Will Taylor & Strings Attached

Record review

Phases and Stages

Will Taylor & Strings Attached

Collaborations (Heart Music)

Will Taylor's idea is a novel one and his intent admirable. He backs some of Austin's most renowned singer-songwriters, his band Strings Attached interpreting their catalogs with violin, cello, and viola in the unique downtown setting of St. David's Church. It's turned into a concert series that Taylor produces on a monthly basis and has resulted in the aptly named Collaborations. Featuring a virtual who's who of local songwriters, including Shawn Colvin, Eliza Gilkyson, Sara Hickman, Slaid Cleaves, and Jimmy LaFave, Collaborations is an all-star Austin songwriter sampler. Unfortunately, despite the marquee and musicianship, there's a sameness to the arrangements that lends the disc a sleepy aura belying its spiritual objective. With her gospel background, Ruthie Foster's "Ocean of Tears" rises above the persistent drone with a well-placed shout. Tracks from Gilkyson ("Easy Rider") and Barbara K ("My Name Is Truth") also stand out since they're not far afield from what each artist normally sets out to accomplish.

**

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