This Santa Cruz band, by way of Atlanta, is well represented in the Live Music Archive although most all of the uploads are audience recordings and many are of poor quality. One terrific 2001 show is from Quincy, CA at the High Sierra Music Festival, dated July 6. An evening of prime jamming kicks off with a excellent Mobsters > Funky House jam which leads into Angels. A 25 minute version of Movement is also outstanding. Certainly a highlight of this particular evening was the addition of several guest artists. Arturo Sabado, from Cabaret Diosa sits in onYou’re It, STS9 and Ramone. His saxaphone/flute playing adds a nice texture to the jams. As the encore, Kamuy is excellent and also includes some fine jamming from guest sax player, Jessica Lurie, who plays with the jazz trio Living Daylights. With the addition of the guest musicians, I would hesitate to call this recording a good introduction to the band but it is an outstanding addition to the Sound Tribe “discography” and is a must download for STS9 fans. As audience recordings go, the mix is pretty good. Murph’s bass is ever present and while the percussion doesn’t exactly pop, it isn’t lost in the background. Overall, this a great, “vintage” Sound Tribe show. As was the case in the early years, the jams are extended, 20+ minute songs, and tend to showcase drum and bass rhythms. The expanded use of vocal samples and other digital elements was still a few years away. Anyway, this is a great recording and like all material from the LMA, it’s free.
In a recent issue, Blues Matters labeled Joanne Shaw Taylor as the “new face of the blues.” Flattering reviews have followed this Birmingham, England native for years now. She is in fact the real thing. A woman fronting a power trio as vocalist and guitarist is not exactly commonplace, but it is no longer novel and JST is anything but a novelty. Being young and very pretty may have initially garnered attention, but her playing is what keeps the peeps coming back now. As a blues musician she isn’t likely to become a household name anytime soon but she is clearly developing a growing and committed fan base. Including me… I’d be the first to admit I was late to this party. I missed the release of both her first and second recordings. I missed the fact that last year she won a British Blues Award as the British female vocalist of the year. Definitely late to the party, but this one should go on for a good long time. Bars across the country are teeming with talented blues guitarists but most importantly; her writing talent nicely compliments her prodigious fret board skills. Taylor penned all 10 cuts from her 2009 debut recording, White Sugar. Her chops and song writing skills are rangy—whether it is straight ahead Texas blues, slow blues or rhythm based grooves like the song, Heavy Heart, and she seems comfortable in each form. Like her vocals, JST is adept at shifting between the soft and clean to the rough and overdriven. Is she the new master of the Telecaster? Maybe not, as she isn’t replacing the late, great Albert Collins anytime soon, but this 25 year-old hard-working musician is mighty impressive. In addition to Collins, she cites SRV as an important influence. Taylor clearly learned her Vaughan licks well, almost to a fault, as some of her early solos slip into Stevie Ray mode from time to time. Her sophomore effort, Diamonds in the Dirt, shows continued evolution and movement toward discovering her own guitar voice and tone.