As she prepares to play Colne tomorrow fans of Joan Armatrading know one thing for sure – they won’t be short of a varied setlist.

In a career spanning almost 40 years, this award-winning performer has never been afraid of adapting her style and producing something new.

From the rock and pop ballads such as Drop the Pilot and Me Myself and I to the number one blues album Into the Blues, she has managed to move seamlessly from one musical style to another.

Her latest album Starlight is and out and out jazz album showing that she’s equally at home in yet another musical area.

“I suppose it’s one of the great strengths and also great weaknesses of my music,” she said, “in that I do move from one style to another.

“Sometimes I have to wait for fans to catch up with me. It might take them a few listens to an album if it’s totally different – like Starlight – and you sense that they are not even sure that they are supposed to like it.

“With blues and rock that’s basically like vanilla ice cream, but in jazz you can’t just have vanilla. You have to add all these chocolate sprinkles and cherries on top “But my fans have been fantastic over the years and by changing styles I have also picked up new fans along the way.”

One of the great strengths of any Joan Armatrading song is the lyrics, acutely observed and often moving.

“My lyrics always have a personal feel to them,” said Joan. ”But don’t think they are all about me. I like observing things and I store information about people around me and situations I see and I often use them in the lyrics of my songs.”

A supremely accomplished musician, it is not unusual for Joan to play most of the instruments during the recording of an album and live her virtuoso guitar playing often surprises an audience.

“It’s true that people don’t think it’s me playing guitar,” said Joan. “They’ll name all these great guitar players who they think has been on my album but it’s actually just been me.”

Colne is just part of an extensive tour which sees Joan playing relentlessly until the end of the year all over Europe.

Now 61 it’s a schedule which she’s thriving on.

“I prefer to work this hard and to have one date after another. It allows you get into a routine. If you’re only doing the odd show here and there, that can be far more difficult to adjust to.”