Louise Taylor

Velvet Town

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Velvet Town is a good title for Louise Taylor's latest album, because it alludes to a style that extends beyond typical singer/songwriter concerns. While a song like "Little Collette" distinguishes itself with a catchy chorus and Kristin DeWitt's harmony, the album's real difference -- the velvet -- shows up on pieces like the title cut and "Maps of Venice." The lyrics may say "singer-songwriter," but the colorings of the soundscape are pure jazz with Taylor offering subtle vocals. Indeed, the deeper one delves into Velvet Town, the more one suspects that she isn't a singer/songwriter at all. Many of the lyrics, as in "Call My Name," are impressionistic and spare, and Taylor relies heavily on vocal nuance and fresh arrangements to get her emotional message across. The backing players rely on the same arsenal of instruments as most contemporary folk bands, but the production creates rich textures that permeate the listener's senses. The bass and acoustic guitar interplay at the beginning of "Call My Name" draws the listener in before the lyric even begins and then provides a steady, rhythmic motif that drives the song forward. Taylor succeeds by creating a distinct style that is easy on the ears and filled with pleasing surprises. With a melodious sound and consistently good songs, Velvet Town will serve as perfect listening for a lazy Saturday afternoon.

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