REVIEW: Lynne Taylor’s “Shades of Blue” is Hopeful and Uplifting


Set for Nov. 1st release vocalist/pianist Lynne Taylor’s Shades of Blue, (Independent) is a musical canvass with songs that are hopeful & uplifting, with social & personal awareness.

Taylor, like some, writes with intelligence. She doesn’t need the showboat. There are vintage Americana, hymn-like moments, & qualities similar to past contemporary singers. The difference? Her rich passion, emotive voice & traditional time-honored melodies. All from the pen of a performer more of an artist than just another singer.

The prayerful “Shades of Blue,” runs a gentle palm across the cheek of Joan Baez, Mimi Farina, & Sandy Denny. As mentioned in earlier reviews of mine, there’s a bit of Judee Sill poignancy (“The Kiss,” “Jesus Was a Cross-maker”). Ms. Taylor’s stories are rooted in a temperate near symphonic-chamber music in its sweep within conventional folk compositions. “Blood Moon,” has a pinch of Vanessa Carlton-Laura Nyro piano runs.

While Ms. Taylor’s voice may sound thin to some, her vocalizing has rich tones, the drama between her piano & cello notes. If she wrote more pointedly, with a touch of satire & teeth – she’d border on Randy Newman-Laura Nyro’s creative style. Comparisons aside, Lynne’s still quite the adept originalist. She’s compelling, no doubt, within her own realm.

“Not Dead Yet,” is not commercial but she has competent brainy lyrics, & her vocal flourishes are indeed thrilling. She needs to focus on catchier melodies to snare artists – like Laura Nyro did – to become more accomplished due to reliable covers by bankable artists. The whimsical “Coulda Been” – about an aging parent — may be one.

Lynne has good intonation, phrasing & is attractive in virtually every genre she sings in. The group:  Lynne (vocals, piano), Kristen Miller (cello); Scott Solsky (guitar); Charlie Rockwood Farr (percussion, acoustic & steel guitar); Cameron Smith-Rappoport (violin); Chuck Melchin (mandolin); Kristine Malpica (Cajon); Meg Ryan & Lisah Plumley (harmony vocals) & Lucian Parkin (whistling).

Not all tracks are instantly hummable. Her songs do dig into engrossing areas. Success? As mentioned, some tunes need more commerciality. Similar to some Laura Nyro endeavors (“And When I Die,” “Eli’s Coming,” “Stoney End” & “Wedding Bell Blues”). Lynne needs that advantage to get that wheel to spin.

“The Disguise,” has potency. That “tendency to hide our authentic selves out of fear of being truly seen.” Wow. Heavy. Perfect for today’s youth. That’s a Laura Nyro unconventional approach & now it’s strictly a well-constructed Lynne Taylor, nothing more.

“Autumn,” provides the ideal “sound” of Lynne Taylor. The cello with piano – a good sound for Lynne. Closing with a crisp Elton John ballad type piano intro Lynne goes into a commercial Joan Baez mode. “Grace,” gallops cheerily. Her originality is well-shaped, the approach is sure, her material is prosperous & is she likable?

As an artist, Lynne Taylor is loveable.

The 9-track, 43-minute LP produced by Chet Woods. Available at CD Baby & Amazon:

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