House of Healing, Heather Taylor
I may be going out on a limb but I think that The Crawdiddies rank in the top ten bands that have hailed from Rochester since the Rock era began in the mid-sixties. I would put them up there with Bat and Don, Chuck, The Buttons, The Rustix, any of them. That being said, I think that lead vocalist and flautist Heather Taylor is wonderful in her own right. Her debut solo record House of Healing bears that out in spades.
From the first track, Sick, Heather explores a totally different sound than the one she perfected with The Crawdiddies. Sick harks back to Grace Slick era Jefferson airplane. Not the slick stuff that made them darlings of the Top 40 hippie radio scene, more like the trippy Crown of Creation era that made them leaders of the underground San Francisco scene. Her voice floats over Dave Drago’s bass and Jacob Walsh’s trap set. Her octave mandolin and flute secure the arrangement.
Heather Taylor is timeless and geographically invisible. In What Spirit, the second song bears that out. This song could have been played in a 1930’s Parisian Café. Light and murky the catch phrase “We’re living in a day dream” is haunting. This song could be on a Tim Burton soundtrack.
She Is Not Helpless features an almost Ragga feeling, vocally but is anchored by a solid almost 10,000 Maniacs rhythm section that evolves into a Jethro Tull like coda. Who writes this kind of stuff…no one I have heard. It is utterly unique and utterly captivating.
I love You walks ever so slightly into Dire Straits territory. That is one of the things that works so well on this record. The influences are there, readily accessible yet it has its very own sound.
Fat Hearted Woman would feel very comfortable in any Crawdiddies set. Bluesy, sexy sung with abandon, Heather channels her gutsy Etta James/ Janis without sounding like either of them.
Cloudy Haze harks to that dark folky Zepplin feel that always intrigued me.
Made To Wander is one of the saddest songs I have heard in a long time. Maybe because it rings so true.
Anyone who knows me knows that I love what we have to offer musically here in Rochester. Heather Taylor is one of those true treasures. She is leaving town, moving to Ashville North Carolina in October. That is a huge loss for us and a huge gain to Ashville. I’m sure that she will come back from time to time but it is time for this bird to fly.
I was made to Wander, I was made to roam
I’ll always go where my heart is Music is my home.
Heather, wherever music and your heart take you, you will always have a home here in Rochester.