I came across Heather Taylor almost by chance one day that I was browsing into the new releases in Bandcamp. As soon as I listened a few songs from Undercurrents, which is Taylor’s last and newest album, I was immediately captured by the delicacy and the charm of this record.
The release notes of the album say that Ms. Taylor is a singer-songwriter from North Carolina, in the U.S.A.. She was classically trained in flute but eventually developed a special connection with Appalachian folk, which is the special version of music that developed in North America through the fusion of the different styles and musical traditions that were brought into the New World by the various immigrants that arrived in the eastern side of the U.S. starting from the 18th century. And in fact, in absolute continuity with the legacy of Appalachian folk, the music composed and played by Taylor features really many different influences including americana, blues, and country.
From a musical point of view the arrangements of Undercurrents are simple but effective: the majority of the songs are built only on the combination of the beautiful voice of the artist with her octave mandolin and the slide guitar played masterfully by Sean Jerome. Such a basic instrumentation gives a lot of consistency to the record, but somehow it also represents the major limit for the full appreciation of the album. In fact, if it’s true that each one of the individual songs results enjoyable, inspired and profound, the experience of listening to the entire album is less exciting and thrilling as it could have been if the songs had shown even just a little more variety of atmospheres, arrangements and rhythms. Fortunately, though, there are a couple of really spectacular songs that make you forget everything else and that let us foretell a brilliant career for this talented artist from Asheville.
My favorite songs are the delicate and indie-pop oriented Milk Sugar Love, and the opening track Up on a Mountain.