Videos by American Songwriter
Texas troubadours don’t get any more old school than Eric Taylor. Now in his mid-60s and sounding every year of it, the singer/songwriter continues to perfect the art of storytelling in music with his first studio set since 2009. Americana fans familiar with peers such as Guy Clark, John Prine and Jimmie Dale Gilmore are probably already acquainted with Taylor. For those who have not yet caught up with the somewhat under-the-radar artist, Studio 10 is a perfect place to start.
Taylor’s warbling, grainy voice is both wonderfully expressive and reflective of the small town heroes, criminals, drifters and searchers that populate his intricately descriptive tunes. Each track carries indelible images of girls with Maybelline eyes, Molly and her painted pony and the colorful characters that populate “Francestown.” Instrumentation is predictably sparse with keyboards and hushed percussion yielding to Taylor’s solo acoustic strumming.
Listening to this, or really any of Taylor’s releases, is like curling up with a good book; one that transports you behind the faces and into the minds of the everyday folks that inhabit his music. Melodies are subservient to lyrics when Taylor unspools his evocative and graphic tales, taking as long as needed to tell these stories. In a few cases that means over six minutes, but the length never feels excessive.
The disc’s pacing frontloads the more upbeat tracks with the last third losing steam as the stripped down melancholy approach gets a bit monotonous. Still, there are few musicians daring enough to challenge their audience like Taylor as he creates mini-movies with sharply defined personalities that remain indelible long after the last note has faded.