Clad in a black leather cowboy hat and sporting a long, pointed beard, Dudley Taft picks up his guitar, retrieves a pick from its headstock, and blazes through a collection of twelve tracks infused with rock n’ roll riffs, sonic textures and musical diversity. Taft’s new album Simple Life to be released on September 6 and will be available on vinyl, CD and digitally.
On his sixth full-length independent solo album, Simple Life the singer, songwriter, guitarist, and producer delivers contemplative songwriting between bouts of howling guitar and delicate delivery. For the album, Taft enlisted the talents an all-star cast of musicians to round out the sound, including drummers Walfredo Reyes JR. [Santana, Chicago, Steve Winwood], Summer Rain collaborator Mike Taponga, and newcomer Chris Ellison. Kasey Williams laid down the bass with John Kessler making an appearance on the tracklisting’s sole cover, “If Heartaches Were Nickels,” originally by Warren Haynes.
“I’m enjoying the Simple Life right,” says Taft. “The songs are about being in love. It’s real. It’s natural. It’s me. It’s probably my most honest record. I freed myself from all of those self-imposed structures and allowed the music to happen.”
He introduces the record with the first single “Give Me A Song.” Upheld by a hummable riff and thick groove, the track struts towards a chantable chorus in between a spell of plainspoken poetry. “It’s lighthearted and fun musically,” he explains. “The verses are about my first terrible marriage before the joy of my new relationship. I want to be in love. I want what that first relationship should’ve been, and I got it.”
Meanwhile, the title track espouses the benefits of unplugging. Written on a trip to the Bahamas with his nose in a Michael Crichton book, “Simple Life” captures the essence of the record. “I was down in the Bahamas reading, and I thought, ‘Man, this is awesome,'” he recalls. “We get no reception unless we climb up on a hill, so it felt nice. Managing your digital self and this accelerated news cycle gets to be too much. I’m a city dude. I love visiting and living in cities, but at some point, your mind has an allergic reaction, and you need to decompress. That’s what this album is about.”