Texas folk artist Taylor Young turns up the tempo but relaxes the vibe.
The Taylor Young Band is from the 90s, and it never left. Timewarp is a concept that Americana and Country have never had an issue with, and this has been quickly forgiven. The band has been around for some time, led by their namesake Taylor Young, associated with The O’s, Young Heart Attack, and Polyphonic Spree. In this form, the Taylor Young Band produced ‘Mercury Transit‘ in the basement studio of Toby Pipes (Deep Blue Something) in Texas over a very relaxed year of recording. This relaxed vibe is in every song, and while the music has moved from folk to more jangly pop, the twang of the vocals bring it back to that country sound. The instrument choices also are critical here. Featured heavily are mandolin, dobro, and baritone steel that one rarely hears outside the wider country family.
The lyrics and titles all reflect the usual wistful themes, love loss, alcohol, and poverty, but the music stays Prozac-level happy. ‘Rattled‘ came out two years ago, a testament to both the pause the industry took due to the pandemic but also the chilled nature of the record. The song has a distinct shoegaze feel and smells like college grass. ‘Drinkin’ is one of the most cheerful songs about alcoholism ever written. A country album is not complete without a song about whiskey, and this one does not disappoint. The song could be the theme tune to an unwritten ‘Friends’ episode entitled “The one where the gang get plastered”. Truly mindboggling.
On the album’s name, the band said, “During a transit, Mercury appears as a tiny black dot moving across the disk of the Sun.”, a humbling yet intriguing thought about size and contrast. Hopefully, Taylor Young Band won’t have to wait for the next Mercury transit in 2032 to be as noticeable.