A Briefing for the Ascent

Album Reviews

On Being 1987

by Martin Fawkes

For the Christian, the death of a loved one brings a sense of bittersweet joy/sadness as we juggle the sense of loss (of life) and gain (of Life).

Deep within the hearts of all who love Christ, there is a longing to taste Life, despite the trauma of transition.

Terry Taylor's allegorical A Briefing for the Ascent is a lyrical and sensitive concept album artistically detailing the trauma and hope of Christian death.

Written in the two weeks prior to the passing of his own grandmother, and initially sung to her on her deathbed, there is a poignancy in presentation that could only come from one who has wrestled with grief.

Taylor's love of the three-minute pop song format shines throughout, each song introspective but filled with tender sweetness.

The closing songs are simple, empotional and uncontrived, but quite arresting in tying the album concept together and leaving the listener longing for Heaven.

Cross Rhythms April 20, 2011

by Matt

This solo album from the great mind behind DA and the Siwrling Eddies is totally wonderful.

Terry Taylor has always been such a talented man of the Lord, I cant believe how few people know about him, especially when he puts special and moving albums like this out.

A Briefing For The Ascent is a beautiful album. The tunes are all so lovely and really connect with me. I am more of an acoustic man overall, but this guy and his groups just fulfill on every level every time.

This is pop rock at its very best. A Briefing For The Ascent is of particular note, a gorgeous track with some amazing production. Terry's soulfulness of voice here too add to the impact of the record.

My Love, my Love is another beautiful track, with some great guitar work that makes the whole thing sparkle. And the lyric is a wonderful love poem. This man knows how to write soul stirring tear jerking songs.

The short but sweet climax of Going Home is just perfect, and "Long Long Long" is done freshly and with soul. "Where Dreams Come True" is another standout. But what am I saying? The whole record is hugely effective, with a strong linking theme which is totally evident in the title track. Terry has blown my socks off again. I cant wait to see and hear him do it again. DA, The Lost Dogs, Swirling Eds and the man himself are all phenomenal stuff indeed.

Oh yeah, have I told you this album is gorgeous?

CCM May 1987

by Brian Quincy Newcomb

"I die a little every day I lieve," sings Terry Taylor in his second solo album, A Briefing for the Ascent. Like last year's Knowledge & Innocence, Taylor's attention is turned to subjects deeply personal and conceptual, and again the music is subdued when compared to his band DA. Addressing essentially the same concerns that spawned 1 Thessalonians 4:13ff that some "have fallen asleep" - a Christian's response to death - A Briefing for the Ascent finds Taylor passing throug a picture gallery on the edge of the Wildwood, a reference point in Knowledge & Innocence where each pictures moves viewers toward the acceptance of their own mortality.

While songs like the title track, "The Wood Between the Worlds," "My Love, My Love," and "Capture Me" stand out, they are inextricably tied to the whole of the piece, encapsulating the album's strengths and weaknesses. The problem with any concept album, especially one about the reality of death and coping with the loss of loved ones, is that it's not always what you want to listen to even through certain songs are quite appealing. This is a limiting factor that fans of Taylor ought to be used to.

Taylor has shaken the Lennon-isms that have often overriden his own creative urges and here evokes the balladeer stance, taking one step closer to the Beach Boys than to Bryan Ferry. At times, the other-worldly sounds of synths and lilting guitars are just too much and you wish for a syncopated measure to hang your interest on, but essentially it is the deeply personal and reflective nature of the material that will make or break listeners. While hard-core DA fans may weather the quiet of low tide, it will take more from the often enigmatic and entertaining Taylor to draw in new appreciators.

Reviews provided thanks to the writers, magazines and newspapers listed as well as fans that have helped us collect them - Martin Fawkes, Todd Swisher