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Listening [Digipak] *

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Album: Listening [Digipak] *
# Song Title   Time
1)    Listening
2)    Oh Brother
3)    Not Alone
4)    Giulia
5)    Worlds Are Made of Paper
6)    Vespa's Song
7)    America
8)    Dirty
9)    Burning Bridges
10)    You Could Be Mine
11)    Next Time Around
Product Details
Performer Notes
  • Audio Mixer: Cam Blackwood.
  • Photographer: Pete Gurtz.
  • Listening, the fourth full-length studio album from singer/songwriter/actor Ben Taylor, the son of Rock & Roll Hall of Famer James Taylor and multiple Grammy Award-winner Carly Simon, is also his first for a record label. Written and recorded over a four-year span, the 11 tracks run the gamut from quiet, introspective folk ("Listening") and shimmery, gospel-infused Americana ("Next Time Around") to soulful, late-night blues rock ("Oh Brother") and breezy, west coast country-pop ("Giulia"). Held together by Taylor's deep, expressive voice and deceptively simple guitar playing, Listening feels less like an amalgamation of styles and more like a guided tour through the genres that have inspired the self-described "kung folk" artist (he has extensive training in multiple martial arts) over the years. Polished but retaining the weathered edges of someone who has spent their career employing a fairly strict, D.I.Y. set of studio ethics, the album plays by its own set of rules within an already established game -- the tuneful title cut is clearly the work of the son of James Taylor, while the sleek, trip-hoppy "America" reflects a more urban, less urbane perspective of the world. That said, incorporating reggae ("You Could Be Mine") and hip-hop ("Dirty") into an already busy cocktail can be a bit jarring, even for fans of the increasingly cosmopolitan world of commercial folk-pop (Dave Matthews, Jason Mraz, Jack Johnson), but Taylor's laid-back delivery, everyman lyrics, and familiar melodies lend each stylistic digression an air of unpretentiousness that eventually wins the listener over. ~ James Christopher Monger
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