Gileah Taylor. I hadn’t heard of her until a few months ago when an acquaintance mentioned her music. I love discovering new music/artists, so I quickly googled her name and lo and behold I found her music. I pressed play on the first song and was immediately drawn in. At that time, I couldn’t tell you exactly what drew me in, but something prevented me from pressing stop or skipping to the next track. Maybe it was my new-found love for indie/folkish style of music, maybe it was her voice, or maybe it was the wonderful sounds of the instruments in the background? Perhaps it was a little bit of all of those things, but more so (what I now know after listening to her two new EPs, “A Crooked Line” and “What Kind of Fool”) I really think it was her brutal honesty in her songwriting. Her openness, her transparency, her “rawness.” That sort of songwriting/artist is something that is rather hard to find nowadays. It’s not really any of the artists’ fault, but the labels have started to have more and more control over the production of CDs (i.e. is this going to be a radio hit?) and that therefore leads to random people writing your music for you. It’s not easy to really mean what you are singing if it doesn’t come from your heart. Perhaps that’s why Gileah Taylor and her music seemed to strike such a chord within my heart. It really sounds likes she means what she sings…like she believes it. It sounds as if it comes from her heart.
I had the privilege of being able to review her two new EPs that came out Tuesday (congrats Gileah!) and I got them right before the weekend…and they stayed on repeat the whole time. Seriously. I’ll take them one at a time for you:
“A Crooked Line”
The songs that compile this EP are simply titled, but they are far from simple in their lyrical content. From the first track, “A River,” to the last one, “Grief,” all of the songs exhibit that sort of rawness that I was explaining earlier. These songs are full of encouragement, turmoil, love, hope, everyday struggles with the person looking back at us in the mirror, to a song inspired by a well-known story in the Bible (“Prodigal”). The song, “Prodigal,” caught me by surprise…you see I’ve heard my fair share of songs depicting this passage of scripture and some were well-done, but there were a lot that just seemed to sound the same. So, when I saw the title, I immediately thought, “oh, it’s another one of those songs,” but I was pleasantly surprised as I pressed play in itunes and Gileah’s melodic voice filled my speakers and began to take my imagination off into the scene of a story of a son who ran away from the only real home he could ever find. This song was far from sounding the same as others that I’ve heard. IT.IS.JUST.GOOD. The track, “A Crooked Line” is a wonderful guitar and piano mix that has some real lessons within the lyrics.
“It is not what you do, it’s how you live that defines you.
It is not what you say, it’s how you live in the day to day.”
Like I said, her lyrics are far from being simple (as in having no meaning) in their content. The last track, “Grief” ends this EP quite well, with a message of encouragement and hope, no matter what you may be going through. “Joy will come in the morning” and “I will carry you for tonight” are just a few of the wonderfully placed messages throughout the song. The first track, “A River” caught my attention immediately. As she began to sing, and the “haunting” tune drew me in…then the lyrics came and it seemed as if this artist had just described a period in my life that I went through a few months ago. So, naturally, I was curious as to the inspiration for this song, and Gileah was gracious enough to share with me. Here is the story behind, “A River” ::
“A River is quite personal. My husband, Chris Taylor, is also a singer/songwriter. The same year (2008) that I was pregnant with our second daughter Mercie, he was releasing a record and out on the road. I was home with our then two year old, Clara, and I’ll admit that I didn’t handle it very well. I was happy for him, but because I’d always been a musician as well, there was a part of me that was jealous of his success. It was pride. And I knew that. So in the bridge I sing that I want to give it up. By that I mean, to let it go. Chris had a lot of grace on me, and so did God. And I did manage to let it go. Although, as the song proves, I would never have been able to do that on my own.”
“What Kind of Fool”
Then came the next EP, “What Kind of Fool.” The first track, “I’m All In,” is one of those songs that make you want to take a drive with the windows down, or grab your honey and just sway back and forth in the middle of the living room. I especially love the line in this song, “You fell in love, I rose in it.” LOVE that line. “What Kind of Fool” is another song that caught my attention. The line, “I’ll never take up any kind of real estate in your heart, will I?” is a wonderful use of words to depict a scene in your mind. You can check out that story behind the song on her website. The other songs on this EP are just as good as the ones I mentioned.
The entire mix of folk and ballads is an art that not everyone can pull off, but I must say that Gileah Taylor has mastered that art in her two new EPs. I also asked Gileah what she hoped people would take away from her music and this was her response ::
“I hope people, especially other wives and moms, walk away humming the songs, encouraged. I am most encouraged by the real life stories of my favorite songwriters. I love The Innocence Mission for that reason. Tell a real story, and people will be able to relate. I told true stories this time around. In telling the truth, I hope that the Truth of the world, Jesus Christ, is glorified.”
Gileah really did exhibit truth in her new EPs and I really believe that is what makes her music so captivating and it makes it resonate within your soul.
So, all in all, these two EPs are wonderfully produced, balanced, and created. But don’t just take my word for it…check them out for yourself.
Both EPs are now available on itunes [you really need to go get them both!] and you should also check out her website at http://www.gileah.com