Taylor Robert

REVIEW: Taylor Robert “Man on a Mission”


Taylor Robert – Man On a Mission

While the songs sound fairly routine it’s actually multi-instrumentalist Taylor Robert’s gritty, sincere & refined vocals that captivate. “Cure the Blues,” is rudimentary but it’s the voice that’s fascinating.

Followed by the steady McCartney-type beat of “Fallen When I’m Flyin’” coupled with a mandolin sound that has character with the vocalizing style of Boz Scaggs’ tonality in a Simple Minds’ “Alive & Kickin’” manner. That’s creative.

The recording has clarity & atmosphere. Tunes arranged imaginatively. There’s nothing embellished, just an engaging performance (at the beginning) with supple guitars, snappy drums & fluent backup vocalizing.

Taylor Robert

The first 8 songs are well-conceived. Each is immaculately structured. “Love You,” has Roberts letting go of his warm country via rock schooling. It’s not thrashing about but it’s significant in presentation & sometimes that’s enough.

The Minnesota artist cites Elvis as an influence & Taylor does have the power & spirit in his voice. He knows how to bend a lyric.

Man On a Mission (Drops June 16–Roll n’ Soul) has 16 generous amounts of tunes. But that can be problematic.

“Keep The Light On,” is good even with an entirely different Robert vocal tinge. Dramatic, a sound like the hum of an old engine that had been idle for years yet on the first turn of the switch purrs. Unlike the last cringeworthy cut “U Got Da Tounge Goin’” which doesn’t belong on this CD. It renders the artist a novelty act. Not good.

The LP has been years in preparation. Taylor has cornered the market on a “style” that is wholly his own. That is, until after track 8 where the tasty soda bubbles spill over the rim. He’s not J.J. Cale, not Guy Clark or Townes van Zandt but he clearly is an artist who doesn’t push the envelope as much as tempts its perimeters.

Taylor Robert

Some latter songs are a hive buzzing with lyrical cliches (“if love is the chorus…”) (“…pedal to the metal…”) but the messages are still a clear proponent. Not easy to write great lyrics. Many musicians don’t realize that. It must be practiced as often as a guitar or piano. There are good lyrics on the first 8 songs, but then clearly runs out of steam. Taylor may be going for humor but he’s not John Prine or Roger Miller.

I think Taylor just tried fitting too many songs on an otherwise fine album. The first 8 were impressive until the momentum eased. “Found a Girl,” is nice but Taylor makes the same mistake Paul McCartney makes – it gets a little too cute.

Taylor’s well worth checking – he’s indeed a talented musician.

Highlights – “Cure the Blues,” “Fallen When I’m Flyin’,” “Love You,” “Keep The Light On,” “Addicted,” “Crossroad” & “What I Used To Be.”

Color images courtesy of Darin Back. 60-minute CD @ https://taylorrobert.com/home


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