Album review

Taylor Simpson moves forward with ‘Lies Beneath’ ft. Eden Sterling

Indie folk-rock singer Taylor Simpson is on a roll. Shortly after releasing his well-received full-length debut album, Learning to Live with Precious Time, he returned to the studio to record six new tracks for New Sights in A Familiar Place.

While the Toronto native’s debut encompassed his earlier life experience, his latest work, recorded at Stone Roof Studios in Woodbridge, has a more immediate focus: negotiating the pandemic, new relationships and fresh losses. He is candid about his growing pains, but a resolute optimism pervades the tracks on New Sights in A Familiar Place, produced by friend and fellow musician Adriano Loparco.

“I want to create a safe space/community for my listeners, who may be dealing with similar issues in their lives. Whether it’s mental health related, relationships, alcoholism, losses [of] loved ones or love itself or anything in that realm,” Taylor, no stranger to loss, said of the collection. “I want them to know they’re not alone and there are so many others that are willing to listen and help.”

Taylor makes good on that wish, demonstrating through his words and music how to move gracefully through life’s contradictions and challenges. He asks for nothing on “Bitter Apology,” though his heart is clearly sore. “Maybe one day I’ll see a better side of you / Maybe one day, you’ll see a better side of me,” he sings, sounding a bit like John Mayer.

“Holding On” is a bit edgier, haunted by the dissolution of a relationship. “I’ll keep holding on,” he repeats as electric guitars swirl against a brisk drumbeat, “Until the pain is gone.”

The first single from the collection, “Long Time Coming,” is likewise redemptive, the music moving him forward as Taylor contends with feeling stuck at crossroads. “Wishful Feeling” is a jangly ode to learning to find silver linings in experience and putting the past in the rear-view. And even as he wrestles with the long shadow of grief on “Lies Beneath,” Taylor doesn’t stay down for long.

“Focused on moving forward / Pushing past this blurry state / Open up all the doors, setting out to a different shore / Realizing it’s never too late,” he sings, joined by guest vocalist Eden Sterling, the music a balm for his and his listeners’ souls.

Taylor is a singer-songwriter from Toronto. He released his debut full-length album Learning to Live with Precious Time in early 2022, with the single “Pretending” garnering over 40,000 streams within the first three months. His songs are adorned with acoustic and electric guitar, steady drums and potent lyrics which leave his audience members in a state of nostalgia whilst dancing, singing, and clapping along.

Track Listing
1 Bitter Apology
2 Holding On
3 North From Here
4 Lies Beneath ft. Eden Sterling
5 Long Time Coming
6 Wishful Feeling

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