A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
By Lucy Bonnington
Eric Taylor's been quasi-famous in Texas for a couple of decades. Back in the early eighties when he was playing little folk clubs like Houston's Anderson Fair, married to Nanci Griffith, he released a wonderful LP called Shameless Love, with his wife on background vocals and James Gilmer and John Hagen, Lyle Lovett's compadres, on percussion and cello. More recently, Eric's songs have been covered by Nanci Griffith, June Tabor and Lyle Lovett (you'll remember" Fat Babies" on Lyle's "I Love Everybody?").
Now Eric Taylor has a CD, eponymously titled, on Watermelon Records, released in 1995. Unlike so many singer-songwriters of late, he's not a bit confessional, but glimpses of his life sneak in the back door. Things happen; and you meet a lot of people in his songs: a farmer's family gets a new tractor, "thanks to Mister Roosevelt and Henry Ford," there's a prison break, Crazy Horse is killed while trying to escape, and a hapless family from Indiana witnesses one of our century's apocalyptic moments on the streets of Dallas, Texas.
These are the sounds of a wise and reflective man, finally comfortable in his life. The lyrics slowly unfold in the tangential and deliberate way of a born storyteller. His guitar work is rich and simple. With old friends Gilmer and Hagen on percussion and cello, along with violin, piano and acoustic bass , and Lyle Lovett and Iain Matthews quietly harmonizing, it's a joyful, intelligent, poignant CD, reintroducing Eric Taylor, a sage musician. Welcome back.
[Edited by: David Schultz]
Copyright 1996, Three Rivers Folklife Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior written permission and attribution.