Album Review - Lara Taubman - Revelation

Lara Taubman evokes music of the past, while embracing the present on her strong debut.
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When Lara Taubman was growing up, she had a serious interest in art -- painting to be specific -- and, envisioning a career in visual arts, went to college to pursue that dream. She eventually became an art critic and curator and studied cultural theory in graduate school, but she heard a call when she was cleaning of all things that said, "If you don't have children, you will probably be OK with that, but if you don't sing in a serious, committed way, you will regret it on your deathbed." Taubman heeded the call.

Music had always been a part of Taubman's life growing up in Southern Virginia, particularly old time music and, in September 2018, Taubman made her way to Wolfe Island Records studio to record her own music. The result of these efforts is her debut album, Revelation, a haunting collection that has earned comparisons to the likes of Joni Mitchell and Gillian Welch.

The album opens with "Sound Of Heartbreak," a warm track with acoustic guitars, mandolins and pedal steel leading the way. Taubman offers a gentle vocal and her strong voice echoes the lyrics and the song's title. "Desert Boy" follows with its piano and delicately brushed drums. A beautiful love song with a longing vocal, the track's organ gives it a bit of a gospel feel. Taubman's excellent lyrics take center stage in "The Conversation," where she catches up with a friend she hasn't seen in some time while the beautifully orchestrated "Heartbreak Garden" finds Taubman giving an emotional vocal about loves and times lost.

The hypnotic "Snakes In The Snow" uses feedback and droning notes to accompany a dramatic vocal and an ominous bass line. Taubman's voice is one that compels you to listen, making for a standout track on the album. Taubman accompanies herself on acoustic guitar on the haunting title track, showing she needs little more than her voice and a guitar to command the listener's attention. The song makes for a strong closing to a strong record.

With an album as strong as Revelation, fans may wonder why Taubman took so long to get in the recording studio in the first place. With her powerful, emotive vocals, insightful lyrics, and smartly arranged songs, Taubman has crafted an album that sounds like an old friend, blending elements of old time music with modern sensibilities. Well worth a listen.