Jonny Taylor - 'Something To Say'
Jonny Taylor is a truly remarkable man and his new country album ‘Something to Say’ which was released on June 1st, is a wonderful example of good old fashioned song writing and believing in something. It’s an album filled with messages of inspiration and hope and drawing on experiences that Jonny himself has had, and the experiences of those around him. The story behind even just this album is one of determination and working hard for something. This album was mainly funded by fans, friends and family who believe in Jonny and what he does, and it’s absolutely wonderful to be able to see that dream come to fruition. What I love most about Jonny as a performer is that whether he is live, or on record, he always sounds good, and that’s quite rare in a performer. He’s certainly very talented. All tracks except ‘Young Man’ were produced by Matt Fell at Love Hz Studio, and it’s mastered by Tony ‘Jack The Bear’ Mantz at Jack The Bear Mastering.
Now- “turn this up loud and let the songs take you to the place that they came from….” –Jonny Taylor
The opening track ‘Long Way Forward’ is about a young lady who had a bit of a rough life and upbringing, but tells the story of moving onwards and not ever looking backwards. It’s a really nice track, driven by some beautiful clean sounding guitars and the lilting vocals of Jonny dominating, as they should. I love the bridge; it breaks everything down to a very simple amount of instruments and then brings it all back in, to great effect. As usual, Jonnys’ vocals are spot on.
‘Young Man’ is a track about one of Jonny’s friends who is struggling with alcohol addiction, which I think is something almost all of us can relate to. This song was produced by Al Smith and Jonny Taylor at Bergerk! Studio in WA. This song is a really beautiful piece of song writing, and the guitar solo in the later half of the song is absolutely smashing, a really great sounding piece. The violin on this track adds an extra bit of depth, is very well placed and was played by the talented Ashley Arbuckle.
‘Suffering in Silence’ is about a 14 year old girl Taylor met last year who has cerebral palsy but despite all hardships is a wonderful, strong individual. This song is about all of those people with secrets and hardships in their life which they deal with on their own, so as not to bring others down around them. The drum track is really great on this track; Trent Matheson has done a fantastic job. We also get to hear the upper range of Jonny Taylors’ vocals in this track, and of course, he nails it. One of my favourite tracks on the album.
‘You’ll Never Break Me’ is a very inspiring story of a lady who got into an abusive relationship with a younger man, who eventually tried to kill her. Believing he had succeeded, he killed himself. Rosann survived, has gone on to get her life back on track and is now working as hard as she can to tell her story and help others. What I like about this song is while the music sounds really happy and upbeat some of the lyrics are a little dark, this comparison really portrays how Rosann must have been feeling, it’s a super thin line to tread when you’re in these situations. The chorus is the main hook of the song and is all about redeeming yourself and beginning again, and I love the guitar part for it and the way it sits perfectly with the complementing piano.
Jonny lost two grandparents from each side of the family in twelve months, and ‘Hands of the Clock’ is about realising that you need to make time for those who you love. The piano on this track is absolutely beautiful, and is played by Phil Watts. I think the bit of this track I love the most is the vocal track. It utilises Jonnys entire vocal range and the melody is simple, and haunting. The lyrics ring much too true, I think we can all relate all too well. If you’ll excuse me, there are a few people I need to go call…..
The next track on the album is called ‘Brighter Than You Feel’ and is the story of someone who has secretly been living with depression, but sought help and now has a brand new lease on life. Immediately as the track opens the guitar part hooks you in. The guitar is so important in this style of music and Jonny really does nail those parts, which is good, because there’d be an issue if he wasn’t! The percussion is super minimal and it really feels as though the piano acts like the glue that holds the song together which is really unique and works really well. I started to notice the keys more and more as the track went on, I really liked it.
‘My Dad’ is fairly self explanatory- it’s about how children get that tone of pride in their voice when they talk about their dads, how they are super special to us. This track is relatively slow and the vocals are very powerful especially in the chorus. One of the best bits about this track is the violin, played on this track by Eamon McLoughlin, it complements the main melody so well and sounds absolutely wonderful, there’s a tiny bit where the guitar and the violin match up exactly to play together and I just sat there listening to that over and over. Such a great track.
