New Music

The month’s best guitar music – a hand-picked selection of the finest fretwork on wax


Joanne Shaw Taylor The Blues Album KTBA Records Joanne and JoBo team up for a belter of a blues album

If you’re going to record a blues album with Joe Bonamassa and Josh Smith producing and guesting, you’re quite probably set for success. That’s exactly what blues guitarist Joanne Shaw Taylor has done with The Blues Album, and it’s a rare treat throughout. On songs originally recorded by blues/soul legends Albert King, Peter Green, Aretha Franklin and Little Milton, Joanne finds a new fire in her playing – the guitar on the opening track, Peter Green’s Stop Messin’ Round, is white hot, and the album doesn’t disappoint from there on in. Vocals are smoky and soulful, especially on If You Gotta Make A Fool Of Somebody and JST’s Albert Collins influence is obvious from both her choice of instrument – her 1966 Fender Esquire nicknamed ‘Junior’ – and her consummate, mature phrasing. It’s a great album. More, please! [DM]

Standout track: Let Me Down Easy

For fans of: JoBo, Albert Collins, Albert King

Bernie Marsden Kings Conquest Music The Beast is loose on Bernie’s three Kings tribute!

Kings is Bernie Marsden’s first solo album in seven years and represents the first of a series of albums paying tribute to the artists that inspired him along his career path. The first gives everything away with the title because here we’re in the company of legends of the blues genre Freddie, Albert and BB King. Classic tracks from the repertoire (with its wonderful medium tempo funky treatment) include Help The Poor and Don’t You Lie To Me, and roll off Bernie’s fretboard with accustomed finesse, every note hitting its target. Bernie rounds the album off with a couple of selfpenned instrument­al tracks, the Freddie King-inspired Runaway and the downhome ’n’ dirty Uptown Train. These tracks alone proving that, as far as blues players in this country are concerned, Bernie is up there with the best of the best. [DM]

Standout track: Key To The Highway For fans of: Freddie, Albert & BB King

Julian Lage Squint Blue Note Jazz prodigy’s Blue Note debut

Julian Lage has had a stunning career with the bands of Gary Burton and John Zorn, plus collaborat­ions with Nels Cline and David Grisman. And then there are the numerous albums he has released under his own name. This debut Blue Note instrument­al album is a unique mix; while a fully paid-up jazzer, the music is song-like with accessible melodies and grooves. For his guitar tone, it’s rounded and slightly crunchy when digging in, but beautifull­y warm when played lightly. In short, a gorgeous marriage of touch and tone. Opener, Etude, is pretty – solo guitar-playing that is pianistic and harmonical­ly a little Debussy-esque. His cover of Mandel/Mercer’s Emily is exquisite, lyrical playing with a dynamic tone that sits and darts within the drums and bass. If you’re into genre-blending, expressive dynamics and sophistica­ted virtuosity, Julian is nothing short of stunning. [JS]

Standout track: Emily

For fans of: Joe Pass, Martin Taylor

Eric Bibb Dear America Mascot The rootsy fingerpick­er impresses once again

With Dear America, guitarist Eric Bibb presents 13 excellent tracks that are both a love letter to America and a reflection on its highs and lows. Joining him are Ron Carter on bass, Steve Jordan on drums, Eric Gales on guitar and guest singers such as Shaneeka Simon.

Whole World’s Got The Blues has a sultry backbeat, solid bass, crisp acoustic picking to enjoy, and plenty of emotive single-coil soloing from Eric Gales. The fingerpick­ing chords on Tell Yourself interact well with Bibb’s vocals, as does the slight crunchy melodic guitar solo. His acoustic picking is very colourful on

Along The Way with bass notes and cascading higher notes, while Talkin’ ’Bout A Train Part 2 is straight up funky. If bluesy Americana is your thing, as ever, Eric is outstandin­g. [JS]

Standout track: Along The Way For fans of: Taj Mahal, Keb’ Mo’

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