone, and because we’re friends now. He’s such a sweetheart. On tour we’d try to arrange band Sunday roasts and things like that, so it was a friendly atmosphere.”

She’s also keen to catch another friend who’s playing: “Ian Siegal’s a well-known treasure on the blues scene, particularly among his peers. He’s one of the best things to come out of the British blues scene, and he covers a range of styles. And I’ve heard Aaron Keylock’s name a lot, but haven’t run into him yet. He’ll be a good one to check out.”

Taylor’s blues passion was first inspired by Stevie Ray Vaughan and Albert Collins, from whom she still draws, as well as Texas aggression from ZZ Top. Additionally, the classic rock of bands such as Free have helped shape her style over the years.

Quizzed about her more obscure blues heroes, she’s quick to mention the late American singer/guitarist Nick Curran, who died of cancer while still in his 30s. “He had four solo albums; there was one called Reformed Schoolgirl that was like The Ronettes-meets-Little Richard,” she enthuses. “He also did really traditional blues stuff.

He started to break out and got a gig with The Fabulous Thunderbirds, but then he got diagnosed at twenty-eight and passed away a couple of years ago. One of the best of our generation, and well-loved by a lot of players but not really well-known.”

Having just turned 30 she’ll be one of Ramblin’ Man’s younger bluesers, although after 15 years’ gigging she has more than enough experience to offset any nerves – even if she is still pegged as a ‘youth’ in blues circles. “I think I’ll have to be seventy before people stop referring to me as a ‘young gun’!” she laughs.

Classic Rock 213: News & Regulars