‘Share It’ nearly a one-man show

> But Tay­lor has a lit­tle help from friends on new CD

The Commercial Appeal - Go Memphis - - Music - By Mark Jor­dan

Spe­cial to The Com­mer­cial Ap­peal

One of the most pleas­ant sur­prises of Craig Brewer’s Web/tele­vi­sion se­ries “$5 Cover” was lo­cal mu­si­cian Paul Tay­lor’s turn as a rare nice-guy drum­mer who wins the heart of “Amy,” played by Tay­lor’s real-life girl­friend and band­mate Amy LaVere.

In the sev­enth episode of the MTV se­ries, aptly ti­tled “The Multi-In­stru­men­tal­ist,” Tay­lor woos LaVere by com­pos­ing a com­plete song for her on the fly, play­ing and lay­er­ing all the in­stru­ments him­self.

“I fig­ured maybe it would be a good op­por­tu­nity to ex­pose some peo­ple to the wash­tub bass and kal­imba and lap steel, so I pur­pose­fully chose in­stru­ments to loop that would be a lit­tle atyp­i­cal,” says Tay­lor of the scene, which he says was a wel­come break from the parts where he was re­quired to “act.” “It’s a very sim­ple piece of mu­sic, kind of like one-thou­sandth of what you can do with that equip­ment.”

For a more com­plete vi­sion of what Tay­lor — a Mem­phis mu­sic scene vet­eran since he emerged as a teenage bass gui­tar phe­nom in the early 1990s — can do with sam­ples, loops, and a room­ful of in­stru­ments, see Share It, his sopho­more CD which he will launch with a show Satur­day night at the Hi-Tone. The disc, which in keep­ing with the DIY spirit of the record­ings, fea­tures hand-drawn, child­like art­work from Tay­lor, is the de­but of his new per­form­ing name, Paul “Snowflake” Tay­lor. The moniker comes from a nick­name be­stowed upon him by pro­ducer Jim Dick­in­son.

“I de­cided to release records un­der that name be­cause my first record got lost in the shuf­fle,” says Tay­lor of his new per­sona. “There’s a smooth jazz sax­o­phon­ist named Paul Tay­lor, and an Aus­tralian didgeri­doo-ist named Paul Tay­lor, and all th­ese other peo­ple. So ‘Snowflake’ is re­ally just for press and Google. Please don’t start call­ing me that.”

More than a year in the mak­ing, Share It is in many ways an ex­ten­sion of the “$5 Cover” scene, with Tay­lor record­ing the songs piece by piece, brick by brick, over a span of months.

“Half the tracks on the record are ex­per­i­ments with writ­ing in the stu­dio, like from the drums up or the key­board parts up,” says Tay­lor of the project, the bulk of which came out of an in­ten­sive three week pe­riod he spent holed up in Jimbo Mathus’ Delta Record­ing Ser­vice in Como, Miss. “It was cool to do it that way be­cause a lot of times, if I write a song in a tra­di­tional fash­ion on gui­tar, then what I end up play­ing on drums is a much more song-y part. Which is cool. I love that, but it was cool to start with a much more funky drum part and then have to write lyrics over that.”

The ap­proach has re­sulted in a dizzy­ingly eclec­tic col­lec­tion — with touches of in­die pop, bossa nova, funk, and John Len­non-style rock bal­ladry —that is more as­sured and care­fully con­structed than Tay­lor’s self-ad­mit­tedly rushed 2006 de­but, Open Closed.

For all Tay­lor’s bravura mu­si­cian­ship, how­ever, Share It is not com­pletely a one-man show. He trav­eled to Cal­i­for­nia to record over­dubs with his friends An­drew McLean on tabla and Bob Furgo on vi­o­lin. Tay­lor, whose main gig th­ese days is drum­ming be­hind LaVere in her band the Tramps, also gets help from her and the band’s gui­tarist, his child­hood friend Steve Selvidge.

“Paul pretty much did ev­ery­thing on the CD,” says Selvidge. “I played a bit of gui­tar on one song. Mainly I just brought a bunch of gear that I knew he’d en­joy play­ing with/through and we just hung out for a day, which is never a bad thing. My im­pres­sion of the mu­sic was the same as it was when I first heard him play around 1986 or so. I was im­pressed.”

Selvidge will also open Satur­day’s show with a short acous­tic set, and gui­tarist Dave Cousar will play the “af­ter-party” fol­low­ing Tay­lor’s per­for­mance.

There is even an out-of-time as­sist from Tay­lor’s dad, noted lo­cal gui­tarist Pat Tay­lor, whose ’70s band Edge­wood gets a prog rock remix treat­ment on the disc’s “bonus track,” “We Both Stand To Lose.”

Paul Tay­lor cel­e­brates his sopho­more ef­fort with a CD release party Satur­day night at the Hi-Tone.

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