MP3 Jefrey Taylor - Southern Soul
Country Funkin'' Soul "Willie Nelson crashed into Prince and Tom Petty saw the whole thing".
14 MP3 Songs
COUNTRY: Country Rock, URBAN/R&B: Funk
“It’s like Willie Nelson crashed into Prince and Tom Petty saw the whole thing,” muses Jefrey Taylor about his unique mix of country, funk and soul. He calls it CountryFunk, and his first CD, Southern Soul, has just been released. Taylor is a charismatic mix of pedigree (Berklee College of Music), ability (multi-instrumentalist, writer-composer), and unabashed flair. On stage, there’s no trace of self consciousness, just something pure and alive, and it’s what makes his performances so electric. “When I’m performing, I’m the rainmaker. I throw it out to the audience and it comes rushing back tenfold. It’s an agreement; they trust where I’m taking them. But that agreement is fragile, you’ve got to work for it every moment.”
Although immersed in music from childhood, and working as a musician/singer, Taylor hesitated to do his own recording until life gave him a painful push. “My mom was very proud of my talent, but she wanted me to dig in, get my own music out there. She thought I was getting by on charm.” When his mother passed suddenly in an accident, Taylor traded in his comfortable life to finally get serious about his music.
Recording Southern Soul was challenging, but the journey turned out to be exactly what Taylor needed. “It burned away anything that wasn’t true. Listen, everything is hard about this dream,” he says, “especially the part when you realize it’s up to you alone. But you get down to what’s essential. That, and a slug of Jack Daniels.” Taylor already has new songs and projects in the works, but is prepared to follow wherever the music takes him.
“The only thing I’m afraid of,” he pauses, “is the whiskey will run dry.” But after a breath he offers it up, “For the longest time I was afraid no one would be interested. That’s a lack of belief. I got over it.” Now Taylor says his only fear is not living up to his own expectations. But it’s a good fear, he says, it’s the one that keeps you moving.
The Story of Southern Soul
“Everything that’s created needs attention. Songs need to be heard, they need to go out in the world and live a little. They need to mean something to someone here and there.” Jefrey Taylor is talking about his recently completed inaugural CD, Southern Soul. The disc is dedicated to Taylor’s mother, whose sudden death deepened his commitment to music. To get clear about what Southern Soul would be, Taylor headed to Spain and the famed Camino de Santiago, a 562 mile pilgrimage. “I needed to get to the bottom of me. I was havin’ an honesty problem. Take a little 35-day walk with yourself and you have no choice but to get past your own bullshit. After that, the songs came quickly.” Taylor pauses for a moment, “This is sounding all dark night of the soul. I guess it was, but the music that came out of it is bright and spirited and funky.”
It is. Southern Soul offers a lively mix of moods and colors: lots of dance floor funk with some tender moments and Taylor’s unique brand of quirk. His instrumentation is wonderfully playful with organ, mandolin, banjo, dobro and conga’s. There is story telling and truth telling, and the laying bare of emotion. The disc flows effortlessly as we get to know Taylor and his uncommon blend of influence and originality. It all falls into what he describes as CountryFunk.
The disc features Dan Tomlinson of Lyle Lovett’s Band and Roscoe Beck of The Dixie Chicks, with Taylor writing all the songs and playing the majority of instruments. What do you want from the listener, I ask him. “Cash,” he says, “cold hard cash,” but his self amusement turns into sincerity, “Look, I write songs, I play music, I entertain because I have a passion for doing so. Rumor is, I also have talent. So passion meets talent –what else am I gonna do? It seems pretty clear this is the road. But it’s work. I’m working my ass off to provide a good reason for everybody to come to my party.”
Southern Soul is the fruit of Taylor’s labor. His vision has taken form. And to him, that is the most important thing. “You fight, you fail, you succeed –it’s okay. The experiences of life, are they flowers or weeds, it’s all just what we call it.”