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Daniel Amos

Kalhoun


Harvest Rock Syndicate July/August 1991
4 1/2 points out of 5
by Bruce A. Brown

So tell me something-does this guy Terry Taylor ever sleep? Sure, it's been four years since the last Da album (Darn Floor-Big Bite), but the guy hasn't exactly been taking an extended vacation. Since '87, Taylor hs spearheaded two Swirling Eddies projects, released another Rap'sures album, produced two albums for Jacob’s Trouble and two for 'scattered few,' supervised the reissue of vintage Daniel Amos live material (plug!), packaged an ersatz 'best of' disc (under the name of dr. Edward Daniel Taylor) and probably a dozen other things I forgot to mention. But when Brainstom (formerly Broken) came calling, Taylor had his choice-he could do a solo record, another Eddies disc, anything he liked. It seemed the time was right for a new Da album. How fortunate we are Taylor made that derision.
Kalhoun revisits several lyrical strands that Taylor has woven through his music over the years, even as far back as the first Daniel Amos album. Previously, in "Big Time, Big Deal' and "I Didn't Build It For Me,' Taylor cast a withering gaze at the hypocritical actions of some of the prominent representatives of modem American evangelical Christianity. Here, Terry directs that examination inward on "Big, Warm, Sweet, Interior Glowing." Songs such as “Real Girls” and “Rodeo Drive,” examined the facade most of us erect in order to show less of our true selves; "Virgin Falls" and "Tracking The Amorous Man" explore the duality of our nature in much the same way. Through "Prayer Wheel” and "Gate of the World,” Taylor reminds us that, due to the expanding "global village," electronically if not organically, we're more closely linked to each other than ever before. The title track, 'Father Explains" and "Gloryhound" explore various facets of our current administration's fascination with a "new world order;" indeed, "Father Explains" may be the most political song Terry Taylor has ever penned.
On a more intimate level, “It you Want To” is certainly one of Taylor's most endearing love songs, while “Note To Anaa” is a sad reminder that our human efforts to save someone are doomed to fail; only Christ can accomplish that. “I Will Return” takes the tale of “Mall All Over The World” to its apocalyptic conclusions. But Taylor is not merely "recycling" old storylines as a songwriting device; his lyrical growth and maturity are in evidence throughout the album.
Musically, Kalhoun displays a fascinating juxtaposition of sounds; it's Da "unplugged," yet simultaneously offering.some of the crunchiest guitar sounds since Alarma! or "I Love You# 19.” As the allram fades in on Ed McTaggart's brushes sweeping across his snare drum, you know you're in for a different Da. “Big, Warm, Sweet, Interior Glowing" is bruilt, as are many of the tunes, around Taylor's acoustic rhythm guitar.
"Kalhoun" blisters with Greg Flesch's electric guitar work, while “I Will Return” is driven by accordion and ethereal vocals. The rhythmic cello part on "Tracking The Amorous Man" recalls E.L.O., and "Gloryhound" is buoyed by steel guitar licks. But these musical quirks never seem like tricks, simply minor embellishments. Kalhoun was cut live in the studio for the most part and the organic feel of four musi- cians playing as one is quite sublime.
When you call anything an artist's "best" that automatically raises the public's expectations. But Kalhoun certainly contains several of the best songs Terry Taylor has ever written, and musically, it is one of the bands most satisfying performances.