home listen reviews a-z
Eric Taylor at Kerrvile


One of the front runners for song-poet laureate of Texas. And that’s a fertile field.

His number isn’t posted anywhere as one you should call for a good time. There aren’t any good time numbers on this record, but there are many good numbers. Like his playing and his singing, the songwriting of Eric Taylor is very deep and very precise. He’s the only songwriter besides David Olney you hear the adjective ‘Faulknerian’ applied to, for instance. Like Olney, he’s old school, in a good way. But he hails from Texas, and that’s a different animal. Wasn’t born there, but he’s been there since running out of money on the way to California landed him in Houston in the '70s.

Many, like Lyle Lovett and former wife Nanci Griffith, revere the artist with words of the highest praise. In song, he is a narrative expert, and several of those on this record bear special mention. "Big Love" tells the story and perhaps the last moments of a fellow named James Willis Hardin, weight 459. With the grace and timing of a novelist or short story writer, Taylor draws the listener in to the flower shop, the house of the mother he lives with, and into the broken heart and mind of "Big Love" as his mother calls him. The other story that really knocked me out was "Bonnie and Avery," about a dance hall girl (the ten cents a dance kind) and a player in a coronet band who have a bar they close at midnight every night in their later years.

All except when Panama left them childless
Time’s been pretty good

The author’s not out to please anybody but himself, and the songs and the renditions bear that integrity out. He’s one of the few songwriters playing his own resonator and electric tracks behind his acoustic work, and it’s real good. Apart from that, there are some background vocals, some percussion, saxes on one song, and bass on one of two covers, a song by Peg Leg Sam. (The other cover is a Townes Van Zandt medley, near as I can tell.)

If you like a serious song that’s played like it might be his last, Eric Taylor is your man. One of the greats.  • FG

Eric Taylor listen to clips
return to covers
buy The Great Divide here
eric taylor online
look into tony gallucci
puremusic home