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*****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. Its 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. Its 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. Id 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 wasnt 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. Emotionally spot on. I know Im not the only person to say this out loud of Janes music Ive had lots of conversations with lots of people and they all feel exactly the same way.
*****So who is Jane Taylor?*****
Jane Taylor used to work in marketing, but even though shed been writing songs since she was little, she only decided to do it properly in 2002. Now Jane Taylor is A Proper Singer Songwriter With an Album! How she got where she is now is a lovely fairytale kind of story she walked into a studio in Bristol to record her very first record, and met Angelo Bruschini (he plays guitar for Massive Attack) and he liked her music so much he decided he wanted to play guitar for her on one of her songs. Im sure Jane didnt mind at all I know I wouldnt! The song he played on is called Blowing This Candle Out and as Ive said, it was the first song I ever heard of Janes, and its the song that made me a fan.
Her first EP was called Barefoot, and I bought it up like a hungry pup my disappointment that there were only 4 songs on it quickly superseded by the beauty and quality of the songs. Ill review Barefoot another time I think, as it deserves its own write-up!
Jane plays guitar like oh I dont even think theres a word for it she plays guitar like shes part of the guitar, or rather, like the guitar is part of her. She casts a spell with her music that you cant shake off afterwards, and her voice is pure and clear and always hits the note. She has such control in her singing that she can take a song from a quiet beginning to a heart stopping crescendo with seemingly no effort at all. Its pretty amazing to hear.
Montpelier is Janes debut album, and it is, along with John Egdells Your Big Day and Nev Clays Pearshaped one of the few albums I can listen to all the way through without stopping and skipping tracks and I can have on repeat for hours at a time.
Fall On Me (4:41)
This is the song that helped Jane reach the place shes at now she played it live on Johnnie Walkers Drive Time show on BBC Radio 2 in February to a great reception and it helped more people get an idea of how talented she is. Its a gorgeous song about that one person who you can lean on and who can lean on you, and about all the things you dont say because maybe you dont need to because maybe theyre already out there, flying like invisible thoughts round the people you love, already known and understood. I love it.
My Street (5:21)
This song sounds very French to me, maybe you will disagree but I can imagine it being inspired by French café bars and bustling French streets. Its about all the things that arent quite what they seem, and how we never really see things for what they are most of the time, generally when its ourselves that were looking at.
Hit The Ground (4:32)
Aaaaah. This is a great song. Its what I would call a happy-clappy song, faster than most of the other songs on the album, and about that lovely giggly part of falling in love when you suddenly realise that you are, actually completely, utterly, perfectly in love.
Feeling small, looking up you knelt down beside me, you understood. You and me, quietly connecting
When you hear it, youll know just what I mean.
16 Points (4:02)
This is slow, it is a piano led song, with Jane singing in almost a winter crispy morning kind of way. Each note is held like a icicle, sharp and crisp and clear. Faultless and breathy and clear like the star filled sky on a frosty night.
Lay down by my side, talk with me, bring your smile. Mercury in your eyes, blue and wide, like the sky, and I might dream, you might sleep, breathe again in time with me and hold me close .
Again, Jane has lyrics that speak quite competently for themselves
This song has a very bluesy/jazzy feel, with the cello and double bass featuring as the main instruments for most of the song. Funky, breathy singing and some great moves between high notes and low ones. Perfect!
This is a weird, crazed, deep song with an undertone of deep sadness, regret, pain. Its beautiful with long haunting cello building the fabric of the song, and Janes soulful voice like a ribbon of silk over the top.
Blowing the Candle Out (4:19)
What can I say about this song that I havent said already. Its perfect. Its absolutely perfect. About relationship break-ups and life and getting over the things that blow our way. Its about letting go and getting on, and living and loving and embracing it all. Its about not regretting what has been and what is left and whats to come. I cant fault its sentiment, and I cant fault the voice or the guitars or the whole sound. It blows me away every time I hear it, even now.
The guitar in this is so simple, so slow, so easy and fits just right with the lyrics of the song. Theres a piano in there, and a lot of high notes hit with sheer perfection. Lovely.
Feels Good (3:29)
I heard this song live, and Jane held a note for an inconceivable length of time its very bluesy.
I look at you with that special smile thats got me laughing like a child are you teasing me or is this real Im not sure how Im supposed to feel but it feels, oh it feels good!
Simple guitar backup that doesnt take anything away from the voice or the lyrics. Jane sings in such a way that you can hear every word, and maybe thats why she hits home every time, because you actually know what shes singing about.
This song is very sad, you can hear the pain and the sorrow right from the first note. Jane sings differently in this song, nothing I can put my finger on, but there is a different tone to this song that makes it stand apart from everything else on the album. It is not upbeat at all, but it carries itself with a grace and acceptance and something else, something almost tangible, but not quite.
Getting to Me (3:51)
Oh I love this one. I know, I know, I love them all, but this one is about falling in love, at that point where youre maybe still fighting it, where you cant quite concentrate, where you are just slowly slipping into it, before the big smiley rush of full-on amour.
But Im not to let myself get carried away and Im trying to anchor my feet to the day and Ive got to take care you dont blow me away, But I think that youre getting to me .
With only a guitar in the background and the occasional line of cello, this is not a song that is cluttered by too much background noise nothing detracts from the purity of feeling and the simple melody.
*****Where to buy Montpelier*****
You can buy direct from Janes website, details below, or from a gig if youre lucky enough to get to one.
Fall on Me is being given away free on the cover of The Wordmagazine (August edition)
Otherwise Montpelier is available at the following retail outlets:
HMV priced online at £8.99
Amazon priced online £8.99 or new and used from £5.90
WHSmith price online at £8.59
There is lots of info on Jane, her music, the lyrics etc on her website which is:
or you can visit her labels website:
or you can email Jane at:
All in all, its a fantastic first album from a very gifted individual and you really wont regret it if you decide to obtain a copy. I certainly didnt! I think its one of those albums that I will love as much in 30 years time as I do now, and it will probably mean different things to me then than it does now. Its an album I think will grow with me, and you know what? Theyre the best kind.
Thank you so much for reading. I will be posting this review on Dooyoo, Ciao, and Amazon and if it brings just one more person to the joy of this womans work Ill be pleased!!!
Thank you, Kate x
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Fall On Me
2 My Street
3 Hit The Ground
4 16 Points
6 Mirror Mirror
7 Blowing This Candle Out
9 Feels Good
11 Getting To Me