This is another consistently strong effort from Taylor, the highly influential Texas songwriter who galvanized the Houston folk scene with Lyle Lovett, Nanci Griffith, and Robert Earl Keen among others. Taylor not only paints dark character sketches but creates cinematic, deeply moving tales. As on his previous captivating effort, Live at the Red Shack, Rock Romano superbly engineers and adds vocals along with James Gilmer on percussion. Susan Lindfors Taylor sings and co-produces. David Webb’s keyboards add all the right colors. This spare but rich accompaniment to Taylor’s signature guitar sound has long been a Taylor staple.
Nine are originals and Taylor puts his unique stamp on Tim Grimm’s “Cover These Bones”. “Bill” mourns the late Bill Morrissey with the memorable line “I’ve been through this town before/it’s got a four-way and a liquor store”. Eric takes the woman’s angle for the deceptive murder tale, “Molly’s Painted Pony” (I did not kill my husband/I killed a dishonest man) and again for the bitterly defiant “Adios”. Taylor’s two songs written for the unlikely Irish boxer/writer Jim Tully will be used for an upcoming documentary on Tully. If you’re new to Taylor sample “Reno” or “Dark Corner Ice Water” and you’ll quickly learn why he delivers a distinctly unique listening experience.
– Jim Hynes