Uncut - 9/03, p.1123 stars out of 5
- "...'Rain' and 'No More Running Away' are beautiful songs..."
The Ben Taylor Band: Ben Taylor (vocals, guitar); Zac Rae (guitar, keyboards, vibraphone); Joel Shearer (guitar); Chris Chaney (bass); Larry Ciancia (drums).
Additional personnel: Carly Simon, James Taylor (vocals); Andrew Scheps (guitar); Michael Kang (mandolin); Scott Gordon (harmonica); Angel Figuerora (percussion).
Producers include: Chris Chaney, Larry Ciancia, Scott Gordon, Zac Rae, Joel Shearer.
Personnel: Ben Taylor (vocals, guitar); Carly Simon (vocals); Zac Rae (guitar, keyboards, vibraphone); Joel Shearer (guitar, keyboards, programming); Andrew Scheps (guitar); Michael Kang (mandolin); Scott Gordon (harmonica); Larry Ciancia (drums); Angel Luis Figueroa (percussion).
Audio Mixer: Andrew Scheps.
Recording information: Atlanta Studios, Northridge, CA; Ben's House, Martha's Vineyard, MA; El Recordo Studios, Evergreen, CO; Margaritaville Studios, Hollywood, CA; Q Division, Boston, MA; Snowbound Studios, Pawling, NY.
Sometimes you actually can judge a book by its cover, or a man by his name, at least to a certain degree. Combining the youthful energy and attitude of Ben Harper with the smooth and airy vocal quality of his Dad, James Taylor, this rule of thumb seems to hold fairly true for Ben Taylor. Now, kids of famous musicians should never be given a free ride or an open door. They should pay their dues just like everyone else. Ben Taylor seems to have done so, inasmuch as a 25-year-old could. He's pulled together a talented band and strong production support. That's smart because it results in a sonically pleasing record. However, when you really dig into the songwriting, that's when you find a few missteps. These aren't bad songs. In fact, Taylor has some pretty decent, creative ideas swirling around in these folk-rock-pop melodies. Bad grammar for the sake of an easy rhyme, though, is never acceptable, and the chorus of "I Am the Sun" is rife with it. No wonder our kids score so low on standardized tests, or perhaps this is a case in point. Overall, Famous Among the Barns is no earth-shattering musical statement, but it's way better than a poke in the eye. ~ Kelly McCartney