About: Jonathan Taylor (UK / Bulgaria)
English singer / songwriter born Warwick 1966.
Taylor notes with a smile, “At 15 when I bought my first second-hand guitar and amp for 75 pounds, my mother said it was a complete waste of money.” Although it’s left unsaid, one gets the feeling she’s probably still eating her words today. Since then, his reviewers have been somewhat more generous. It’s been said he is the possessor of a ‘marvellous dusty, dusky voice full of resonance and beauty’ by local press and a ‘real talent’ by the British Politician Tony Benn, while fans continue to liken him to Don Mclean, Neil Young, Leonard Cohen and even Neil Diamond.
Taylor’s lyrics remain consistent in theme, his overwhelming need to lend his voice to those who remain without. Whether they’re victims of the Bulgarian Communist Regime (Izvinavi) or an elegy to those lost in 9/11 (‘If Only’) and the messages they left behind. Again and again he returns to his subject, in ‘Holocaust Denier’ written after meeting England’s only known Jewish Auschwitz survivor Leon Greenman, his words convey not only the horror of genocide but implore us to remember, should we let it happen again. Both tracks featured on BBC and worldwide radio and for which British PM of the time Gordon Brown, wrote to thank him. Even the house he now calls home in central Bulgaria, used as a Partisan hide-out for anti-nazi resistance fighters throughout WW2, has brought him inspiration in the form of the song ‘Partisan.’ You begin to get the feeling Taylor needs this kind of connection to the past and a large helping of tragedy for both sustenance and creativity.
Taylor’s music urges us to question why atrocities happen, whether they are individual or collective. He takes tragedy, seemingly internalising the pain and then slowly from his depths comes something beautiful, skilful, deeply memorable and strangely- immensely listenable.
Cursty Hoppe, 2012.