Nick Michael Taylor

 

Memphis is one of the several cities across the U.S. either calling themselves the “home of the blues” or making a serious case for it. The Bluff City already has a more than a legit stake to the title, as it is also home to the Blues Foundation and Blues Hall of Fame.

Of all the Foundation’s programs, perhaps the most exciting is the annual live-music competition the International Blues Challenge. For nearly 40 years, the Foundation has held the national finals in Memphis, with participating acts having already been named champions of local and regional competitions held by nearly 200 affiliated Blues Societies and groups across the country.

The Houston Blues Society will send two acts to Memphis: one in the Band category and one in the Solo/Duo category. After two preliminary rounds, the lineup for the finals is set.

Duking it out in the Band category will be the Nick Michael Taylor Band with Tweed Smith, the Keesha Pratt Band, the Mark May Band with Cheyenne James, and the Sparky Parker Band. The Solo/Duo finalists are Chuck Collins, John Egan, and the Nathan Quick Blues Duo.

Last year, the Houston Blues Society delivered the Steve Krase Band and Zac Person to Memphis, but neither won the top prize. Founded in 1993, the HBS has been sending winners to compete in the IBC since Leonard “Low Down” Brown in 1998. There will be six judges for the finals, none of whom judged either preliminary and whose identities HBS Vice President and IBC Challenge Chair Angela Escue is keeping closely guarded.

“It will be a diversified panel [of] blues musicians or [people] in the music industry who carry a lot of blues knowledge,” she says, adding that each act will get 25 minutes onstage. Previously the President of the San Angelo Blues Society, Escue has been in Houston for about a year and a half and loves not only what the city offers today in the blues, but its rich history.

“Houston is steeped in blues history," she says. "And the foundation of blues is apparent in all kinds of music we listen to today. It’s been a great ride to be part of something bigger than I have been. We have a tight little community here. The book Down in Houston [by Roger Wood] also taught me a lot about the city’s blues history.”

One of the more storied and experienced performers onstage will be Tweed Smith. The Houston native has toured the world as a vocalist with the group War from 1979-81, and was a backup vocalist on Ringo Starr’s Stop and Smell the Roses album. But she’s taking nothing for granted.

“I was most excited and honored to be in the finals because there have been some extremely talented people this year,” says Smith. “But I know that my experience gave me a little edge. I’ve only been working with Nick for about six weeks, and he needed a little ‘something-something’ to put him over. I’m like the gravy on the mashed potatoes!”

Smith adds that blues is just one genre she can sing, but she has a particular affinity for that and gospel. “They’re both about telling a story, and that’s something for me to work with as a vocalist,” she sums up. “I’m ready for the finals because I know what I’m working for!”

Another finalist in the Band category who will undoubtedly be working is Mark May. A Houston blues stalwart for many years, the singer/guitarist moved out of state for several years but has returned. This time, he competes with a young vocalist — Cheyenne James — in tow.

“It’s not about my voice being bad, I just have a smoother one. She is very powerful and brings that to the show, and it kicks things up a bit more,” he says. “She has a lot of talent.”

May himself has gone to Memphis for the finals twice already, as a representative of Columbus and also Cleveland, Ohio. And though he didn’t win the big prize, he says that the entire city is just alive with blues fans, musicians, bookers, agents, label reps, and journalists. So any band that even gets there will find something to help their career.

But he says there is one thing his band will do this time around that wasn’t so prevalent before. “We’re being a little more interactive onstage with the audience; that’s a big thing," says May. "If you have two bands that both sound the same but one of them is a little more charismatic, they’ll advance. That’s the entertainment factor that people are a little bit more used to with YouTube. People hear with their eyes a little bit more!”

Finals for the Houston Blues Challenge will be held from 4 to 11 p.m. Sunday, October 1 at Fitzgerald’s, 2706 White Oak. $10 cover.

