Sign up for newsletter

Melvern Taylor

The Spider And The Barfly – 2001 (Broken White)

Reviewed by Michael Berick

Subscribe to Country CD Reviews CD Reviews

CDs by Melvern Taylor

On the cover of his new album, Melvern Taylor sits in bar with a beer on the table and a cigarette in his hand. This image perfectly reflects his smoke-filled songs, which frequent "the old watering hole" where barflies are "drowning sorrows no one could recall/warming every bar stool." His lyrics reveal a bleary-eyed romanticism fueled by lost love obsession and alcohol-addled resignation, perhaps best summarized in "The Worthen House" when he sings: "we'll reminisce about the things we've lost and we'll drink a toast to the lingering ghosts."

Taylor's gift for melody and thoughtfully conceived arrangements keeps his songs from succumbing to melancholy. Utilizing instruments like a plucky banjo or a plinking piano, Taylor (also the producer) enlivens the standard saloon singer/songwriter style. Demonstrating an affinity for '60's & '70's pop, he dresses up "Forget About Me" with a retro organ line and "ooh-la-la" backing vocals and injects "Sunny California" with a "Crystal Blue Persuasion" vibe. The irrepressibly catchy "Worn Out Shoes" brings together his sense for heartache and hooks in a terrific two-minute slice of AM pop. Taylor's sophomore effort finds him fast becoming an accomplished troubadour for the beer and bruised heart crowd. (Broken White Records)