In 2002, Matt Taylor left a career as a high school journalism teacher to focus on writing and performing his own midwestern style of acoustic pop. Influenced by Simon and Garfunkel, Yes, and Crosby Stills and Nash, Matt Taylor's latest CD release, "Subject to the Wind" (July 2005), is simple and catchy, relying on complex vocal harmony and an often celtic feel for its catchy hooks. Taylor's second CD "All Circles Complete" is "a jaunty mix of folk rock and both soothes and inspires." [Fort Wayne Magazine, 9/03]. His home-produced CD, "Destination," features upbeat staples of Taylor's shows, including "Begin" and "Tip the Bottle." Check out www.matttaylormusic.com for more info.
Subject to the Wind Review
It?s impossible to listen to the music of Matt Taylor and remain a crusty curmudgeon. It?s 100% true, as evidenced by the results of my scientific experiments. I?ve yet to discover the exact reason for these findings. Perhaps it?s the upbeat melodies or the skillful songwriting, although I personally think it?s because Taylor loves to perform and his infectious attitude shines through on every song of Subject to the Wind, his third album.
Take, for instance, the opening track, ?Somedays.? Blissful vocal scat mimicking a horn quartet starts the song, bringing an instant smile to your face. Then bright, clean guitar and drums enter this bittersweet tale of a woman longing to find love, add in a symphonic bridge near the end, and even Oscar the Grouch would have a difficult time not singing along. ?Whatcha Getting In2? is another sweet up-tempo foot-tapper filled with light acoustic guitar flourishes and loads of vocal harmonies. Not one to hog the spot light, Taylor and Jen Fisher duet in the desperate ?The Way I Am,? a song of two lovers sorrowfully seeing the obvious signs of the end. Both ?On My Way? and the title track exhibit a broad sense of adventure, with the former sporting a 70s America feel with horns pumping up the syncopated light rock song and ?Subject to the Wind? spinning zesty organs around an inspiring song which bears the same sense of accomplishment as climbing a mountain accompanied by crisp untainted air and clean sunshine.
Brian Lemert adds a throbbing U2-like guitar complement on ?Follow Me Down? and rolling drums to the Celtic twilight of ?Perpetual Motion,? a sweet love song if ever there was one. Lemert even adds (gasp) a very melodic accordion solo to flesh out this inspiring track. With his love of vocal harmonies, it?s not surprising that a number of cuts could stand on their own with just the vocals as the sparse guitar often seems icing on an already very tasty cake. Both the tranquil ?Shade? and the jazzy, unnamed eleventh track take cues from African a cappella traditions to excellent effect, the later combining these influences with a tuba holding down the low end and a clarinet solo, making a modern ?Cheers? theme song in the process.
For this outing Matt Taylor chose to record at home, which is appropriate, as he played nearly every instrument and sung every note. The result shows him to be as adept in the studio as he is at songwriting, with clever craftsmanship clearly brimming through his acoustic pop creations. To subject yourself to examples of one of the area?s best singer/songwriters and to find out how to add Subject to the Wind to your collection, double-click to www.matttaylor.biz . Warning: Listening will get rid of your grouchies.
Matt Taylor Now Appearing
Our Fair City has a habit of taking its musical talent for granted. A pity. Truth be told we tend to dismiss local artists as pretenders. But there IS talent here, as Matt Taylor so ably demonstrates on his 2002 release, "All Circles Complete.?
This well-honed, craftsman-like effort is full of catchy acoustic guitar riffs punctuated by Taylor's soothing vibrato. The result of this self-produced piece is a jaunty mix of folk-rock and blues that both soothes and Inspires.
For years, enthusiasts of the arts have been saying that Fort Wayne's musical scene is healthy. Plug in any of Matt Taylor's CDs and you'll find that it's not just healthy, but downright robust as well.
Taylor frequently appears at Bill's Bistro, Jimmy's Covington Bar & Grill and Don Hall's Guesthouse. Do yourself a favor: Call ahead, take a seat, place an order and have a listen.
Matt Taylor's latest CD is "All Circles Complete." It's available locally at Wooden Nickel or you can order it online at www.matttaylor.biz. At $12, it's practically licensed stealing.
Making it as a Taylor...
Making It As a Taylor in this Town
Monday, July 26 brought another show and another evening of firsts. My wife and I caught Matt Taylor's evening set at Deer Park Irish Pub. Neither of us had seen Taylor before, and neither of us had ever been to this particular establishment. Upon walking in, we were greeted by the absolute friendliest bartender (also owner, Tony) I have ever met, and an equally jovial Denise waiting tables. Typically in a bar (sorry, pub) this size you can expect little more than the regulars shooting you a quick glance and waiting a half-hour for a drink. Not the case at Deer Park! Before Taylor's set. we grabbed a couple drinks (beer and wine only, kids) and ordered some dinner. Monday is pizza and wings night ... good stuff.
Taylor's set got underway with a couple of great originals. "Shade" and the almost Guster-esque "On My Way" really set the tone for the evening. While it is usually precarious to say the least, performing so stripped down (an acoustic and a mice plugged into a small PA), Taylor's sound was spot-on. Not too loud, not too quiet, and the clarity was perfect. Most of Matt's set consisted of classic rock covers ranging anywhere from The Band ("The Weight") to CSNY ("Ohio) to some more amusing tunes. I honestly must say this is the first time I have ever heard a cover of Wilson Philips, "'Hold On" back to back with the full version of the theme from "Gilligan's Island." .
Taylor played to his crowd well, and given the predominant blue-collar element, fit in several requests, including Jimmy Buffett and Bob Seger, but not George Jones, much to the dismay of one patron. One of the gems of Taylor's set was an original ?Rosaline," a finger-picked ode to a love, present or former. Other high points were his rendition of "Cat?s in the Cradle," played so precisely you really wouldn't miss the rest of the band playing along. "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" was pretty nifty, too, even if he did have to make up some of the words as he went along.
Taylor's most recent CD, Subject To The Wind, is a well-assembled and produced collection of songs, recorded, surprisingly, at Taylor's house. The caliber of area musicians making guest appearances on his CD (Brian "Onionhead" Lemert, Jen Fisher and Rob Van Ryn) really make me want to see Matt with a full band in a more originals-oriented environment. You can learn more about the CD, and stay abreast of Taylor's many live events at www.matttaylor.biz.
With catchy hooks, sing-along choruses and rhythms that will stick in your head for days, Taylor has no problem holding his own among the best of Fort Wayne's original artists. I'd suggest stopping out to the Deer Park Pub any Monday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. to catch his set .You won't be disappointed. And you never know, your chances to see him in such an intimate venue may not last forever.
While watching Taylor wrap up the last songs of his set (the original "Whatcha Gettin' In2" and, of course, the crowd uber-favorite "Freebird") and pack up to head to the next of his numerous gigs, I made a realization: your name doesn't have to be Kenny or Sunny to make it as a Taylor in this town.