Reviews

  • The Live Album Review

    by Hannah Bufton

    06th January 2012

    Having seen Jane at The Great British Folk Festival we sat at home eagerly awaiting the arrival of her new Live Album. On it's arrival it went straight onto ITunes and was played around the house on full volume. Wow, what a voice, so clear, so powerful yet full of feeling. We love Rob on percussion and Robin on the double bass but wow, what can we say about Lizz on the Violin  except what a remarkable talent she has.At the end of the first song our Son, home from Uni even said, 'That was a great song Mum, who was that?' Praise indeed from the youth of today as well as the more mature adults.
    It's a great album, with something for everyone!!

    Can't wait till we can see her again and buy Compass!!

  • The Great British Folk Festival

    by Neil King - FATEA

    24th December 2011

     

    The Great British Folk Festival 
    Skegness

    December 4th 2011

    The first act of the evening was a choice between Jacqui McShee's Pentangle and Bristolian singer/songwriter, Jane Taylor. Jane Taylor is a genuine phenomenon as a singer/songwriter, not only for her immense song writing talent, but also because she has really come to symbolise what can be achieved is an artist also has the ability to push themselves, not a route suitable for everyone, but for Jane it's definitely paid dividends. I've see Jacqui McShee's Pentangle before and to be honest I'm not in that frame of mind.

    Jane Taylor, financed her first album from her fan base before that became a common thing to do. To get gigs and radio appearances, she sent off cds and asked, I'd like to know how she phrased her letters/emails because it really brought in some great gigs and radio.

    There's issues with the sound check that are long enough to get people murmuring, consequently when Jane comes on she's got to work that little bit harder to get the show going. The early part of her set feels a bit flat because of it, then you feel the audience engage and from there it picked up.

    Jane draws predominantly on songs from, "Compass" and her new live album, which gets the on stage plugs, but there's still time for a number of the best songs from the preceding album, "Montpelier".

    Jane is supported by what appears to be an incredible band of musicians. It's a set with great depth and top draw playing. It's easy to see why she's made the breakthroughs that she has. I really enjoyed the performance and hope to see a lot more from her in the future. She gives her new single, "Oh December" a plug and then it's over, well except for the long queue at the merch desk.

     

  • The Bristol Winter Concert

    by Miss BLT

    24th December 2011

     

    John Wesley's Chapel
    December 3rd 2011

    I wanted to write about the awesomeness of this evening whilst it was still fresh in my mind, hoping that would help me put into words how magical it was. But still, I find words sorely lacking.

    This evening I went to the wonderful Jane Taylor  & Friends Winter Concert at John Wesley's Chapel in town. 

    Jane Taylor is one of my favourite artists. As a songwriter, she - seemingly effortlessly- emotionally engages the listener, and I'm always taken on a journey.  Having seen her and her band perform several times, I was really excited about this concert. We were promised special guests, new music, mulled wine and just general festive loveliness.  

    We weren't disappointed.

    Jane treated us to no less than three "support" acts. All of which were just astounding.  I had heard Original Sing when they joined Jane at a previous show - they are an astonishing acapella band, who have a greatly diverse range of songs. I love the blend of voices, and their version of Right Said Fred's Deeply Dippy is a firm favourite!


    They were followed by one to watch out for - Daisy Chapman who did 2 songs. She told us how Jane had asked for wintery or Christmas songs, and that she only had one of those. The other song was all about gin.  I loved her.


    Next were glowglobes ,a husband and wife band who just put a huge smile on my face. They so obviously just lived and loved music. I'll be keeping my eyes out and ears open for them too.


    After a short break to refuel on mulled wine and scoff the lovey (and free!) homemade cakes, it was time for Jane Taylor and her band to take to the spotlight.


