taylor bess - earth
Taylor Bess is one of those people who just seems to have so much innate talent that it can make an inferior musician jealous. Bess plays piano, organs, harps, guitar, sings and more on his album entitled Earth. According to Bess, “Earth” is a culmination and expression of many things I have been shown over the past year.” The album has overt religious overtones but never feels preachy. It feels autobiographical and doesn’t have any agenda that could turn people off. The writing feels pure and heartfelt not unlike that of Seven Swans by Sufjan Stevens (although Earth is a very different style). As I was listening to this album I was impressed by the diversity and Bess’s ability to cross genres somewhat successfully. That being said some genres worked better than others. Some songs felt a bit contrived and reminded me of something I would hear on FM radio and cringe at.
The album starts out with a nice sounding song that’s called “Come Into Being.” The first thing we hear is an electric piano that eventually starts to receive some accompaniment in the form of gorgeous vocal harmonies between Bess and a female singer. The song becomes more intense as it progresses. “Yahweh” is a bluegrass inspired song especially as the beat picks up at the two-minute mark. Strings crackle and Bess’s voice shines, as the song is uplifting, hopeful and heartfelt. “At Sea” is a slow yet powerful song. Some cool string work and the large, open drum sound were nice compliments. “Oh Shepherd” is an acoustic ballad while “Feeling is Found” had the positive energy on the album (sometimes a bit too grandiose). The album closes with “Home” which contains some melancholy produced by the dramatic swells of strings and minor chords played on the piano.
Overall, this album was hit or miss for me. Bess is obviously a gifted songwriter who is very talented but some of the songs sounded a bit too much like something you’ve already heard on the radio. Other songs such as “Yahweh” really hit the mark and sound original and exceptional. Bess is off to a good start. He is still a very young man who I hope takes his talent in the right direction.
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