Friday, Oct 19, 2018
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WEEKENDER I SOUNDS

Honesty, grit come through in Chip Taylor's 'Fix Your Words'

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FIX YOUR WORDS

Chip Taylor, aka James Wesley Voight (Train Wreck Records)

Chip Taylor, aka James Wesley Voight, was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2016. He shows again that honor was no fluke with a disc that features powerful and penetrating lyrics, though this collection of 11 original songs suffers from a little redundancy and can be a bit maudlin and forlorn at times. 

Still, there’s something about Taylor’s writing that’s so infectious with its soul-bearing honesty, gritty texture, and incisiveness, especially when it comes to a worldly vision shaped by nearly 60 years in the music business. 

As the New York Times has said, Taylor is known to a lot of people for his pop hits of yesteryear — notably “Wild Thing” and “Angel of the Morning,” but there are a whole lot of people out there who don’t know he is “making some of the most distinctive acoustic music around today.” 

This album has a personal touch, with a nostalgic photo of him, and brothers Barry and Jon Voight when they were young boys and pictured with their mother, Barbara. Taylor once again is amazing, with a dry, weathered, road-weary voice that’s almost reminiscent of Leonard Cohen or Bob Dylan, but in more of a folkish manner. 

Taylor’s a meat-and-potatoes, emotional, and impactful singer-songwriter who writes about the human condition better than most. He’s someone whose music you could imagine being a deadpan serious or serene mood-setter around a campfire. A little more variety in rhythm, pacing and style would have been nice. But several songs on this disc, such as “Fix Your Words” and “Whatever Devil Is in Me,” stick with you. 

Taylor, who took a long hiatus from music between 1980 and 1996, was a bit of an Internet sensation in 2017 when a song released five years earlier, “[Expletive] All the Perfect People,” went viral and garnered more than a million plays on Spotify, introducing his music to a new generation of listeners.

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