Texas' own Nick Michael Taylor is a talented and innovative music man who resides firmly at the corner of blues and rock and roll. While he's served admirably as a sideman to many notable local names, he shines most brightly as a solo artist. "Sweet Sour and Blue" is his second full length release, and it serves notice that he is primed and ready to make the proverbial big splash.

Taylor's fingerprints are on every aspect of this fine 10-song effort. He serves as lead vocalist, chief songwriter, co-producer, and occasional bassist. But this is a guitar-driven album, no two ways about it. And it's his 6-string work that's the most noteworthy, and therefore deserves the lions share of the focus.

The opener "Crying Out To You" is a punchy wah-wah number that features dual lead guitar tracks running simultaneously. "Keep On Running" is an energetic toe-tapper that is boosted immensely by EJ Patrick's backing vocals. Ususally a dynamic soloist, Taylor changes gears and takes a more subdued (and very effective) Albert King-style approach on "Your Kind Of Love." The scorching Blind Faith cover "Had To Cry Today" features Taylor's strongest vocal performance on the album, while "Run Off Baby" is a no-frills, straight-ahead blues rocker. The haunting "No One Will Ever Take Your Place" is Taylor's most impressive composition, a smart arrangement puncutated by mesmerizing guitar work. A solid take on Cream's "Sweet Wine" is followed by "It's Alright," another lead guitar showcase with a tasty retro hook. No blues effort would be complete without a vampy slow blues bit, and Taylor obliges with "Love In The Morning."

But he saves the best for last. The entire band is on point on the instrumental "Shepherd's Hay," which is highlighted by inspired solo work from both Taylor and Houston blues harp mainstay Steve Krase.

In many ways, "Sweet Sour and Blue" is a new beginning for Nick Michael Taylor. And from where I stand, the future looks (and sounds) very bright indeed.

 

"I love the layering of the guitars used in this song. There is a lot of pent up feelings coming through the voice in Nick's singing. The guitar soloing are smooth. The song has a strong gritty feel to it like rock songs out of the 70s and early 90s."

“Stevie, Eric, Ginger & Rick would be proud of your rendition!”

"this song was really cool. the vocals remind me of "black magic woman" and the overall sound of it reminds me of early eric clapton (back when he was good). It's a great song. I'd love to hear more."

"Very VERY Catchy. Music sounds almost hendrix like, guy's got a really good voice to match it too. Excellent song."

"I liked the moodiness of the song. The percussion (maracas?) really added to the feel. The guitar was wonderful, very interesting, very emotional, rather like old Clapton (not as good, but who is?) The only thing I thought would improve the song would be to pick up the beat just a little. You could keep the mooodiness but add a little intensity."

"Nice bluesy riffs reminiscent of Stevie Ray Vaughan. great vocals also in the same vein of Stevie Ray Vaughan."

Review of a January 25, 1988 concert in Falun, Sweden with drummer Ingmar Dunker and bassist Martin Cerha.

It was an incredible ösig concert by one of the best guitarists who ever visited the Falun. Local guitar freak Yngström and others excuse us for the evening was Nick Taylor all the way. Or as one visitor said: When I was down here in the audience I thought it was Stevie Ray Vaughan who stood up there and played. Can you get a better grade?

Seasoned

It was an experienced trio that drew off in saturday evenings. Beat Machine was Ingemar Dunker, fearsome drummer and bassist Martin Cerha has toured with Ulf Lundell. Martin plays bass on Lundell LP 'Love and Madness.'

Nick Taylor is a 31 year old from Houston, Texas and he has played with many legendary guitarists. He has recorded an LP and a few 45's but it was to boast of. It can be a little difficult to get a record deal when you do not care about what is commercially and sellable. I play the music I like 100 percent blues.

Authentic Blues

In Sweden, he has played pretty much blue with respect to Claes Yngström. Nick plays with his heart and his fingers conjures up authentic blues. He composes his own songs during performances he mixes with old classics.

His versions of the classics 'Summertime Blues' and 'Whole Lotta Shakin' were superb and I think that nobody, and I mean NOBODY, guitarist in the world would want to go up on stage after Nick's interpretation of John Mayall's Bluesbreakers 'Stepping Out.'

