Reaching a creative high watermark on a near three-decade career, songwriter Dudley Taft contemplates our hectic modern lifestyle on his sixth solo album, Simple Life. Due out September 7, the raucous eleven-song set serves up equal doses of blues and classic rock. Watch the music video for album's first single, Give Me a Song, above.
Written while in the Bahamas with his nose in a Michael Crichton book, the album's title track captures the essence of the record. “I was literally down in the Bahamas reading, and I thought, ‘Man, this is awesome’," he recalls. "We get no reception unless we climb up on a hill, so it felt nice. Managing your digital self and this accelerated news cycle gets to be too much. I'm a city dude. I love visiting and living in cities, but at some point, your mind has an allergic reaction and you need to decompress. That's what this album is about."
Taft enlisted the talents of an all-star cast of musicians to round out the sound of Simple Life, including drummers Walfredo Reyes Jr. (Santana, Chicago, Steve Winwood), Mike Taponga, and newcomer Chris Ellison. Kasey Williams laid down the bass along with John Kessler. And while the full capabilities of these players is put on display, it's Taft's searing leads that ties the whole package together.
A lifelong journey enabled him to achieve the clarity heard on Simple Life. The Midwest native went from co-founding Space Antelope in high school alongside future Phish icon Trey Anastasio, to developing a new band in Seattle, Sweet Water, whose touring resume boasted storied jaunts with everyone from Alice In Chains to Candlebox. Taft joined Second Coming in 1997 and recorded the group's seminal self-titled debut, which yielded the Top 10 hit, Vintage Eyes.
2008 saw him kick off a successful solo career highlighted by a prolific string of releases; Left for Dead (2011), Deep Deep Blue (2013), Screaming in the Wind (2014), Skin and Bones (2015), and Summer Rain (2017). Taft’s impressive playing and intimate songcraft was noticed by the European Blues Society, who nominated him for "Best Guitarist" in 2017.
Simple Life is chock full of gained-up riffs as the guitarist embarks on heavy-hitting territory, while his licks sound consistently captivating. In the end, the album shows Taft encouraging joy with a little bit of distortion and a whole lot of heart.
Dudley Taft will take Simple Life on the road this September with dates in Europe and North America.
For more, head over to dudleytaft.com.