    I mentioned that Jane Taylor is emotionally engaging. This was proven by the fact that I found myself in tears at the first song. Something that repeated itself at several points during the evening.    Jane mixed together a wonderful recipe of songs tonight.  From the title track from her second album "Compass", to the roof-raising "Trouble", each song was a delicious treat.   With a festive reading, plus songs from a Christmas musical she is writing for next year, it was just a joy to be there.  Her band are fantastically talented, and are another reason why I always love a Jane Taylor gig. She was joined by Rob Bray on percussion, Robin Davies on Bass (he also conducted the band on a beautiful piece he had written), Liz Lipscombe on violin and Kate Robey on Cello ( there's something about a cello that just makes me go all oooooh!). There was also a brass section and that really added to the festive feel and gave an extra dimension to the songs.


    One of the highlights for me was when Jane was joined by Daisy Chapman (and, towards the end of the song, Original Sing)  to perform "Winter Song".   This was originally recorded by Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson , and became a firm favourite of mine when I first heard it last year.  This was another one I cried at!

    It was a such a special evening. Jane Taylor is gert lush.


    She currently has a Christmas single out called Oh December. I love it. Go and download it from iTunes now!

  • Compass and Montpelier Review

    by Giacomo Squintani

    30th September 2011

    Sometimes... just sometimes... you stumble onto something wonderful all by yourself. And you have nobody else to acknowledge.
    ‘Twas thus with the music of the delightful Jane Taylor. Back when I was young, single and could drive, I was some what hungrier for gigs than I am now. I had a look around at what was going on in Bristol and came across a JT concert. Went along with Rob Iles , with no real expectations, and was blown away.

    Was it the sparkling voice? Was it the gentle, polite melodies that ease their way into your heart, guitar and heart strings merging into a single harmony? Was it the smart, witty lyrics through which Jane portrayed everyday life in the foreground and emotional whirlwinds and open questions in the background? Or was it just the fact that she got ‘café’ to rhyme with ‘latte’ (something I think she is still proud of)? Maybe it the actual performance, which felt like a gathering of friends, like-minded spirits facilitated by everybody’s best mate – you’d never met the person next to you, but you knew they just ‘got it’ the way you did?

    I don’t know, guys. I just know Rob and I went to see her several more times before this album actually came out. We both learned ‘Blowing This Candle Out’ and ‘My Street’ long before they saw the light of day on this record. And what a glorious record it is. I still struggle to call the Bristol area home, yet the album title truthfully underlines a subtle yet undeniable link to the city (as opposed to France, in case it confuses you). Not necessarily its boisterous waterfront, but certainly some of its side alleys where you can find quirky cafés and (albeit increasingly less so) real record stores. Well, Montpelier, indeed. Both for imagination and modus operandi, I can’t help but feeling that Jane and Bristol are to folky-music what J.K. Rowling is to 'childrens-but-also-adults-read-it-too-
    literature. Shame about the bank balance, I guess.
    These days I’m not quite as free, but I still made it to the launch of her follow-up album, “Compass” – and a glorious night at St. George’s, with an astounding variety of musicians and sounds.

    Of the ten albums that I will eventually have listed here, I think I can safely say this is the one that has sold the fewest copies. If you only buy one album because of my warbling, make it this one. You won’t regret it. Jane's voice will welcome you into her world with the same smile and wide-open arms that greeted me the first time I saw her. It's not all hunky-dory in or on 'Montpelier' - but there is still a quiet, endearing optimism. How else does a solo singer go about making a living out of music these days?

  • Jane Taylor at St George's

    by Ben Welch, Venue Magazine

    18th June 2010

    Live Review Jane Taylor

    St. George’s, Bristol, Thurs 10 June 2010

     But the night belongs to Jane Taylor, in every sense. Her songs bear the mark of real craftsmanship: every one feels sturdily and patiently constructed. Form almost seems second to function, as if every note plucked and word sung has been selected with a real intent, and therein lies the beauty – there is richness but no superfluity, complexity but no indulgence, emotion but no melodrama. The majority of tonight’s set is lifted from her recent long-player Compass, and from swooping, melancholic ballads like its title-track to the spirited bossa nova pop of ‘Cracks’, every track is received rapturously. Musicians take to and leave the stage with a frequency that suggests she’s not short of talented friends, but the supporting cast never detracts from the night’s undoubted star. Before the encore she is joined by a choir for the gospel tinged ‘I Will Get There’, which proves as grand a spectacle as it is a sound, the swell of voices inhabiting every nook of the hall and providing a rousing climax to the night. On the strength of tonight’s showing, Jane Taylor is already there. (Ben Welch)