He showed an incredible joy despite the fact that only 30 people had been found there.

In music association Falun 77 there are now a little lighter on the future with the move to Valhalla.

Wham Start

We are still suffering from the loss of Cabare 'Cafee't, says Åke Wänn. The time was fantastic for the association, he goes and looks almost lyrical when he talks about the reputation that Caffe't had.

But now you can see Allsta forward and closest to the program is an evening with Per Henrik Wallin Trio on 27 January. Another major event is a rock night at Valhalla February 26 with the group five quick and various local bands.

But the association had thus already on Saturday a wham start and the display that Nick Taylor offered will be hard to beat.

Falun_Sweden_concert_review_.jpg

Besides Blues guitars, Texas is known among other things for its strict laws. So spicy that a practicing lawyer picks up the guitar and plays the blues. Born in Galveston, Texas and raised in Houston, Heyman however conquered the strings at an early age and was also traveling for music in Europe. Now with "Heart Full of Blues" he presents his first silverling, and it is probably not from bad parents! Densely instrumented, the flowing guitar of the Texan is clearly in focus. With this, Heyman displays a large stylish breadth.  The opener "Set me Free" with Trudy Lynn on vocals comes as a Rockoutfit and reminds one of Buddy Guy. "Everyday I Cry For You" is flawless Blues with BB King elements. "Mean Woman Blues" offers some Boogie-Swing-Feeling. "Love Against The Wall" would also put the blessed Faces to shame - slideshow included.  "Loving You A Long Time" reminisces of rock and roll times. "If You See My Baby" is also fiercely propelled forward with Sonny Boy Terry supporting on harp. All of this and more easily leads to the conclusion: another great guitar slinger from Texas.  

Translated from the original German text. Original may be found here:

Concerto_review.doc

The blues certainly is a path well trodden. Because it is revered by so many as a cultural cornerstone and the foundation of most modern American music, it neither expects, encourages or depends upon innovation for its survival. Indeed, although it has in fact spawned numerous quintessential American musics, any modern deviations from the tried and true accepted formulas of the genre are viewed by many with suspicion if not downright hostility. What began as music by and for the fringes of our society has become as safe, predictable and conservative as Muzak in the hands of countless hacks.

In the light of these developments, Michael Heyman's new album, "Heart Full of Blues" is as welcome and pleasant a surprise as any fan of the blues could ever have hoped for. Heyman is unafraid to alter the sonic landscape of the eleven tracks featured here and in doing so he transports the listener into a world painted with far more colors and textures than most blues artists (or even blues-based artists for that matter) seem to have at their disposal or be willing to use these days.

Heyman paints commandingly with numerous styles and feels from "My Sweet Little Honey Dripper" performed as a duet for piano and guitar, through the hard rockin' boogie woogie of "Loving You A Long Time," the tighter drier treatment of "Mean Woman Blues" and the lush arrangement of "Set Me Free" which is reminiscent of Robert Cray circa "Strong Persuader."

But more impressive than any of this are the performances that Heyman gives on this record. As a guitarist, Heyman is competent and occassionally even imaginative. (He only really cuts loose on the instrumental track, "Steppin Out.") But it is his vocal delivery that really shines. His voice is clear and unfettered by baggage or pretense. He is above all else an honest performer, who wisely avoids hiding behind the grotesque, cartoonish mannerisms that far too many other blues singers unwittingly or even obligingly adopt. Instead, he chooses to make himself vulnerable and therefore believable.

It is this quality of unselfconsciousness and (forgive me I must say it again) honesty that truly distinguishes him and sets him apart from his peers. It is for this reason that this album offers us something we almost never see from a blues act: freshness. If the blues is to have a future that is at all relevant as anything other than museum fodder, it will be through the efforts of musicians like Michael Heyman.

This CD was such a fun listen that I have been playing it over and over. Being from Chicago, I can speak with authority about the blues, and I can tell you that Michael Heyman knows his stuff.

