Photo Credit: Dave Tommo
After listening to Benjamin Taylor‘s music on his website and MySpace page, I was quite interested to see him perform live.
Ben is Carly Simon and James Taylor‘s son, so the idea of seeing him and hearing him in person was intriguing. Also, he’s from New England (Martha’s Vineyard), which is always a treat for me – running into fellow New Englanders in England.
The intimate showcase took place last Monday night downstairs at The Social in London. The Social is a great place for an acoustic show. There’s limited seating, but the stage is always in view as the room is quite small.
Before Ben started the set, his latest CD, ‘The Legend Of Kung Folk Part 1 (The Killing Bite)’ was playing through the speakers. You can look at this idea in two ways. Some might find his live show a repeat of what they just heard on the overhead. For me though, I liked the idea of hearing his tunes before the live show. It gave me a chance to get more acquainted with his music, and actually, made the night seem even more intimate.
Ben Taylor is a soft spoken guy, humble on stage and seems like he would fit right in with some of my friends from back home in Vermont – like by a fire at night…in the woods by a river. But I digress.
He played songs off of ‘The Legend Of Kung Folk’, along with David Saw, also on acoustic guitar, and there was bass (played left handed and upside down – or reverse headstock) and box drummer. One stand out of the night was David and Ben’s smooth harmonies. When singing in unison they sound almost as one – as though the same voice was layered in the studio. It’s always good to hear vocal harmonies in acoustic settings, but when their voices come together in unison, it makes the sound even warmer. David performed a song as well. His album, ‘Broken Down Figure’ features Ben, Christopher Thomas and Larry Ciancia. I’m looking forward to hearing it, which I have here, next to the computer.
Photo Credit: Patrik Andersson
One of my favorite songs of the night “Wicked Way”, is a song that had previously caught my ear from listening online. Now that I have Ben’s CD ‘The Legend Of Kung Folk’ and am listening to it now, I think it probably is one of the best tracks on the album. Although, the song did catch me off guard when I first heard it. With Ben’s gentle voice, and if you’re familiar with his parents, you can even hear them in there a little, I wouldn’t have expected a song with opening lyrics, “Well I just want to take you out and get you drunk so I can have my wicked way with you”. In the song he tells it like it is, maybe a bit harsh, but it’s how he feels about the girl and the three hours that he wants to spend with her. Blunt and real to life. Feminists won’t love it, but in this “wicked” world we live in, these things do actually happen, even if the song may be “tongue in cheek”.
“It’s Only Love” off of the album is also a winning track as is the laid back, sultry even, “Dangerous Girl”. Some well thought out placement of instruments, use of vocal effects and harmonies. The lyrics leave me wanting to know more about this dangerous girl, and what did she do? Excellent.
Jamie Cullum plays piano on three tracks – the intimate “After It’s Over”; the groovy “Wilderness” and – “Space”, which has a bit of an old school country feel, lovely guitars, bass and backing vocals by Ben’s sister Sally Taylor (who also contributes backing vocals on “Something For Nothing”) and yearning lyrics.
‘The Legend Of Kung Folk Part 1 (The Killing Bite)’ is set for UK release April 6, 2009.
The first single set for UK release is the radio friendly “She’s Gone” on April 20th.
Ben Taylor on amazon.com
Ben Taylor on amazon.co.uk
Ben Taylor will be playing in the UK in April. The live show was a great night out, and I would recommend seeing him – and why not buy the CD while you’re at it!
By: Jenny May – BandWeblogs.com