“‘Devil N Me’ is thematic kin to Florence + The Machine’s ‘Shake It Off’ but shares sound qualities with the latest from Gary Clark Jr.—that’s to say, it’s pure, hot blues…There’s that sludgy guitar, smug harmonica… but there’s also weird pedal effects and a synthetic organ. Hollingsworth sings the blues in his gritty, old-school alto, repeating “I’ve got the devil in me” until it sounds like he’s finally expunged the evil from his insides.”
Following the Mystic Valley Band’s recent reunion shows and a cover of his 2013 song “Dominos” on the critically acclaimed Better Oblivion Community Center album (which was the only one non-original Oberst/Bridgers composition), Taylor Hollingsworth’s (Conor Oberst & the Mystic Valley Band, Dead Fingers, The Dexateens) new LP Tap Dancin’ Daddy is out August 2, 2019 on Flower Moon Records (the LA based label founded by Maria Taylor of Azure Ray). TDD is his first solo release under his own name since 2011, and coincides with his West Coast run with Better Oblivion Community Center this August. Pre-order bundles (available now) include a limited run 7” single on colored vinyl, tour exclusive cassettes, and (for those that are familiar with Taylor’s on stage mannerisms) limited edition bobble heads. Hollingsworth plays The Observatory in Santa Ana August 8th and the Wiltern in Los Angeles on August 9th, in support of Better Oblivion Community Center.
Hollingsworth’s solo recordings date back to 2003, ranging from weird lo-fi blues-pop (2003’s You Know That Summers Comin’ and 2011’s Where to Go, How to Get There and What You Should Know in Advance), to whiplash-shredding, 70’s-era sing-alongs (2005’s Tragic City), to flawlessly-fingerpicked-acoustic avalanche-of-tear ballads (2009’s Life With a Slow Ear). In 2007, Hollingsworth ended up in Tepoztlan, Mexico to work with Conor Oberst on what would become Conor’s self-titled solo debut. Taylor contributed several original songs to Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band’s (COMVB) 2009 Outer South including “Air Mattress” and “Snake Hill,” and “Central City” on 2012’s One of My Kind. Hollingsworth and his wife Kate released two records as Dead Fingers (recorded by Bruce Watson and released on Fat Possum records) and he’s has also recorded and/or toured with Maria Taylor, The Felice Brothers, The Dexateens, Monsieur Jeffrey Evans, Jack Oblivion, SDX and more.
Ten years on the road culminated with the Tecate-blur of a never-ending world tour with the Mystic Valley Band. When it was over, Hollingsworth went back home to Birmingham, Alabama to start a family, buy a home, and play local gigs around town to make ends meet. This is where Taylor rediscovered what truly made him happy was just the simple creation of art and songs – free of striving for “success.” He found comfort in the old school punk-rock DIY ethos and studied the minimalist folk & blues players who mastered playing to small rooms for the sole purpose of entertainment. Hollingsworth evolved his faster-than-hell-fuzzed-out style to be more folk-blues inspired finger-picking, preferring just a duo (guitar and drum) and incorporating a loop guitar pedal to keep the party atmosphere going late nights at local gigs. “I loved how the old blues guys used to be the house band somewhere, and they’d just play all the time, and go all night long. You can really get lost in the music that way.” It became even more fulfilling, plus it paid the bills and he got to sleep in his own bed every night. Tap Dancin’ Daddy was recorded and produced by Taylor in his humble wood-paneled basement studio in Alabama full of old gear he’s collected over the years and decorated with his weird and eclectic art. He still plays regularly in Birmingham at Marty’s PM, Little Italy, and Parkside, and you can often find him happily busking on downtown sidewalks for tips at local farmers markets, events, or parties.