Entity or Not an Entity

My weekends during the spring, summer and early fall are generally spent mowing and then raking my yard.  The whole process can take between two to three hours.  This usually depends on how much raking I have to do.

One of the good things about doing this chore each week is it gives me time to listen to music.  I put on my headphones, sit on the riding mower and listen as I drive around the yard.  I also keep them one while I am raking.

One weekend I picked Joanne Shaw Taylor’s debut album “White Sugar” as the album to listen to while performing my weekly chore.  It’s an album I enjoy listening to.JSTWhiteSugar

I love her voice.  It has such a sensual sound to it.  The band is good and her guitar playing is very good especially considering she was only 23 when she cut the tracks.  But that voice just does something for me.

She has been touted as the female Stevie Ray Vaughn and you can certainly hear the influences in her playing.

I haven’t bought any of her later albums to date.  Most of the one minute snippets I hear on Itunes sound very similar to her first album.  That combined with the fact that I have been checking out other artists has moved purchasing more of her albums to the back burner.

So I spent about one hour or half my mowing time listening to her entire album.  Since I was thinking about the Stevie Ray Vaughn comparisons I decided to follow up her album with Stevie Ray Vaughn’s “In Step”.

The difference was considerable.

Stevie Ray Vaughn was so much more constructed.  They were going for an overall sound to come out as the end product.  They used the studio and the recording process as an instrument unto itself.

All the  songs on Joanne Shaw Taylor’s album sound to me as songs that had a tight bass and drums laying down a groove with her guitar and voice over top.  I understand the raw blues sound she must have been going after its very good but to me it’s like setting up your instrument to a sound you like and they never changing it, playing every song with the same sound

SRVInStepStevie Ray Vaughn’s album sounded like a “band” to me.  Each track combined all the instruments, drums, guitar, keyboards, horns and made its own unique sound.  It was about a “band” that had one hell of a guitar player/singer.

Even the live recordings at the end of the Stevie Ray Vaughn album which at times were just guitar, bass and drums had a feel and an energy that just wasn’t present on the Joanne Shaw Taylor album.

Joanne Shaw Taylor’s album was about her and I didn’t get any entity other than her.  Maybe that’s what she and her producer were going for but the bits I’ve heard on Itunes of her other albums they are more of the same.

After listening to the Stevie Ray Vaughn album I still wasn’t done with my mowing so I continue in my blues guitarist theme for the day listening to Joe Bonamassa.  Obviously he’s another great guitar player and singer.

And again there was that entity that was lacking to me on the Joanne Shaw Taylor album.

Don’t get me wrong I enjoy listening to her album.  That voice is great and I like the guitar playing.  Writing this may cause me to give her later albums a full listen sometime.  I hope I can find in them what I found in Stevie Ray Vaughn’s albums.

When I get some of her later albums and if I have the same critique of those albums, maybe I’ll send her and her producer an email and help them out.  I’m sure they’ll read that one and take it to heart.

© Otis P Smith and About the Groove, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Otis P Smith and About the Groove with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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