The eleven-track album features a variety of songs, eight of which are original compositions. While the three cover songs are good, I have to wonder if Heyman shouldn't have just gone with his own music for this CD. His songs could stand alone and carry the album just fine. The covers don't detract from anything though, so I guess that you get a little more music for your dollar.

If you are a harmonica fan (and who isn't?) check out track ten, "If You See My Baby," for a song that will set your feet a-tappin'. My personal favorite was track two, "Every Day I Cry For You," which sings its lament as the blues should, over and over, with feeling. The band that backs Heyman is skilled, and the musicians are allowed to take their turns in the spotlight here and there. It's a strong CD, and if you like the blues, you'll want to check this one out.

First album of texan singer and guitar player Michael Heyman with a cd totally full of blues passion, feeling and good taste. Michael draws with his Gibson elegant clever guitar phrasing and riffs, perfectly backed by Michael’s piano and Hammond organ, which gives the perfect support to conceive an intense cool well structured cd. The rhythm section are on a par, with Roger Tausz on bass and Bob Armour, Steve Treanor and Rick Berman on drums, who also give an smart performing. Mention, among other guest musicians, Trudy Lynn on vocals and Sonny Boy Terry on harp. Very actual contemporary blues without losing the orthodoxy, together with an outstanding Rock Romano’s final production. GREAT.

This studio album has eight original tracks and three covers. Total time is just over 47 minutes. Sound and production quality are good. The project is seasoned contemporary blues artist Michael Heyman's debut release. Musicianship is top-notch throughout. This is a blues album, not a rock and roll masquerade. Heyman's renditions of the three covers are fresh and good treatments done without losing their traditional blues appeal.

The instrumental "Steppin' Out" (James Bracken) showcases Heyman's prodigious guitar skills. Virtuoso keyboardist Skip Nallia's performance on the Hammond B3 organ and piano complement Heyman's guitar excellently. On "My Sweet Little Honey Dripper" (Jimmy "T-99" Nelson), Heyman's guitar and Michael Stone's honky-tonk piano give the song a dandy, juke joint feel. "Three Hours Past Midnight" (Johnny "Guitar" Watson) features Heyman's mournful guitar intro. Together with Roger Tausz's great bass line, this rendition is reminiscent of seminal urban blues classics.

Heyman's original songs are contemporary but maintain a classic urban blues feel. The medium tempo tunes, "Set Me Free" and "Love Against the Wall" are infectious romps. On both tunes, Houston Soul-Blues Queen Trudy Lynn and Diva Tommie Lee Bradley contribute superb backup vocals. "Every Day I Cry For You" and "Mean Woman Blues" are cut from the rich cloth of close-up and sweaty, honky-tonk blues. "Please Let Me Love You Again" is reminiscent of the great Otis Rush's work in the mid and late 90's. Ms. Lynn and Ms. Bradley again do banner backing vocals. "When It Came to Loving You" is perhaps the album's best slow tempo, back alley gut-ripper. Heyman's guitar work is the epitome of essential electric blues. The best uptempo tune is "If You See My Baby." This jump blues tune features Houston harmonica maestro Sonny Boy Terry, a masterstroke. Highest recommendation.

This is the debut album by Michael Heyman, originating from Houston. He grew up with classical music and opera. At eight he began playing violin but at twelve he discovered the guitar and the emotions it could convey. Among his biggest influences are Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly and The Rolling Stones. But the album sounds more like BB King, Jimmy Vaughan and John Mayall. Among the eleven tracks there are three covers.

Michael surprises with nice guitar playing on the ballads as well as on the up-tempo songs. Listen to the sensitive "When It Came To Loving You" or the swinging rock blues "Love Against The Wall". On this album there is also fine piano and hammond playing by Michael Stone, a few horns here and there and excellent backing vocals. One could argue that Michael Heyman's voice is a bit too clean but it is never boring. The album mixes Texas with Chicago blues and more contemporary sounds. This debut certainly is a success and deserves airplay.

