Joanne Shaw Taylor Almost Always Never Ruf For her third solo album, 26-year-old Joanne Shaw Taylor decided to shake things up musically and creatively by tracking with a different producer

Joanne Shaw Taylor
Almost Always Never
Ruf

For her third solo album, 26-year-old Joanne Shaw Taylor decided to shake things up musically and creatively by tracking with a different producer and studio band than she used on her previous releases. Instead of returning to Memphis to work with Jim Gaines—the legendary producer who steered her debut and sophomore albums, White Sugar and Diamonds in the Dirt— Taylor trekked to Austin to record under the watchful eye of Mike McCarthy (Spoon, Patty Griffin, Heartless Bastards), and her music reflects this change. While her riffs still have a bluesy spark, her songs are longer and feature extended solos with a more exploratory vibe.

Bolstered by drummer J.J. Johnson’s tribal grooves, Taylor’s guitar tones have a new heft, thanks in part to the Les Paul she used extensively on the album in lieu of her faithful Esquire. Another sonic change is David Garza’s churning organ, which ebbs and flows around Taylor’s 6-string allowing her to investigate the nooks and crannies of her fretboard. Captured clearly on these 12 tracks, Taylor’s gritty voice is as strong as ever, and her songwriting reflects the 10 years she has spent onstage since joining one of Dave Stewart’s post- Eurythmics bands at age 16. —Andy Ellis

Must-hear track: “Soul Station”

A faithful recreation of the Germanium Mosrite Fuzzrite with a modern twist.

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With such a flashy flame top, the Silvertone 1445 was built to catch the eyes of department store shoppers.

I don’t know what’s going on lately, but I’m breaking down all over and my shoulder is the latest to crumble. When I was a kid I would practice guitar in my bedroom near a radiator with an ungrounded amp plug and I’d get a zap right through my guitar and into my hands. Well, my shoulder pain is like that now, only without the cool story of rock ’n’ roll survival. I simply woke up one day like this. After a few weeks of discomfort, I figured I’d try out a new pillow, since mine are flattened like a wafer. I ventured out to the mall and, much to my sadness, saw the local Sears store shuttered, with weeds growing up from the sidewalks and concrete barriers blocking the large glass doors. I know I don’t get out much, but, man, was I sad to see the Sears store I’d known since childhood closed-up like that. My wife was laughing at me because apparently it had been closed for some time. But since I seem to exist on a separate timeline than most folks, it was all news to me.

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It doesn’t have to be all cowboy boots and yee-haws!

Intermediate

Beginner

• Learn how to comp using hybrid picking.
• Add nuance to your playing by combining pick and finger string attacks.
• Add speed and fluidity to your lead playing.

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The first thing most guitarists think of when they hear the phrase “hybrid picking” is undoubtedly twangy Telecasters. While that may be the most common use of hybrid picking, it is far from the only application. Diving into hybrid picking opens a whole new world of control, timbre possibilities, ideas, speed, and more.

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