Teen suicide is becoming more and more common, usually due to bullying and it’s absolutely heartbreaking, and shouldn’t happen, it’s so preventable! ‘Nothing Wrong With How You Are’ is a message to young people that there is light at the end of the tunnel. The electric guitar isn’t in the forefront of this track but I really dig the sound and the placement in the mix. I love the second half of the song, the bridge onwards is just really good song writing, and I want to note the drums again- I thought it was a really cool part, and I loved the finish at the end.
‘Stars On His Shoulder’ was written for the stepdad of one of my oldest friends by Jonny Taylor. It’s about his service to our country in the Navy and how the post traumatic stress understandably still affects him today. The track is incredibly simplistic in its parts which is absolutely perfect. Now I thought we’d heard the upper range of Taylor’s vocals, but I was wrong, NOW we have. It’s a really beautiful track and I’m glad he wrote it- I had no idea the things our friend had gone through and it’s a heart wrenching track.
‘Slave to The Road’ is all about the feeling of being free when you’re out on the road on tour. It starts simple and quickly brings in all the instruments to the super catchy chorus before dropping back to simplicity. I love the juxtaposition of textures, if you will. THAT ELECTRIC GUITAR!!!! It’s absolutely smoking!! I’m a sucker for a good electric part, so I’m sold on this track. I also love the almost ‘vocal scatting’ in the second part of the song. Oh, and for those wondering, this is how you do vocal double tracking. Like this. Wonderful!!!
‘Never Look Back’ is a song about cutting out negativity and becoming the person Jonny wanted to be. It’s a great track that resonates deep within your psyche and fills that little spot in your soul you didn’t even know was empty. It’s filled with chunky grungy guitar and some cool panning on a few guitar parts and a massive drum sound. I adore the very last chorus, and I was very happy when this was one of the first releases previewing ‘Something To Say’. It’s one of the best tracks on the album and features banjo by Matt Fell. Make sure you check out the sweet video clip too:
‘Home Could be Anywhere Tonight’ is the story of Jonny and his lovely wife Nicole spending close to 11 months at no fixed address due to touring and almost never being home. It’s a cute little simplistic track that as an almost shuffling feel? I don’t know if that makes sense to anyone else but I thought it was a really nice tribute to Jonny’s wonderful wife.
‘I Won’t Be Far Behind’ is about Jonny’s grandfather, who cared for his wife for 6 years until she unfortunately died, and is a beautiful tribute to a man who sounds like a lovely husband, father and grandpa. The keys on this track have an organ type sound to them which is pretty unique to the album and makes for a good variety. The extra guitars on this track were played by Matt Fell and adds an extra layer to a really slow, poignant song.
Jonny leaves us with ‘You And I’ and is about Jonny and Nicole together being able to achieve anything they set their minds to when they are together. The guitar panning in this track is very effective and I loved the drum sound. (Those TOMS!!) Again, Jonny is wonderful at vocal double tracking, and vocals in general and the entire track really is a great way to wrap up a fantastic album. It’s uplifting and encompasses the feel of the entire album beautifully.
I absolutely loved this album; I think it’s great how it’s filled with topics that can sometimes be hard to talk about, things that affect normal people. It’s not superficial or fake; it’s just songs written by a normal guy, for normal people. Really refreshing in this day and age, when fame and greed can sometimes get in the way of what’s important. Great to see someone bucking that stereotype. Onya Jonny! You can buy Jonnys album on iTunes, or you can order a hard copy from the man himself- find him on Facebook and follow the prompts. He’s incredibly Facebook literate and will keep you well posted on how to get a copy of ‘Something To Say’ as well as everything else. He’s even been known to hand deliver if you live near him! An all round nice guy. I love it. Let me know what you thought of the album? Leave a comment below or tweet me: @isolatednation and @perthsoundchic will keep you posted.
Thanks for supporting local music and artists guys, you’re all the best!