Taylor knows the sort of place that gives her the strongest sense of belonging. She delivers that same assuredness in her music as well.
There’s something reassuring about artists who give off the sense that they know what they want out of life.
If Brit Taylor’s sophomore album Kentucky Blue is any indication, the Nashville-based singer/songwriter has defined her own terms when it comes to success, relationships and even geographic preference. She doesn’t hesitate to let us know, either.
Taylor sets the scene right out of the gate with ‘Cabin in the Woods,’ an ode to getting cozy by the fire in your favorite place. “Well,” she sings over a jaunty banjo-driven shuffle, “I wouldn’t trade it for a mansion on the hill / a condo in Cabo or a million dollar bill”.
Born and raised in Eastern Kentucky—where, as her bio points out, the legendary Country Music Highway 23 runs through the Appalachian Mountains—Taylor knows the sort of place that gives her the strongest sense of belonging. She delivers that same assuredness in her music as well.
On ‘Rich Little Girls,’ Taylor sings “Well everybody plays with the cards they’re dealt”, as drummer Miles Miller gently propels the anthemic vocal hook with a locomotive snare. “Everybody’s gotta work it out for their self / But I wouldn’t wanna be anybody else”—a firm statement on foregoing the superficial trappings of fame for something more rewarding and grounded.
By the same token, Taylor is willing to act on her restlessness, if need be. On ‘If You Don’t Wanna Love Me,’ a country-rock number that swaggers along via a deliciously nasty groove from Miller, Taylor lays her cards down on the table with a bluntness that would almost be comical if it weren’t so heartfelt. “[Maybe I’ll] bake someone else my biscuits / let ‘em try my gravy too”.
A self-starter by nature, Taylor took matters into her own hands after the collapse of her publishing deal, founding a cleaning business to fund her music before going on to secure new deals with publishing and distribution imprints. That she did this by assembling her entire team from scratch is a hallmark of the sober determination that runs through Kentucky Blue.
Hitting roadblocks early in her career has clearly had an impact on Taylor’s direction—not just in music, but in life. There’s an authenticity to the way she draws from setbacks, while the smooth production from Sturgill Simpson and David Ferguson ensures that the music washes down easily, as unobtrusive as it is relatable.
Ultimately, Kentucky Blue reminds us that being rich has little to do with actual wealth and more to do with staying true to what one values above all else—a crucial life lesson in an industry flooded with people all too eager to fulfil the expectations of others.
8.5 / 10.
Brit Taylor's 2023 album, Kentucky Blue, is released February 3rd via Cut A Shine Records. You can purchase the record from one of Holler's selected partners below:
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