Being on this side of the pond (as well as a native New Yorker), every time I hear the name “Lawrence Taylor,” it immediately triggers the image and memory of a certain and very mighty New York Giants linebacker. The brain is quite the pit bull when it comes to nostalgia, but this particular Lawrence Taylor couldn’t be more dissimilar from the football Hall of Fame player even though – as I recall – he, too, has a pleasant singing voice.
This particular Lawrence Taylor’s voice somewhat exceeds “pleasant”: it’s smooth and soulful, bluesy and affecting, feels lived in beyond its 22 years and, depending upon the words coming out of his mouth, could potentially be rated NC-17. The Birmingham, England native has already made himself tested through rounds of open mic nights in London and has lived to tell about it. His single “Bang Bang” surfaced in June and, in it’s relatively short life span, that little-tune-that-could about a relationship/friendship that just couldn’t has since racked up over 5.4 million plays on Spotify. It showcases Taylor’s ample goods: his throaty and mature vocal warmth, pointed songwriting and feel for a good guitar melody. All qualities being harbingers of marvelous musical things to come…
And it’s safe to say that Taylor didn’t let you, me or himself down. His debut EP, Bang Bang, arrived on November 13th and it is four emotionally and artistically sturdy tracks where his guitar play is almost as much the star of the show as his vocal cords. Somewhere he’s going all medieval and pulling a sword from a stone in “Waiting For Your Love” and craving release from a self-made prison in “Chains.” But the payoff and utmost precious jewel among Taylor’s gems is “Robyn.” Holy hell, kids. Like warm chocolate in tone, texture and feel, the song is a missive – both gentle and fierce – aimed squarely at its subject’s “heart of gold.” While Taylor’s lush voice bares the need, his artful lyrical steps are absolute and buoyed by rhythmic grooves of guitar. So much so that it warrants repeated listens. It’s just that good.
Yes, it’s the stuff of a singer-songwriter clearly on the rise, so we’ll be keeping ears on Lawrence Taylor in 2016 and beyond. We think you should, too.