According to his website, Michael has performed throughout the U.S.A. and Europe and has shared the bill with such artists as John Mayall's Bluesbreakers with Mick Taylor, Albert Collins, Buddy Guy & Junior Wells, James Cotton, Alvin Lee, Nils Lofgren, Nick Lowe, Eric Burdon, Leslie West, Pat Travers, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Coco Montoya, Joe "Guitar" Hughes, The Long Ryders, Lou Ann Barton, Omar & The Howlers And Marcia Ball, so he has a very prestigious background. He delayed the launch of his first album, Heart Full Of Blues for over 20 years, and that is way too long! This is a real artist at work, with some wonderful guitar solos, all tasteful and carefully crafted. I felt that his guitar skills were better than his vocals, and the songs are well chosen to show off those skills. The tracks were mostly self-penned and there are a couple of covers to boot. He plays how I like a guitarist to play, not way too many notes just for the sake of it, but melodic structures that make sense. There are obvious influences in here; Robert Cray, BB King but also I noticed similarities to Rockpile and The Georgia Satellites. A fine album, let's just hope that he doesn't leave it another 20 years for his next release!

While I like the blues - a lot, I find myself getting easily bored when a bluesman starts going crazy on a guitar playing note after note that is really just sound and fury signifying nothing. A little bit of this goes along way with me. So, when I picked up this album, I was wondering if I would be listening to that kind of blues. Fortunately, there is little of this on Heyman's cd. Sure, it's here and there, but it's tastefully done and his guitar slinging works well with the rest of the instruments rather than overwhelming them.

This is a very good thing, especially since Heyman assembled a really good group of local musicians to help him on this cd. On Love Against the Wall, Trudy Lynn and Tommie Lee Bradley add some tasty backing vocals to a song that really rocks. Sonny Boy Terry lends his harmonica skills to If You See My Baby, a scorching, hard-driving number. I can't decide which of those two is my favorite on the album. An up-tempo number that I also like quite a bit is Loving You A Long Time. I am less enamored of some of the slower numbers like his covers of Three Hours Past Midnight and My Sweet Little Honey Dripper, but that's probably my bias showing through. Overall, I really dig this album.

review michael heyman bluesey frank van engelen-bluesiana radio, purmerend, the netherlands these are 8 originals and very splented ones i may say, great guitarriffs and blues in a different way. some rocking, slow, mean music, touched from a modern bluesangle prospective. this guy is great, and is joined by the great trudy lynn and harpplayer sonny boy terry. should i say more? yes, this one is for you without any doubt.

This is the debut album by Michael Heyman, originating from Houston. He grew up with classical music and opera. At eight he began playing violin but at twelve he discovered the guitar and the emotions it could convey. Among his biggest influences are Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly and The Rolling Stones. But the album sounds more like BB King, Jimmy Vaughan and John Mayall. Among the eleven tracks there are three covers. Michael surprises with nice guitar playing on the ballads as well as on the up-tempo songs. Listen to the sensitive "When It Came To Loving You" or the swinging rock blues "Love Against The Wall". On this album there is also fine piano and hammond playing by Michael Stone, a few horns here and there and excellent backing vocals. One could argue that Michael Heyman's voice is a bit too clean but it is never boring. The album mixes Texas with Chicago blues and more contemporary sounds. This debut certainly is a success and deserves airplay.

