Personnel: Angel Taylor (vocals, piano); Gary Jules (guitar, mandolin, background vocals); Mikal Blue (guitar, piano, organ, Hammond b-3 organ, Wurlitzer organ, background vocals); Jason Reeves (guitar, background vocals); Chris Bruce, Andrew Williams , Andrew Dixon, Greg Suran (guitar); Eric Hosler, Alyssa Park, Nina Evtuhov, Eric J. Hosler, Josefina Vergara (violin); Samuel Formicola, Shanti Randall (viola); Kevan Torfeh, Victor Lawrence (cello); Brian Carr, Brendan James, Dave Palmer (piano, organ, Hammond b-3 organ, Wurlitzer organ); Brian Macleod , Victor Indrizzo (drums); Luis Conte (percussion).
Audio Mixer: Mikal Blue.
Recording information: Revolver Studios, Westlake Village, CA.
Those who think this Angel Taylor is the same woman who dominated the gospel charts as a member of Trin-i-Tee 5:7 may be disappointed with the release of Love Travels, an album from a completely different Angel Taylor. However, that disappointment would probably only come from those who didn't expect the coffeehouse-style of Love Travels; those who know what to expect from this album will probably be quite satisfied. In fact, those who have ever liked any recording by Colbie Caillait, Kate Voegele, or Sara Bareilles will probably be more than just satisfied with this album, seeing as Taylor plays in the exact same style as all these acoustic beauties. The tunes carry the summery, everyday feel of Caillait's release Coco, with the musical charisma that adorns Bareilles' debut Little Voice. What distinguishes Taylor from the bulk of her contemporaries is her gorgeous voice, which is a little more expansive and sweeter in the high notes (like a fresh Natasha Bedingfield). Taylor's beats also are a little meatier, and her lyrics are just a smidge sharper. The music feels polished without feeling cold, and highlights include the rocked-up "Spinning Wheels," "All Lost at C," and the first track, "Chai Tea Latte." The lead single, "Make Me Believe," is a juicy sampling of the style of music that has grown thanks to the bounty of Starbucks coffeeshops that are popping up every hour, but isn't necessarily definitive or reshaping. In that sense, a large part of Love Travels is really good; in fact, it's quite excellent if given an attentive listen, but it's certainly not super unique. Even when the album breaks out of the acoustic box, like on "Epiphany," the results are commendable and valuable, but not revolutionizing. That's hardly a bad thing, but with so much of this kind of music finding its way into the market in 2009, it's important to make your album worth a listen. Love Travels is definitely worth a listen, or two, or even 20, but it doesn't so much show greatness as it does market an artist who can find greatness on her next release. ~ Matthew Chisling