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The Graham Album Review #2191

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Taylor Nauta: Weather the Storm

(Independent release, as broadcast on WVIA-FM 3/20/2024)

The roots-rock Americana movement in music continues strongly on the scene these days, serving as a counterpoint to the heavily-produced, electronically based pop world. Veteran artists, and bands of different generations continue to be active, and relatively newer artists have been emerging all the time, in same cases playing music in styles that were initially popular well before they were born.

This week we have an artist who has been performing for over a decade and a half, but has recently emerged with a rather impressive new recording. It’s Taylor Nauta, whose new release, his second, is called Weather the Storm.

Taylor Nauta is from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and his music shows its Louisiana roots with blues, soul, root-rock, and also a fair amount of influence by the current country music scene. It’s a collection of worthwhile original songs with a tight backing band with the requisite instrumentation for genre, with Nauta’s electric guitar at the center, and a synthesizer-free band with Tillis Verdin on keyboards, Steve Grisaffe on bass, and Brian Brignac on drums, with occasional horns and some guest backing vocalists. The lyrics can run from a bit baudy to straight-out love songs for one’s spouse. Nauta also covers the classic folk song House of the Rising Sun. The production is crisp and no-nonsense, conveying the songs without sonic distractions.

Opening the generous 12-song 55-minute album is one of its most whimsical songs, Shrimp Boots, a strong blues-rocker set in Nauta’s home state. <<>>

One of the artistically stronger tracks is Two Timin’ which takes a driving roots rock approach to the age old subject of countless blues songs, infidelity. <<>>

Give It to Me provides a rather different direction to a love song, in effect writing from the perspective of someone who is likely to be a two-timer. It’s in a style evocative of Memphis soul. <<>>

Nauta has written songs for country artists, and there are a couple of this album that could slot into the current country scene. One of them is called Sure Thing, and though it has a few cliches, it’s well done. <<>>

Another of the stronger tracks is Magic Love a love song in a classy rock context. <<>>

Also in the country-influenced mode is a tune with a clever lyrical premise, I Wouldn’t Wish Me on You. There is a co-lead vocal which puts it more into commercial country pop territory. <<>>

Nauta explores a subject I have not heard addressed in song. Many songwriters have written about being on the road. Nauta writes about the challenges of being the spouse of an itinerant musician, on the song called Music Man’s Wife. <<>>

A track called The Big Easy is a great energetic blues and soul tune, but its lyrics are about experiencing a hard time in New Orleans. <<>>

The album ends with a fairly straight electric version of the traditional song House of the Rising Sun, which is also set in New Orleans. <<>>

Weather the Storm by Taylor Nauta is a solid roots-rock album that features all around good writing, especially lyrically for the genre, with tasteful musicianship, arrangements and production. Nauta’s vocals are a good match for the music, and in fact so much so, being exactly what you would expect, his voice does not really stand out. But it’s all quite well done.

Our grade for audio quality is a B-plus. There’s decent clarity and no unnecessary studio effects, but as is so often the case, the dynamic range is impaired by excessive volume compression.

It’s encouraging that with the commercial pop scene and its electronic and hip-hop-influences looming so large, that there are as many emerging roots rockers as there are. Taylor Nauta is an excellent example.

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This page last updated April 08, 2024