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Taylor Scott Band (from the album The Hang on Shade Tree Recordings/JTMMUSIC) (by Lee Zimmerman)
Both earnest and affecting, Taylor Scott’s third album makes an emphatic impression even on the initial encounter. One could credit producer Steve Berlin of Los Lobos fame for this accomplishment but there’s no reason to dismiss Scott and company’s efforts either. The songs that make up The Hang are impactful all on their own, thanks to a sound that blends the stylings of an astute singer/songwriter, plenty of radio-ready finesse, and a lyrical approach that’s neither convoluted or condescending.
The fact that Taylor Scott Band is based in Colorado, and grew up in rural western environs, may have something to do with the overt honesty that’s so evident throughout. So too, his ability to make a seamless shift in style, from Country to Rock to Blues, may also have something to do with the fact that he’s far from a one-trick pony. A riveting axe slinger, Taylor Scott clearly has the resources to drive his songs with the decided determination that’s clearly called for. His band — keyboard player Jon Wirtz, bassist Patrick Devitt, and drummer Brian Clayton — do their due diligence as well. So too, the influence of such well-schooled songwriters as Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, and Jerry Jeff Walker is also apparent in many of these offerings as well.
Whatever the reasons may be, The Hang comes across as intelligent, articulate, and accessible. “Shade Tree American Dream” boasts an unmistakable anthemic urgency, while the imploring lover’s lament “Talk to Me” makes its plea without stooping to pity or pretense. “Never Aim to Please”, “Dance All Night”, and “The Hang” are fully fueled Rockers, an assured contrast to the thoughtful strains of opening track “Leaning Tree”. To his credit, Taylor Scott Band manage to evoke a wide array of stirring sentiments, giving the album a depth of desire that remains intact throughout.
Ultimately, The Hang is an album that boasts the promise of widespread appeal, one that settles into a perfect middle ground while betraying no rough edges whatsoever. Consider Taylor Scott one credible contender. (By Lee Zimmerman)
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