     

  • Jane Taylor at Ronnie Scotts

    by Jonathan Dodds

    29th September 2006

    Ronnie Scott's

    Colin Vearncombe
    Support: Jont, Jane Taylor + A Girl Called Bob
    Ronnie Scott's, London Sunday May 12th 2003
    Get Rhythm - Jonathan Dodds


    Taking to the stage with nothing more than an acoustic guitar for protection, Jane immediately had the crowd on side. A straightforward set of just six songs lovingly crafted and played to perfection. The lavishly descriptive narrative of the characters that make up "My Street" paints a marvellous picture of urban bohemia - you can almost smell the coffee. "Fall On Me" takes us on a moving journey of a past love, which tugs at the heartstrings with greater strength than any marksman's bow. You find yourself getting swept along and thinking to yourself "God, if only she'd told him." Lisa Loeb and Jewel would give limbs to compose lyrics like these. In fact "Fall On Me" is so close to "She's Falling Apart" from the new Loeb album "Cake and Pie" it's scary.

    With an angelic voice and a twinkle in her eye she has us in the palm of her hand as she plays to stunned silence from an audience enthralled by her moving lyrics...simply outstanding talent.

  • Amazon Review

    by Kate Stuart

    05th June 2006

    *****We all think that her songs are about us…!*****


    Jane Taylor writes the perfect song.

    I say this not from a lyrical or phonetically correct standpoint, but simply from the point that she achieves what all artists strive for. Audience connection. It’s pretty much instant. She plays a song and every single member of the audience thinks she wrote it just for them. And when you look at the faces around you, you know they are thinking what you are thinking and I think that must be the ultimate buzz for Jane, to look out over her audience and see that. Pretty impressive, I say!

    I saw Jane Taylor play live for the first time in a very popular Arts Centre in Newcastle called The Cluny. It’s a regular haunt of artists and musicians and generally pretty talented people, but I have to say it was the first time a whole set (and not just one song out of a set) really moved me. She took to the stage with her guitar, a mic stand and her cellist, a lady called Beth Porter and they were just fantastic. I’d heard the album before - in fact I had bought it the week before the gig, so I knew the songs but boy oh boy I wasn’t ready to hear them live. They were truly amazing. I was, quite literally, blown away.

    The album is beautiful, an easy combination of slow, guitary, soft stuff, mixed up with some funky, jazzy, bright and busy stuff. With the skill of a kook spiritualist, Jane crafts verses and choruses that somehow reflect the things that are going on in your life, from falling in love to the ache of loss and the joy of just generally living. When I heard “Blowing this candle out” for the first time I bawled my eyes out – it was just so beautiful and so true of my life at that time.

  • Jane Taylor

    by Music Week

    03rd March 2006

    When Johnnie Walker played one of Taylor's songs on his show recently the effect was immediate; e mails flooded in wanting more information on this bittersweet singer-songwriter. This album proves without a doubt that thsi determinedly independent artist should eclipse her more manufactured competitors. The album was funded by fans who pre-bought her album: it was a wise investment. Beautiful.

  • Gig Wise

    by Theo Berry

    29th September 2005

    Gigwise.com

    Saturday 25th March 2005 Jane Taylor @ Invention Arts Centre, Bath

    Bristol's Jane Taylor and her band are on form, rich in mood, timbre and tone, stealthily filling the Invention Arts Centre's spectacular setting. Varied arrangements test her talents and the five strong backing band’s skills.
    On the essentially folk-pop ‘Let it go’, the guitars and drums establish an almost funkian groove, while the bowed double-bass drone is countered by top end keys to muster a mix of moods. Abandoning her guitar on the piano and cello accompanied ‘16 points’, Jane is a balletic Tori Amos: the melody bearing a passing resemblance to ‘Silent All These Years’.
    Chef’ is darkest, barest jazz as the plucked double bass locks on to her voice and, in synch, they swing like lovers on a dance floor. Well they would do if the lyrics weren’t as sinister as a Kubrick film. Her songs shift between uplifting, sentimental pop, quirky folk, sweeping epics and keening melancholies. There's a grandstand finish in the self-critical and reflective ‘Perfect’, and the crowd call for an encore. 
    - Theo Berry

