“Deliciously miserable music…”
(Jennifer Dunning, NEW YORK TIMES)
The stripped down, acoustic production of Terese Taylor’s “Ghost” seems neither ironic nor fortuitous by intent, but straightforward and real as the singer songwriter herself. She is fearless, tackling a subject as raw as the fugue state… something familiar in rare moments, yet certainly brushed away when defense mechanisms kick in: One does not wish to remain invisible. Taylor’s lyrics manage to be curative in their very utterance: “I’ve been a ghost for days/ I drift from home to home/ I never will be seen/ As I vanish through your walls.” Yet, in the end, the ghost transcends that invisible situation: “Watch as I pass out of sight.” The song is punctuated by Taylor’s haunting guitar solos, sympathetic snares, and the whistling effects of a child’s whirly-tube toy. The result is less dramatic, however, than it is an ethereal sound of dignity. Fittingly, the song was aired on NPR’s “This American Life,” a righteous choice by host Ira Glass.
Taylor adapts a keenly observant nature to all of her music, accounting for much of her appeal. Yet, even with a subject as heady as the conundrum of metaphysics, Taylor’s storytelling involves more than the lyrics alone. Her poignant melodies and targeted instrumentation blend with the poetry. In fact, her songs stand out for the blend of sonic and visual impact.
Though subject matter may rely on the listener’s interpretation, when Terese breaks into the bold instrumental, “Hermit,” it isn’t hard to respond emotionally. The trio is tight, led by Terese’s hard rock guitar riffs, drum work handled nicely by Robert Johnson and a fast moving upright bass line from James Whiton. It’s an immediate outlet for dance. As in choreography or free form sixties Fillmore dancing – your choice. It’s a serious piece of triumph… or perhaps a mature display of anger. There isn’t anything haphazard about Terese’s choices, but flexibility definitely works.
“Doesn’t Shine,” another track streaming on Terese’ MySpace page, conjures an image and feel of San Francisco, no doubt. Terese doesn’t mind copping to multiple musical influences, but she has distilled these forces into her own magic. Utilizing an experimental or “black metal” ballad production mode, the song is a gem. It invites the fan of punk or psychedelia, but truly shines as a singer-songwriter’s feat. “I don’t shine/ I don’t shine… For what it’s worth God struck me down” ends the compelling crescendo.
When Taylor switches gears, becoming “Sweet,” an uncanny Kentucky (by way of Tennessee) wind begins to blow, quite unexpectedly. But the segue is perfectly satisfying. This down home lament –- “Lived in the country, I bought the farm/ Can’t remember which one you’re on” –- employs sophisticated harmonies and the clip clop of a Brazilian ago-go bell, no less. Signature authenticity.
About her recent appearance in San Francisco’s Dolores Park Café, the UK based music webzine, Whisperin & Hollerin, observed: "It would be too easy to plant singer/songwriter Terese Taylor in the garden of Polly Jean Harvey, especially in her early hellraiser years. Certainly the influence is there, especially on the stinging "Doesn't Shine" and the buzzing "Noose for Reason," but Taylor is no copycat. In fact, Taylor owes more to American roots rock than PJ's punk bloodline." Like Harvey, Terese’s attraction to “compassionate music” enabled her to become one if its finest, modern exponents. Her artistic influences are vast -- from Black Sabbath to Chrissie Hynde to Joni Mitchell -- spawning the characteristic nod to diversity and freedom, in Terese’s body of work.
Based in her adopted hometown of San Francisco, Terese Taylor emerged from a four-seasons background in Buffalo, New York where she began her expressionistic career as a modern & classical dancer. She has developed a musician’s musician reputation, with strong ties to a college and folk base, expanding to the festival scene, but always at home performing in such venues as San Francisco’s Eagle Tavern – “my favorite.” A noted “biker bar,” the landmark establishment also caters to charity events and potluck dinners. Terese Taylor and her music are at home where everyone feels at home.
She takes repertoire and trio on the road, for a Summer-Falling outing in the Northwest. Taylor hits Tacoma, Seattle and Olympia, WA, then Portland and Ashland, OR, before a return swing through CA, including Chico, San Francisco and Los Angeles. This is a particularly exciting tour, given that it will be documented on film. The upcoming documentary will be a feature entitled “10 Days, The Terese Taylor Band.” Terese is relaxed and “really looking forward to the adventure. There will be six of us in a van, but we’re all good people!” The band is a quartet, led by Terese on vocals, guitar and the Vox; Andre Custodio on drums, Stephanie Lee on violin and James Whiton (of Eric McFadden Trio) on upright bass.
- Karen Johnson
Clothes We Were Before We Were Married (1999)
Cryingness of Your Crying When You Cry (2003)
Good Luck Investigationship (2006)
Openmouthmedia Breast Cancer Compilation 'By My Grave' March 2007
Buzzlighter #4/ShutEyeRecords'Goats for Daddy'
AntiFolk Anti-Up magazine comp#2/'I'm Here'
(2000)'I Ain't Got No Home'-backing vox/Tony Furtado Band
(2000)'Weather Changer Girl'-ld gtr/Lisa Dewey
(2002)'Sweet Freak' gtr,accordian,backing vox/Jen Faith
(2006)'Rehearsing For Life'-backing vox/The Samples
“Deliciously miserable music…”