Review: The Michelle Taylor Band — ‘Dirty Love’

Powerhouse vocalist Michelle Taylor has garnered a legion of fans from nearly two decades of hard work and sweat in the northwest music scene fronting several popular cover bands and then joining forces with guitarist Justin Dean to from Michelle Taylor and the Blues Junkies in 2011. They earned top spots in King 5’s Best of Western Washington and Seattle A-List, as well as a nomination for the ‘Best New Band” award in 2013 by Washington Blues Society. Sharpening their focus to become simply The Michelle Taylor Band, the duo along with the solid rhythm section of Robert Baker on bass and drummer Rob Morill, the group released a debut full length album Dirty Love in October of 2018 recorded at the vaunted London Bridge studios.

The set of ten original tracks are influenced by blues, soul and country, making it great American rock and roll record. The opening track “Hanging On The Vine,” is a scorching rebuke of unrequited love punctuated by funky clavinet from keyboardist Jim Barnes. A punchy drum groove and big harmonies highlight the rockin’ tale of turmoil “One Foot In The Gutter.” No classic album would be complete without a traveling tune, so Michelle and the boys take sentimental trip down south on the country tinged “Highway 65,” complete with sweet high lonesome slide guitar.

Dean opens the title track with razor sharp riff on a celebration of the world’s oldest profession, then takes over lead vocals for the old-fashioned house-rockin’ boogie, “Trashy Queen.” Taylor lets her softer side show though on the introspective ballad “Throwing It All Away,” and then shows off her full range on the emotional “Down In Flames.” The band busts out their northwest grunge rock roots on the heavy-duty rocker “Gasoline,” and then Taylor spells out her anthem of power “Black Lace and the Blues.” The closing track, “Wasteland,” urges us to hold on to hope in the darkest times, for only by knowing loss can we understand its true value and that dreams may die but others will rise to take their place if we let them. Rock and roll poetry at its finest.

Sample and purchase the new album HERE and get more info about the band HERE.

Rick Bowen

Rick grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan playing in school band, choir and show bands. While earning a BA at Western Michigan University in History and Social Science, he was a member of the Bronco marching band and jazz ensemble Gold Company. Moving to the Northwest in 1994, Rick soon landed gigs and sessions with many diverse local artists and is currently a member of the award winning Stacy Jones Band and the host of the all ages School of Jam. Rick is also an associate producer and session musician for Critical Sun Recordings, a contributing writer at Innocent Words, Seattle Examiner, No Depression, The Washington Blues Society and S.T.E.A.M magazine, and serves on the board of directors for the Washington Blues Society. Rick is endorsed by and plays THUMPER CUSTOM DRUMS. Awards: Washington Blues Society “Best of the Blues” award 2009 Best New Band –Stacy Jones Band WBS “Best of the Blues” award 2012 Best Blues Jam - Oxford Saloon Monday Night Jam 2013 & 2014 WBS Best Blues Writer award. 2014 WBS Chris Leighton Blues Drummer BB Award. Nominations: 2009 & 2013 Best Blues Drummer WBS BB awards. 2012 Best NW recording “No Need To Spell it Out –Stacy Jones Band (Rick J Bowen co producer)