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Sean Taylor Sean Taylor
Album: Flood & Burn
Label: Self Released
Tracks: 12
Website: http://www.seantaylorsongs.com

I have regularly been involved in discussions as to whether an album should sound like the artist performs live or if it's an unrelated entity in its own right, i.e. would a live fan of a solo performer feel deceived if the album features a band, backing singers etc and similarly if someone heard a song from the album on the radio, bought the album, headed off to a gig to discover just a man and his guitar would they be short changed. There is no straight answer, there's too many variables involved, but Sean Taylor's new album, "Flood & Burn" adds fuel to the discussion.

"Flood & Burn" is album number eight for Sean and each one has been influenced by, but not held prisoner by the previous cuts, it means that whilst sharing a common a dna, the look and feel has changed across the album set, folk, blues, jazz, Americana and still remained an essentially Sean Taylor album. One of the reasons for that can be discovered in Sean's cover of "Heartbreak Hotel" on the new album.

An artist should own a cover version, the best cover's aren't copies, they're interpretations and Sean Taylor is a master of interpreting songs regardless of if he wrote them or not. The first thing you notice about, "Flood & Burn" is the richness, it permeates the playing, the production, the melody the narrative, from the skin through to the core. You can feel the love that has been applied right through the album, across the light and the dark, the people, the politics.

Once again, production comes courtesy of Mark Hallam who seems to share a symbiotic muse with Sean and the additional musicians include regular names, such as Danny Thompson, Eliza Gilkyson and Hana Piranha, who is also a member of Sean's trio. Whatever the individual contribution of the additional musicians, it's vibrant and in the right place, it gives the songs that something, but not once detracting from the fact that this is a solo album, a man and his guitar, "Flood & Burn" is the songs of a musical troubadour.

Listen to any song on the album, the man and his guitar are there, it's testament to the strength of the writing and arrangements that this is a solo album for precisely the same reasons that it's a band one, because the songs are so well written and so resilient, part of a crowd and stood away from that crowd,

If there's an underlying touch to "Flood & Burn", it's jazzier than Sean's previous cuts, but remember what I said about the DNA. This is an album that really delivers, it's an album of songs and Sean Taylor is an exceptional talent whose music is so easy to recommend investigating. "Flood & Burn" is an album you need to explore, because it simply gives so much.

Neil King