Toronto's Taylor isn't sitting still, even in these Covid times. Scheduled for the fall, Taylor has bumped up release of his latest in case we need some musical inspiration. And he's taken a sharp left turn stylistically too. The hook-heavy r'n'b of his Julian Taylor Band albums has been replaced by an acoustic-based roots sound that showcases his songwriting chops.
Recorded at Blue Rodeo's Woodshed studio, the eight-song set certainly feels more rural than urban, farm over funk. In fact, the title cut is a tribute to summers spent on his grandparents B.C. farm. Personal lyrics and snapshots fill the collection, with Taylor writing about family, memories and emotions. Country flourishes from Burke Carroll's pedal steel and Miranda Mulholland's fiddle sweeten the tunes, while Taylor unveils a low croon for these intimate numbers. While the pictures are personal, the themes are universal; "We all feel out of place/in this Human Race."
Given his multiple talents, Taylor can't help but broaden the sound later on in the album. "Love Enough" sees him in more of a Tex-Mex/Mavericks mode, while "Ola, Let's Dance" is mostly a spoken word over music piece, a la Bruce Cockburn. Direct and simple (as in well-communicated), Taylor's lyrics hold up to the scrutiny this music allows. I was already a fan of his soul music, and now he's added a whole new and welcome dimension.