I have known Simon Taylor, in one musical guise or another, for more than 30 years. In all of that time, quality and integrity has been his byword. A fine guitarist, the release of his debut album of all original music is an absolute delight to listen to, a treat for the ears and the senses, eight tracks offering varietal moods and time signatures, suggesting that a career in film or TV composition may lay in wait.
In shaping the album, he has gathered around himself a coterie of empathic musical conspirators, including a brace of musos from Kila, Lance Hogan and Ronan O Snodaigh , all of whom totally complement the lead lines of the various pieces which he has composed, which of themselves reveal an original voice at work. As is to be expected, his guitar playing occupies the centre forward berth, but Emma Peters' fiddle lifts and defines melody lines throughout. Apollo, the album's opening track, begins with beautiful fingerpicked guitar, its gentle meanderings soon joined by Wally Desmond's whistle, by means of which one is transported to a faraway , dreamy place.
It is this otherworldly, reflective, theme which is the album's recurring motif, an aural invitation to escape, go beyond the immediacy of experience, and lose oneself in the varietal compositional strands. There are several points throughout the album where notes or phrases, isolated , suggest a jumping off point for another tune, which of itself demonstrates the suggestive power of music which makes its mark. That it most certainly does.
With Now Then, Simon Taylor has created a signature work, beautifully engineered and produced, one which deserves to be heard by the widest audience, and which, in an ideal world , would sell by the cartload. Listen, repeatedly, and allow yourselves to be drawn into the core of these soundscapes for the soul. What a gorgeous album.
Oliver P. Sweeney
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