  • Making Montpelier

    by Venue Magazine

    29th April 2004

    Venue Magazine
    January 2006

    It’s been nearly three years since we caught up with Jane Taylor. She’d just stepped up from the open mic circuit onto the paying one, and was already garnering great notices for intimate, confessional lyrics, innate melodicism and a voice that could move from breathy to tornado-force in a bar. Since then she’s toured to all corners of the UK, been twice round the Irish Republic, the same in Germany (playing to crowds of two thousand), won an international song writing competition, and featured on the Dawson’s Creek soundtrack. Most importantly, we suspect, to many a reader – given that she sells out gigs far more frequently than most – her debut album is, finally, ready for the launching. So let us take a moment to give thanks for that most unlikely of musical influences: teletext.

    “I do remember, very early on, recording the music from Ceefax after the late-night programmes,” says Taylor by way of explanation. “In the morning I’d wake up, press play on the video recorder, and sit there and write words to this tune. That’s how desperate I was to write a song! Any opportunity I had to write something, I would take.”

    Not that those early musical cravings led to an instant voyage into the aforesaid open mic land. First there was a period of “being lost for ten years or so trying to get out into the world and do something sensible. It’s about finding out who you are, and that the thing that you’ve always done is the thing that you should carry on doing. But if it’s always been with you since you were very little, you don’t recognise it as a career, you just take it for granted – it’s part of you. So it was weird to finally announce to myself: ‘I’m a songwriter’. Basically, I came from my bedroom with a guitar, out into the world and tried to find out what it was all about.”

    Exactly what it could potentially all be about began to come clear a couple of years back. Taylor was playing London’s Kashmir Klub with KT Tunstall, and “after the gig a gentleman wearing a long, thick grey coat came and shook my hand, gave me his card and said ‘Call me.’  His name turned out to be Johnny Stirling, once director of Warner International Publishing.” Advising her to skip immediately approaching a label and instead develop her own sound free of interference, Stirling became a background mentor.

     “Finally I got the money together to do an album and then he was interested in getting involved – I think he wanted to see how far I was prepared to invest and, after being as successful as he’s been, to check that he was working with someone on the same level. He asked what I needed, and I told him ‘A piano, a big room to record in, and a producer’. He went off and found Bill Lovelady, a composer for orchestras and who had a number one hit in Norway for about 50 years, and he had the idea to record in the barn last November.”  Which, all things considered, was quite the experience. “It was really cold, quite stony, and filled with haystacks.” Still, the roomy acoustics were perfect and, accompanied by her rather fine band, she set to work. “We put a carpet in there, a futon, and there was a gallery opposite where we did our cooking. It was like sitting in a fridge, so we’d have to stop every so often to warm our fingers on the radiators. And there were cockerels, loads of planes going overhead, and a squeaky wheelbarrow. The people on the farm used to creep around us - occasionally you’d hear them talking outside, and we’d have to stop, and they’d whisper ‘sorry, sorry’. It was a proper farmyard environment.”

    The result was ‘Montpelier’, the new album. Of the song writing process that lays behind it, she says: “Very often you write something and think, after it’s written, it’s not my song anymore. I don’t know where it comes from, but it’s not conscious - if you start to analyse and question where it comes from it becomes too contrived. But if you don’t know too much about jazz, or blues, or whatever, you can play in that style without being concerned about whether you’re doing it justice. There’s a wealth of history, people who have done amazing things, but if you’re not overly aware of them you can stop worrying about it and let the music in enough to do your own thing with it.

    “It’s been tough not having any cash, but I just think of all those wonderful artists in the past who survived on absolutely nothing. When you’re promoting yourself, writing and playing something quite personal, you’re putting a lot out there and getting very little back. You have your moments of feeling glory and loving what you’re doing, but they are just moments, and a lot of the time it’s just graft, graft, graft. You just have to tell yourself, ‘I’m gonna get there, I’m gonna get there’.”

