Joanne Shaw Taylor Blends Soul and Americana In 'The Best Thing' Video: Premiere

David McClister
Joanne Shaw Taylor

Joanne Shaw Taylor "doesn't get too involved" in music videos for her songs. But she's pleased that the clip for "The Best Thing" -- premiering exclusively below from her upcoming album, Reckless Heart -- visually straddles the same kind of divide in her music.

"I think I take such possession of how I want the music to sound that I'm more flexible when it comes to visual things -- and I never end up watching them too much 'cause I hate watching myself," the British-born Taylor, who made her home in suburban Detroit a decade ago, tells Billboard about the performance-dominated clip, which features Taylor and her trio playing inside a gritty locale. "David McClister, who worked on it, his work is quite Americana-ish. I love that style and I thought it was an nice blend given that it's kind of a soul song, really. So I really liked the fact the video combined soul and Americana elements."

"The Best Thing" itself came about after Taylor attended a Chris Stapleton concert with friends during August 2017. "I'd never dug into him before, and I really enjoyed it," she says. "I was inspired by three guys just playing, stripped down, with good songs -- and his wife singing with him. He's got a soul element to his music, too. I went home after the gig and started writing 'The Best Thing'."

Reckless Heart, out May 17 and the follow-up to Taylor's 2016's Wild, is, in fact, her most soulful effort to date, expanding from the rock and blues template of its predecessors. She wrote the entire album herself and recorded it with producer Al Sutton (Greta Van Fleet, Kid Rock) at Rustbelt Studios not far from her home. "I do so much touring it was nice to go on the road and then do a studio album at home and not have to be on the road for it," Taylor says. "I've also wanted to work with Al. He's been a friend of mine for a decade-plus and we've always talked about it and just couldn't work it out with our schedules until now."

As for Reckless Heart's soul flavor, Taylor notes that, "It's been such a huge influence on me in my life, and living in Detroit has probably influenced me as a singer. And the players we used were all from (Detroit), so I think it was inevitable that (soul) was going to seep into the album." The album's theme, too -- chronicling the ups and downs of Taylor's current romantic relationship -- is also the stuff of sweet, and sour, soul music.

"A lot of (the songs) were written about that, yeah," acknowledges Taylor, who also played piano on record for the first time and included her first solo unplugged performance, "Jake's Boogie." "There was a lot of anger there, from both sides -- plus I was listening to a lot of Adele and Amy Winehouse at the time, pissed-off females. So it tracks from when it went bad to when it was, or is, great. It's a relationship album, I suppose."

Taylor will be rekindling her relationship with her fans starting May 11, hitting the road for a tour that currently has dates booked into September, with more expected to be added. The current itinerary includes:

May 11                                 Phoenix, AZ @ MIM
May 17                                 Columbus, OH @ Rumba Café 
May 18                                 Westland, MI @ The Token Lounge
May 20                                 Chicago, IL @ City Winery
May 21                                 Kent, OH @ Kent Stage
May 23                                 Philadelphia, PA @ World Cafe Live
May 25                                 Fall River, MA @ Narrows Center for the Arts
May 26                                 Boston, MA @ City Winery
May 28                                 New York, NY @ Iridium
May 30                                 Alexandria, VA @ Birchmere
May 31                                 Greenville, NC @ State Theatre
June 1                                   Raleigh, NC @ Lincoln Theatre
June 3                                   Nashville, TN @ City Winery
June 5                                   Atlanta, GA @ City Winery
June 6                                   Chattanooga, TN @ Songbirds North Stage
June 7                                   Louisville, KY @ Headliners Music Hall
July 8                                     Montreux, Switzerland @ Montreux Jazz Festival
July 13                                   Lancashire, United Kingdom @ Lytham Festival
July 20                                   Sioux Falls, SD @ Sioux Falls JazzFest 
July 21                                   Minneapolis, MN @ The Dakota
July 26                                   Sisters, OR @ Sisters Rhythm & Brews Fest
August 9                               Delafield, WI @ Waukesha Rotary Blues Fest
August 10                            Duluth, MN @ Bayfront Blues Festival
August 16-21                     Barcelona, Spain @ Keeping the Blues Alive at Sea
September 5-8                  Las Vegas, NV @ Big Blues Bender
September 13                    Colorado Springs, CO @ Pikes Peak Center
September 14                    Telluride, CO @ Telluride Blues & Brews


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