2017 – Sean Taylor Songs
By Phillip Smith; Feb 18, 2017
Flood and Burn, the eighth full-length release from UK singer/songwriter Sean Taylor is an engaging, melodic jewel. The album consists of eleven original pieces covering a variety of genres, along with a compelling bluesy cover of “Heartbreak Hotel” featuring Taylor on harp and Andre Moran on slide guitar.
The velvety and lulling “Codeine Dreams” welcomes the listener in with soft swirly vocals amid colorful splashes of saxophone courtesy of Joe Morales. Taylor’s poetic mastery cleverly reveals itself on “A Good Place to Die” and the jazzy “Cruelty of Man”.
With Roscoe Beck (Leonard Cohen) on double bass and Mike Hardwick on pedal steel, “Troubadour” beautifully recounts the uncertainly of life as a traveling musician. A wave of melancholy washes over me when I hear “Life Goes On”. Whether going through good times or bad, one can only go forward. The lord giveth and the lord taketh away when Taylor charmingly conjures up an ominous hill-country vibe on the downtempo title track “Flood and Burn”. Mark Hallman guests on banjo and Andre Moran on slide guitar, elegantly setting the song’s dark mood.
Subtle references to Charles Bukowski, Townes Van Zandt, and Skip James are delightfully plucked like Easter eggs from “Bad Case of the Blues”. A lush mix of slide guitar from Moran and violin from Hana Piranha taxis this daunting melody to exactly where it needs to be. “Better Man”, a song of blessing and sacrifice, guided by the wonderful talent of Piranha on violin and Danny Thompson on double bass, eloquently brings Flood & Burn to a graceful end.