‘The Beat Goes On’ for Celebrated UK Singer, Songwriter and Road Warrior Sean Taylor

"My new album, 'The Beat Goes On,' offers light to darkness. It covers the themes of love, beauty, hope and nature, and sets these in opposition to sadness, loss, fear, and hurt. ‘The Beat’ draws on blues, soul, folk, jazz, Americana, and roots music." - Sean Taylor

Sean Taylor is a force that transcends genres, his lyricism reflecting considerable empathy, dazzling intelligence and remarkable observational skills. Sean’s inimitable voice, guitar and piano are the centerpiece of Texas-based Mark Hallman’s simpatico ensemble for The Beat Goes On. Ten of the 11 songs are written entirely by Sean, plus an interpretation of a poem by the American laureate Robert Frost.  

From the moment Irish jazz maestro Michael Buckley hits the first notes of his supreme soprano saxophone introduction to ‘”It’s Always Love’”, the bar is set high for this brilliant new studio album. Michael appeared on Sean’s breakthrough LP Walk With Me over a decade ago, and his presence here is equally inspirational.  Sean’s atmospheric, whispering vocals enhance the poetic genius of his lyrics: “We work hard every day just trying to get by
/All the dreams we had we put to one side
/We forget about what make us feel so alive
/When we find someone special/ it is a reason to survive /It’s always love.”

On “Lament for The Dead,” Sean’s huskier vocal delivery and intricate guitar work are complemented by Austin resident, cellist Brian Standefer, whose somber strings alongside Hallman’s mesmeric percussive backdrop create a sense of pandemic despair. “New year arrives and bleeds with death/ Distant sirens and final breaths/Love, loss and fear everywhere/The silence of darkness chokes the air/ Lament for the dead.”

The jazz-infused piano of the title track transforms the mood to one of up-beat optimism, Buckley again proving his credentials as a jazz saxophonist at the top of his game with his creative interpolations. “Better Times” continues this sense of confidence in the future “where artists and lovers stand tall in the hope of better times.” This is a trademark Taylor and Hallman harmonious duet with the latter playing bass and drums. “Nocturne,” a solo instrumental, showcases Sean’s classical piano style which he confesses became something of a “beautiful obsession” during lockdown.’   

The sumptuously arranged “Nowhere To Hide,” featuring Mark’s fluid keys and Buckley’s clever fills and piercing solos, was also written at the height of the Covid pandemic. “Be My Love In The Rain” is taken from a line in the Robert Frost poem Storm Song. Poetry has always been a huge influence on Sean’s work and this song combines his guitar virtuosity with delicate piano accompaniment. Hallman hits the groove perfectly with his gentle, flowing, rhythmic accompaniment.  

The uptempo “Let Kindness Be Your Guide,” a song about friendship and the belief that goodness always prevails, is underpinned by Mark’s superb pedal steel guitar backing. Taylor is the ultimate road warrior and when he is not traveling to gigs across the world he is promoting peace and fighting social and political injustices. “Back On The Road” celebrates this nomadic lifestyle which is his heart and soul as he pursues his passion for low down dirty blues and rock and roll.   “Stay With Me” is a ballad for ‘the wild of the night’ where poetry takes flight on another nostalgic journey. The album closes with ”The Heart Of The Ocean,” a love song to the sea which took Sean fifteen years to write. It starts with graceful filigree piano keys and ends with an epic keyboard finale where “Sea and sky are one.”

Sean Taylor is one of the UK’s most influential musicians of his generation and as close as we get to a Leonard Cohen or Bob Dylan. Taylor tackles contemporary issues with honesty and integrity, including climate change, austerity, racial inequalities, the refugee crisis and disasters of Grenfell proportions. Above all, Sean offers hope in the pursuit of truth, harmony and love through this collection of songs which pierce the core of humanity whilst evoking a response from the listener. 

The album was recorded in London and in Austin, Texas, with producer and multi-instrumentalist Mark Hallman. Video courtesy of Little Rabbit Barn with Mike Seal on double bass.

Sean will be back on the road February-May 2022 to promote The Beat Goes On.

 

The Heart Of The Ocean 

Spirits of the dead


Are buried in the ocean


We feel their sacred warmth 

Laced inside the notion


That all that goes


Returns again someday

In the heart of the ocean 

Love never dies


It lights the highest star 

Over the darkest night

The waves are lit


With the moon’s loving eyes 

You are with me tonight


In the heart of the ocean 

Gentle evening tides 

Twilight along the shore 

The coastline sparkles 

Our love is reborn 

The sound of the waves 

The warmth of your soul

In the heart of the ocean 

 

As days turn to years


Time marches on


I can still hear your voice


I can still see your face


The moon pulls the strings of the tide 

Just like your heart on to mine

In the heart of the ocean 

Sea and sky are one


In the heart of the ocean 

 

Sean Taylor Songs

 

*Feature image credit: Nick Barber

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