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Lynn Taylor & The Bar Flies

Staggered – 2018 ( Self-released)

Reviewed by Jim Hynes

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CDs by Lynn Taylor & The Bar Flies

East Nashville may be known as "the" Americana hotbed these days, but some of the talent there is very much verging on rock 'n roll. This is the case with Lynn Taylor & the BarFlies on their third release, a collection of personal tunes by the front man. Taylor wrote most of these tunes with his cohort, Larry O'Brien. It's a narrative of emotions surrounding grief, but there's a lively feel to the album which was immensely cathartic for Taylor. He says, "Writing and recording songs about love, loss and moving forward, are all part of the healing process. There's a dark side to the record, but there's also light and levity. You know - just like life."

Taylor lost his wife, Kim, to cancer last year and much of the album chronicles that difficult struggle. "If You're Gone" and "Crumble Away" deal with his loss directly while the title track, the single, "Rock, Paper, Scissors (With My Love)," and "Lean Into Me" find Taylor trying to move forward. Taylor has a distinctive raspy tenor voice, that's tough to pin down, but curiously memorable. Like Wayne Hancock, Taylor has just enough twang to move a dance hall, but his lyrics instead paint a deeply reflective mood.

In the hands of producer and engineer Dave Coleman (The Coal Men), the sound is sturdy, rollicking, and eminently soulful. Drawing from some very talented musicians that include Sergio Webb (guitar, Dobro), Peter Hawkins (bass), Reid Cummings (drums), Brady Beard (keys), Mary Mack (clarinet), and Coleman himself on guitar, archtop, pedal steel and percussion, the band is top shelf.

These kinds of songs are often the bane of the folk singer or a stripped-down Americana effort. Here the jangling guitars, the steady beat, and cool little splashes of pedal steel and clarinet, bring an added glow to what is essentially a concept album of perseverance, hope and just plain getting some feelings off the chest.