Not many 23 year-old artist’s first releases feature a Grammy-nominated songwriter and support from Billy Joel’s rhythm section in the studio. Then again, not many young artists are Austin, Texas-based singer-songwriter Taylor Casey. Taylor can write balmy Americana brimming with old soul wisdom, and also write the savvy marketing plan to ensure his heartfelt work garners proper exposure. Now, Taylor Casey issues his masterful and eclectic debut self-titled EP to be released April 28th.
The singer-songwriter’s reflective, literate lyrics and uplifting Americana recalls a wide spectrum of artists such as The Lumineers, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, Jake Bugg, and Houndmouth, Bob Dylan, Jim Croce, and James Taylor. Taylor wrote, co-wrote, and co-produced his debut EP. Alongside his musicality are his admirable, shrewd, and hardworking business practices. Taylor remains self-funded and independent, and recently set up his own record company, called Sherpa Records LLC.
Taylor’s self-titled debut traverses folk, rock, and Americana. The tracks are tastefully adorned with touches of strings, harmonica, horns, accordion, and elegantly played electric and acoustic guitar. “I try to weave between genres and keep things interesting. I wrote each song to be able to stand alone as a single,” Taylor explains. The unflinchingly optimistic “Heaven Knows” recalls the jaunty redemptive moments of The Band. “Holy Water” conjures pure 1960s lysergic bliss. “The Ballad of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde” beautifully tucks in profound metaphor inside euphoric pop-rock. And the debut collection is rounded out by the honky tonk folk-rock of “If I Die Tomorrow”
Up until last year, the Santa Barbara, CA local passed his time as something of a hobbyist musician, strumming a guitar or a ukulele to pass the time between surfing, earning a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Pepperdine University, and stints living in Santa Barbara, Malibu, Buenos Aires, Argentina, and San Sebastián, Spain. In 2014, he found himself living in New York City’s historic folk epicenter, Greenwich Village matriculating at The Juilliard School as the first student in a new pilot artist development program. In addition, he soon found himself at NYU studying songwriting with Grammy-nominated songwriter Larry Dvoskin, a Greenwich Village fixture.
At NYU, his professor Larry Dvoskin was impressed with Taylor’s innate songwriting abilities and offered to produce and write with Taylor. Their budding working relationship fostered a time of discovery for both the newbie songwriter and the seasoned vet. One highlight from those initial sessions is the bucolic Simon & Garfunkel-flavored “Kindness Of Others.” The origins of this track date back 30 years, well before Taylor was even born. Larry initially wrote it with a very dear songwriting partner who has since passed away, but he entrusted the young songwriter to finish the very personal tune.
The instruments in the EP were tracked live to tape at Excello Recording in Brooklyn, NY, and, in addition to Taylor on guitars, vocals, and harmonica, features ace musician such as Chuck Burgi of the Billy Joel Band on drums, Andy Cichon, of the Billy Joel band on bass, owner of Excello Recording in Brooklyn and recent NYC inductee Hugh Pool on guitar, and Larry Dvoskin on organ and piano. As an intriguing aside, Taylor tracked his vocals in his tiny railroad style apartment on Jones Street in the West Village, where the iconic album cover for The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan was taken. Featured throughout the EP on backup vocals are some of Taylor’s closest friends from California. The album was mixed by Eber Pinheiro at Atlantic Studios Brooklyn, mastered by Fred Kevorkian at Avatar Studios, and produced by Larry Dvoskin for Miracle Music Inc. Taylor is also credited as a co-producer.