Hearing Aide: Jules Taylor ‘Mountain Time’

“I’m not trying to find a new sound,” Jules Taylor says, “I’m just trying to find myself.”

It took Taylor two years of introspective soul searching and relentless experimentation with sound to achieve this ambitious goal, but what’s two years in mountain time? Life in the mountains moves at its own pace, measured by seasons of the year and counted in generations. It also offers a vantage point for gaining perspective. Mountain Time transcends space and time to map the terrain of Taylor’s meandering journey from his roots in the Southwest all the way up to the Catskills.

Mountain Time starts with “Pining,” a song steeped in the rhythms and imagery of nature. “As long as the willow’s been weeping, as long as the sky’s been blue,” Taylor drawls, “As long as the sun’s been rising, you know I’ve been pining for you.” His vocals are as weathered as an old highway sign and as inviting as your favorite mom and pop diner. Taylor’s genre, like his accent, is hard to pin down because it’s as unique as a thumbprint. The best way I can come up with to describe it is eclectic Americana, with some songs leaning towards southern rock and others towards alt-country.

Taylor spent two years thoughtfully arranging the music on this album. His search for authentic expression led to the use of roots instruments including lap steel, dobro and mandolin, in addition to piano and guitar. The music sets a backdrop for adept storytelling. “Long Way to Abilene” takes one meandering through the back roads of the Southwest. Taylor contemplates his life in “Cradle to Grave,” and searches for faith in “True Religion.”  The album ends with the bittersweet ballad “Carolina King.” Overall, the collection is the musical equivalent of the Great American Novel: a work that captures what it means to be human – the shortcomings and the triumphs, the heartaches and the joys.

Taylor has dedicated this, his third album, to his mother Lamar Ortiz. It was released on May 14, her birthday, and also the day following Mother’s Day this year. More information about Taylor and his work can be found on his website.

Mountain Time was produced, recorded, engineered, and mixed by Taylor alongside Tod Levine at Magnetic North Studios in Saugerties, NY. Session musicians included Dan Cartwright and Matt Bover on drums, and Colin Almquist and Alison Damrath on bass.

Key Tracks: Pining, Long Way To Abilene, Mountain Time

 

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