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| 30 September 2021 | Reply

Label: Independent

Release Date: October 1, 2021

Rating: 94%

Reviewer: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur

A press release denoting an artist that has a sizzling folk, jazz and blues hybrid style crossed my path recently and there something in the music spoke to me and demanded I give it a listen, and am I glad I did.  While there are hints of Country in Taylor’s music, make no mistake, this is not your momma’s old tunes.  Disc opener “Window” unfolds with a pop sensibility that encompasses the vocals and musical accompaniment.  There is a slight twang in the vocals, but look and listen beyond it, as there is so much more here for the offering.  “Home On The Road” has some cool keyboards swirled into the mix along with Rae’s vocal that seems to border in territory occupied by Americana, soul, and rock n roll.  The grit in her vocal carries the emotional delivery she is using to push the sentiment and storyline of the track.  There is something that gets the foot tapping and body rocking in your seat on this one.  “Sink Or Swim” has a cool groove that kicks this one off and the song only gets better as its less than three minutes moves along quickly.  The simple percussion and bass lines perfectly anchor the track and give the guitars and keyboards room to wander as the layered vocals take charge and lead the way.  “Never Gonna Do,” which had its PREMIERE here on 100% Rock, is a song full of attitude and swagger that I feel best sums up the disc.  The smoldering vocal from Taylor that seemingly coats the musical track keeps the song from droning on and seems to get a kick when the second verse kicks in.  This track alone is worth the price of admission and begs to be played live in front of a venue full of people ready to bask in her performance and delivery.  “Just Be” is another jazz filled track that has some pop to it that blends different genres, yet still has a soulful country groove woven into it that seems to rise to the top – especially on the chorus – without overpowering the rest of the track.  There is a classic quality in the vocal that draws you in with each listen, as does the bass, piano, and guitar solos atop the percussion on the bridge.  “Forgiveness” revisits a country tinted vibe that also borrows from pop and adult contemporary that seems to be an odd combination, but with her vocals makes the effort worth it.  The vibrato in her voice emulates the emotional lyric she is bringing us on this one.  The guitars get more powerful as the songs works its way and the vocal jumps up especially moving into the outro.

“Fixer Upper” has a cool pop country mix to it that keeps things light and easy, even when Taylor drips her vocal over the track.  The texture in her voice draws you in and begs you to sing along with her, even when the words are a mystery to you on the first or second pass.  The guitar work is cool on this one and helps complete the package.  “Letting You Go” has a different tone to it compared to most of the tracks on the disc, but it doesn’t stray too far and keeps within the path cut.  The vocals and guitars on this one are perfectly matched and showcase the ranges and nuances in Rae’s voice.  This has slowly worked its way into my normal rotation thanks to the cool swirl of instrumentation and vocals that check the all the boxes.  “5:25” has a smoky texture to it that leans heavily into jazz territory, thanks to Rae’s vocal and the piano accompaniment that carries the melody and verses underneath the waves of her voice.  The bridge gives us a great interlude to enjoy that accentuates the vocals.  “Something Familiar” is another great jazz track that gives us a different tone and texture in Taylor’s vocal that takes us in a slightly different direction that fits the track and disc.  With each listen to the track, I find a new hidden sound, note, or beat that wasn’t there last time, making me enjoy it as if it were the first time every time.  “Wait And See” is an interesting twist on other songs here with vocals that bring different sounds and textures from the other track together while the keyboard led and percussion driven track flows and takes us to the final piece of the albums puzzle.  Disc closer “Taking Space” shows us another side to the signer-songwriter that sees Taylor singing her ass off while accompanied by only a guitar that is just enough of a platform to keep this track moving down the track.  After listening to this disc over and over for some time now, I would lean less on the contemporary country artist angle and point out the great vocals and songs this talented singer / songwriter has cultivated for this release.  If this is representative of Rae’s Mad Twenties, I cannot wait to hear all about the next era in her journey.

Tracklisting: Window – Home On The Road – Fixer Upper – Sink Or Swim – Letting You Go – Never Gonna Do – 5:25 – Just Be – Something Familiar – Forgiveness – Wait And See – Taking Space






Category: CD Reviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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