     

  • Jane Taylor Steps onto the Bristol Scene

    by Julian Owen, Venue Magazine

    02nd September 2003

    Venue Magazine
    January 2003


    Cases determining success or failure may always be held in the court of doddery old Judge Subjective, but in the one concerning Jane Taylor you’d be hard pushed not to find twelve folks good and true all vehemently pushing for a ruling in the former. Course, given that she’s only a year into her solo career the suit remains sub judice (which means, rather thrillingly, that you shouldn’t even be reading this, you naughty people), but consider the evidence accrued to date.
    January 2002: plays first solo gig at Bristol Bohemia’s Acoustix Club. December 2002: a dodgily obtained search warrant uncovers a diary with such entries as ‘Play Ronnie Scott’s in London’, ‘Hook up with Colin’ [Vearncombe, aka 'Black', of wonderful ‘Wonderful Life' fame, whom she met at aforementioned gig], and ‘Write thank you letter to Worthy Farm for inclusion on next year’s Glastonbury bill’. Add in ‘Release debut EP’ [‘Barefoot’, featuring contributions from such luminaries as Massive Attack sessioneer Angelo Bruschini] and we assume you’ll be getting the general idea.

    None of which will come as a surprise to any who have witnessed a Jane Taylor gig. A singer-songwriter able to place a single tick in the boxes marked ‘fine lyricist’, ‘emotive singer’ or ‘inspired melodicist’ is always worth catching; one who can mark all three is damn near unmissable: boho-delusionist put-downs such as ‘Thinks he’s Sartre, but he can’t write a birthday card’, a voice that defines ‘breathy confessional’ and sublime arrangements that bore into your consciousness like a busking tape worm will do that for you.

    In light of this, the following question may perhaps be on the blatant side of obvious, but it needs asking nevertheless: Why music, Jane? “Because everything I’ve ever tried to do, work-wise, I always felt like I was pretending,” she explains. “And I didn’t quite appreciate that the thing I was supposed to be doing was the thing I was doing anyway, which was playing the guitar – always in my room. Trying to fit in in the real world and having a nine-to-five job in an office, thinking ‘I’ve got to get a career together’, I kind of lost myself a bit. Later I found that the thing I felt happiest with, and that was healing me most of all, was music. Ever since I was a very young girl I’d write a song because something happened to me, and it was my only way of expressing how I felt.”
    But does that not leave you feeling vulnerable on stage? “When I first stepped away from just doing it in the bedroom I was frightened to death, and thought ‘people don’t want to hear these songs, they’re sad’. Now, though, when I write a song it’s a way of letting it go – once it’s written and it’s out there, it’s gone, and I no longer own it.”
    Having cut her performing teeth in folk duo Amber (with Chris Pritchett, introduced via mutual appreciation following a Folk House open mic night: “We had a real chemistry - it taught me how to work with another musician”), Jane’s pursuance of a solo career has been nothing if not single-minded. Those high profile sessioneer recordings weren’t pursued, for example, because “I felt that I was relying on other people to make things happen for me. I learnt a) that I didn’t have the experience to know exactly the sound I was after and b) in trying to make a radio-friendly hit, creativity and honesty were taking a back seat.”

    And then there’s the instrumentation. “Every band seems to be based around a guitar, bass, drums and maybe a keyboard, and it’s been done to death,” says Jane. “We’ve forgotten about those other instruments that are out there and just beautiful.” Hence recent rehearsals utilising such old fangled things as cello, accordion, flute and oboe, played by a mixture of friends and would-love-to-work-with-you fans. “I think working with them will make the live sets more rich and interesting, and it’ll mean that they’re really together and on it when it comes to recording my album [due out later this year].

    “I wasn’t sure where I’d be by this time, but as things have gone on my backbone has got stronger and the more I begin to expect. I’ve deliberately stayed out of the game of approaching record companies, figuring that when the time is right they’ll approach me, and I’ll be able to have much more power in deciding what kind of deal I get. Now I can say that in a year’s time I want to have an album out there in the shops, I want a distribution deal, I want a publishing deal and to be earning some money.”

    Any further questions, m’luds?