Album Review: Holly Taymar & Christopher Bilton – Never Winter Mind (Part Two)

Holly Taymar is a singer songwriter from Yorkshire, and with the assistance of guitarist/percussionist Christopher Bilton has developed a very accessible, yet not predictable acoustic sound. That the sound is both soothing on the ear, in the form of her velvety vocal, yet also at times challenges the listener with interesting use of instrumentation and vocal patterns, is testament to the quality of the performers involved (helped no doubt by the fact she has a first class honours degree in performing).

If you were to pigeonhole this singer it would be as a contemporary acoustic performer, however it is not as clear cut as that. There is a hint of folk without getting traditional (and indeed at times a warble in her voice not dissimilar to folk heroines Kate Rusby and Martha Tilston), a hint of blues without a 12 bar riff present and now again the music strays towards Americana. It is this appreciation of styles and solid writing that keeps the music on a interesting, hooky level – without ever looking as if it could fall in to ploddy, unsubstantial acoustic singer songwriter territory.

Having not heard ‘Never Winter Mind Part One’ it’s quite an interesting concept to release two EP’s under the same name, as opposed one full album. The EP in question here is a very well balanced affair. There is a point to every track, and indeed a difference in every track – which is nice to hear on an EP, a concept where due to the shorter playing time of the recording, if the track listing isn’t quite right can affect the overall listen, compared to a long playing record. She gets it spot on here.

The highlight tracks for me are ‘Move a Little Closer’, the first time Taymar moves in to a darker, minor key sound – which works perfectly with soaring vocal capabilities. Also the final track ‘Indian Sky’ again uses the voice and also some interesting eastern style instrumentation by Bilton on various guitars to create an effective moody piece of music.

This was a pleasant listen and bettered (like so many good records) with repeat plays. Taymar is an artist who will appeal to a wide audience with the style she has adopted, and it wouldn’t surprise me if she became a more nationally recognised act in the next few years.

You can get more information about Holly Taymar by visiting www.hollytaymar.com