Per sapere tutto su questo chitarrista-cantante texano potete visitare il suo sito che troverete scrivendo il suo nome tra www e com. Questo “Heart full of Blues” comincia con un pezzo “Set me free” che non c’entra niente col resto, ma appunto dopo esser stato lasciato libero, Heyman comincia ad inanellare Blues non originalissimi ma di buona fattura: la mano scorre felicemente sul manico, le parti ritmiche son delicate e gl’assoli misurati, quasi Claptoniani in quello scorrere logico. Si sentono anche le influenze dei padri, da T-Bone Walker in “Mean Woman Blues”, forse il pezzo migliore, a B.B. King in “When it came to loving you”, ma anche una buona sensibilità alla slide come in “Love against the wall”. Punto debole é invece il cantato, tanto che Trudy Lynn spesso arriva di rinforzo in una collezione di pezzi senza un riferimento preciso, cosa peraltro vantaggiosa. C’é anche il bluesaccio con “Please let me love you again”, bissato da “Three hours past midnight” dove Heyman sorte tutto quello che possiede in un assolo che, senza esser originale, mostra talento e gusto. Bella anche “If you see my baby” con l’armonicista Sonny “Boy” Terry – ricordatevi di questo nome – che guida le danze. Heyman é bravo ma probabilmente non un vero leader; starebbe però a pennello in un gruppo con una star, magari avanti con gl’anni, che ogni tanto vuol lasciare il proscenio ad un bravo accompagnatore senza rischiare che metà del pubblico vada a bere una birra nel frattempo.

Michael Heyman is geboren in Galveston, Texas en groeide op in Houston. Van 1983-88, was hij gitarist in verschillende bluesgroepen in Amerika en Europa. Door samen op te treden met artiesten als Buddy Guy en Junior Wells, John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, Albert Collins, James Cotton, Eric Burdon, Pat Travers, Alvin Lee, Leslie West, Nils Lofgren, Nick Lowe, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Omar & the Howlers en Marcia Ball, verkreeg hij een reputatie van een zeer gedreven gitarist in alle bluesmiddens van Texas. Andere hoogtepunten in die periode is zijn blueswerk met de grote blues legende Joe "Guitar" Hughes, maar ook met de Britse muzikanten Ronnie Lane en Ian McLagan in het succesvolle "Ronnie Lane Appeal For A.R.M.S."- concert in Houston. In 1988, besloot Michael, na veel op tour te zijn geweest, terug te keren naar de USA om met zijn familie wat meer tijd door te brengen. Pas in 2003, nam hij de beslissing om terug zijn gitaar ter hand te nemen, hetgeen resulteerde in 2004 in zijn debuut-cd "Heart Full of Blues" met acht zelf gepende nummers en drie covers, zoals "Three Hours Past Midnight" van Johnny "Guitar" Watson met een geweldige gitaarintro, "My Sweet Little Honey Dripper" van Jimmy "T-99" Nelson en het instrumentale gitaarnummer "Steppin' Out" van James Bracken. Zijn prachtige gitaarspel doet denken aan het vroegere werk van T-Bone Walker, B.B. King, Freddie King, Buddy Guy, Eric Clapton en Mick Taylor. Op "Heart Full of Blues" horen we enkele gastoptredens van o.a. harmonica virtuoos Sonny Boy Terry, en vocale ondersteuning van Houston's 'First Lady of Soul' Trudy Lynn en de onvergelijkbare Tommie Lee Bradley. Maar ook het prachtige piano-en Hammondwerk van Michael Stone mogen we zeker niet onvermeld laten. De meest uitschietende track is wel de uptempo song "If You See My Baby", een jump blues met Houston harmonica maestro Sonny Boy Terry. Op het afsluitende "My Sweet Little Honey Dripper" geven Heyman's gitaar en Michael Stone's honky-tonk piano deze track een juke joint gevoel. De meer rustige nummers "Set Me Free" en "Love Against the Wall" met de mooie backing vocals van Trudy Lynn en Tommie Lee Bradley zijn ook best te smaden. "Every Day I Cry For You" en "Mean Woman Blues" herleven dan terug in honky-tonk blues. "Please Let Me Love You Again" laat ons denken aan het grote Otis Rush's werk van de midden en laat jaren '90. Kortweg : Eerlijk gezegd mijn bewondering kan alleen maar groeien als blijkt dat Heyman de beste songs op dit album zelf geschreven heeft. Dat een hedendaagse blanke bluesman het ook aankan om onvervalste Texas- & Juke Joint blues te brengen wist ik al langer. Met deze is nog maar ééns het bewijs afgeleverd. Ontdek dit debuut van Michael Heyman en overtuig uzelf.