Taylor Brown and Company
Danced With the Devil
Taylor Brown's second CD is a big step from his 2009 debut Coal Road Sunset. He's backed by a trio of local aces (guitarist Chris Dorsten, bassist Kevin Hyfantis, and drummer Terry Mahnken) and shows truly epic ambition as a songwriter, from the Supertramp-inspired title track to the earnest piano-ballad 9/11 tribute "Decade From Hell" and the "November Rain"-style guitar solo on "Look Kids, Another Reprise." In between, Brown mostly nails a radio-friendly cocktail of singer/songwriter intimacy and modern-rock bravura, landing right in between Coldplay and Wilco. Sometimes Brown's reach exceeds what he can pull off—the arrangements, adorned by yacht-rock keyboards, backing harmonies from an ELO record, and florid power-ballad solos, occasionally feel too extravagant, but when Brown strips down you can tell he means it.