Taylor Scott and his eclectic band released their first full studio album in March and will have music fans begging for more. Produced by Los Lobos’ Steve Berlin, All We Have, exhibits a team that is capable of releasing chart-climbing albums. For the past few years the band has been putting on lively performances throughout their native Colorado, North America, and Europe. The Taylor Scott Band has performed alongside greats like Otis Taylor and Gov’t Mule’s Warren Haynes, a brilliant ax-man, who Scott often brings to mind. All We Have follows-up A Closer Look, the Second Glance, a six-song EP that was published in late 2015 and highlights Taylor’s ability to play an impressive lead guitar. Their recent release is a more complete concept album full of thoughtful songwriting and influences from innumerable genres.
Scott introduces the album with a melancholy “Opening,” which preaches “the things we have aren’t meant to last,” the theme of the album. The intro ends with a rising synth tone and leads into the forceful first notes of “Somebody Told Me.” The funky, driving bass of Chris Harris and jazzy drums of Lem Williams are prominent from the start, and both players shine throughout All We Have. “Somebody Told Me” is one of the big hits on this record, due in part to Scott’s strong, soulful voice, which pushes the song into a chorus begging for the ability to fly to a place with greener grass. This song gives the listener the first full sample of Scott’s clean Les Paul sound in a solo riddled with intermittent fuzz. Scott’s delicate guitar licks throughout the song and album afford an artful interplay with his mighty voice and the bumping bass line. The song ends abruptly and “Curiosity” starts just as suddenly. The drum-line snare beat and Scott’s chicken pickin’ highlight the players’ dynamic style. When the horn section comes in, it is impossible not to groove with Scott and the band. “Curiosity” features a mean southern-rock solo and is filled with keyboardist Jon Wirtz’s organ.
The light-hearted “Salted Watermelon” is another high point of the album, and it illustrates All We Have’s message: appreciate the present and, naturally, “all we have.” The song blends country, jazz, blues, and pop effortlessly and features a country-esque guitar solo from Scott. His powerful vocal outro leads into “Hair of Indigo,” the album’s peak of songwriting and energy. Here, the esteemed guitar playing of Los Lonely Boys’ Henry Garza emulates the psychedelic feedback of Jimi Hendrix. Scott and Garza’s guitars, full of reverb, scream in frustration, and the driving drums of Williams in addition to powerful lyrics support the guitars’ aura.
The second half of the album takes on a different vibe, with influences from pop-country and ‘80s rock ‘n’ roll love ballads. The listener is gifted with more organ work from Wirtz (listen to the solo on “Carry Me Away”) as well as forceful, free-form drums. “Wishing Well” is the only song on the album featuring the harmonica of Nic Clark. He slays the outro, which is an uncanny homage to dirty, delta blues players like Sonny Boy Williamson. The album ends on a slow note with infusions of folk guitar, synth, and Scott’s carpe diem mantra. Occasionally the lyrics become corny and turn to depressing complaints, but they are always written with care. “The Walk” brings back the horn section and gives the listener another clean, bluesy guitar solo, calling to original bluesmen like Albert King and their great interpreters such as Eric Clapton. This song’s oozing passion segues into the album’s final song, “Good Things.” The finale again illustrates the theme of the album, “good things never wanna stay…” and features a keyboard solo with backwards effects à la “Castles Made of Sand.” The deep, dark piano and echoic drums give the listener some desired character lacking from the album’s less-inspired second half. The album ends abruptly, and All We Have’s story concludes with satisfaction.
The Taylor Scott Band’s All We Have is hopefully a sign of what is to come from the Denver-based four-some. Their revered ability to blend genres and play mind-melting solos in between Scott’s skillful songwriting and rich voice makes them a band to watch in the coming years. Comparisons to Hendrix, King, and Clapton are not given lightly. Have a listen and check out their video for “Somebody Told Me,” which visually illustrates the fleeting lives we lead, and urge the watcher and listener to cherish the present.
The Review: 8.5/10
Can’t Miss Track
– Somebody Told Me
– Salted Watermelon
– Hair of Indigo
– Wishing Well
– The Walk
The Big Hit
– Somebody Told Me
Review by Spencer Rubin