Amid the Crash
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Amid the Crash

Austin, Texas, United States | SELF

Austin, Texas, United States | SELF
Band Rock Alternative


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Amid the Crash - EP Review"

Amid The Crash
Song List: The Only Road I Know, 'Til I Return, The Great Endeavor, Might Fall, Another Day, Waiting For You
Amid The Crash is an eponymous debut album built upon a two impressive pillars: the phenomenal musicianship of the band's members and the indomitable spirituality of lyricist/guitarist/vocalist, J.R. Taylor. The album is clearly inspired by Taylor's devout Christianity, and it is rock music. Yet it lies far from "Christian rock," even with the great variety that genre has enjoyed in recent decades.

There are many roads that promise hope but there's only one that leads me home. "The Only Road I Know"

Taylor writes with a mission. His words' serious tone are not random utterances woven around random melodies. There exists a purpose in Amid The Crash's songs, to explain one man's passion and the resulting ups, downs, and challenges derived from it. What does not come through in the lyrics is the joy you might expect from a religiously based album. There is no ever-present smile here, no hand-holding strains of "Kumbaya." Those may surface on future recordings (though I doubt it), but Amid The Crash focuses almost entirely on our souls' work to be done, on the difficulties of striving yet coming up short, and on the struggle of a high-striving plight that ends with the realization that we are all still humans...imperfect in every way.

Here I am, crying out, hoping I have surrendered, but it seems I can't let go all the way. "'Til I Return"

I also do not want to convey that Amid The Crash is an exercise in self-loathing and negativity. Quite the opposite, in fact. The positivity just emanates not so much from song lyrics as it does from the music itself. The significant uplifting vibe comes almost entirely from the melodic structures and the ensemble's musical performance. While "Waiting For You" somberly refers to the Rapture, "we are waiting for You while the sun is fading away and the moon is turned to blood," the band is all-out wailing on their instruments amidst a wall of major chord delight. Similarly, the album opens with a sonically inspirational "The Only Road I Know," its swayable groove and soft vocal leading nicely into a crisp, sweet-melodied chorus.

Earth and sky will fade but what you say will stay. "The Great Endeavor"

What cannot be emphasized enough, aside from the lyrics, topics, chords, and moods, is that these three men can play their instruments. "'Til I Return" may be Taylor's most impressive song, vocally, simply for the power he demonstrates during the choruses. On guitar, his speed impresses frequently, as do his varying combinations of effects, achieving just the right tone for each song. Jim Shields' bass playing compliments Taylor's guitar, at times doubling it on hairy harmony leads. On the rhythm front, though, Shields also lays down mind-numbing grooves—not as eratic as Les Claypool but every bit as impressive. And on drums, Ty Cobb is a living, breathing machine, pulling off fills of blazing speed amidst multi-metered grooves without missing a note (and he's as spot-on live as in the studio). For a musician, Amid The Crash brings smiles similar to pulling out an old King's X record. When players are just monsters on their instruments, it makes for fun listening.

Still a struggle lies within my heart and my doubt; if I weren't so afraid of falling I could just let go. "Might Fall"

But Amid The Crash is about the songs—what they mean, why they were written, and why a listener would want to hear the songs time after time on their iPod. And that's where it all comes together: these songs are not just for devout Christians looking for a rock music fix. The album is for anyone who's experienced inner conflict, has been disappointed at their own shortcomings, or wants to believe there's a grander purpose to it all. Though Taylor writes of his experience in his own religious context, his stories represent a human experience to which we can all relate.

12.13.2008 - Wiley Koepp - Wiley Koepp, Coyote Music

"Amid the Crash - Live Review"

Live at Austin Christian Fellowship (Austin, TX)
Song List: The Only Road I Know, 'Til I Return, The Great Endeavor, Might Fall, Another Day, Waiting For You

In a city where you can find an indie band CD release party as easily as a decent Tex-Mex restaurant (and I've gone to dozens of both), on Friday night I saw one of the best entirely homegrown CD release shows since arriving in Austin seventeen years ago. The phrase, "can you come to my/our/my-boyfriend's/this-dude's/a-kickass CD release party," can result in many things. But usually, it involves a small gathering of friends and family at any one of Austin's many downtown music venues. You fight traffic, pay for parking, pay your cover, then watch the band play in a dirty, smelly room (at midnight on a Sunday) in which they've had about 20 minutes to throw their gear onstage and pray that the sound guy's worked the venue for more than a week. Then, if all goes well, their weeks of rehearsal isn't sabotaged by a terrible mix and you get about five minutes to visit with the band before the next band (usually of an entirely different genre) plays and your buddy's band needs to rush their gear out into their double-parked cars before they're towed. Charming, ain't it?

Amid The Crash has been there and done that in their former existence as Room 213. Now, a bit older and wiser, taking more pride in their music than to roll the dice with a venue over which they have no control of environment/sound/time/date/etc., Amid The Crash put together a stellar CD release performance. Through their ties at Austin Christian Fellowship, and with the gracious help of a number of devoted friends, the band planned and pulled off a flawless night of music and celebration of their self-titled debut CD. Utilizing the church's youth building, the band took a full week (a step-up from 20 minutes!) to set-up—they tweaked the stage, sound, lights, projection screen, and prepared a multi-camera video shoot of the entire show. They also set-up a well-laid-out atrium complete with food, beverages, and merchandise booth that you might find at a U2 or KISS show: multiple flatscreen TVs cycling through photos of the band, traditional CD/shirt/sticker sales, and a laptop computer available for either signing-up on the mailing list or ordering a CD online from

So there's the set-up and blueprint for other bands reading this. Let's get into the show...

The Austin Christian Fellowship youth building morphs very well into an impressive mid-size (300+ capacity) music hall. The lighting rigs are better than most Austin music venues and an impressive-sized projection screen serves as a backdrop behind the stage. The ample free parking is a pleasant change from downtown or SoCo, as well. So perhaps local bands could look into utilizing this venue, though without a draw of at least 100, the room would swallow you up.

The stage layout is open, sans curtains, raised about two feet above the room floor. Amid The Crash enters the room from the back of the building to the applause and delight of the crowd. Drummer Ty Cobb's kit sits stage left, facing center stage toward lead singer and guitarist J.R. Taylor. Bassist Jim Shields takes stage right. The band tears immediately into "The Only Road I Know," a smooth, driving opener played even tighter and crisper than I remember their impressive shows during the Room 213 days. The projection screen broadcasts a beautiful view of a bright daytime partly cloudy sky, a vision as crystal clear as the band's flawless opening-number performance.

"'Til I Return" begins with Shields laying down a pulsating 16th-note bass line that drives right into a dizzying bass/lead-guitar harmony with Taylor's voice soaring impressively above it all. The crowd delights in the music, pushed to the limit with Cobb's machine-gun-perfect drum chops wowing the crowd, who now comfortably fill the room. Between songs Taylor speaks seriously, almost somberly, sharing his thoughts and beliefs that inspire each song's lyrics.

Leading into "Might Fall," he quotes John 8:32, "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free." Continuing, "even though my chains have been broken, I cling to them. If I weren't so afraid of falling, I could let go. But I just can't shake this fear that I might fall." Accompanying Taylor's intense spiritual inspiration is Amid The Crash's jaw-dropping musicianship, displayed prominently throughout "Might Fall." Music critiques routinely use "blistering" to describing picking technique like Taylor's. The song recesses into airy sections with the above lyrics, then peaks into multiple frenzies of razor-sharp stops and starts.

Amid The Crash hasn't put together a pop show—this crowd may not walk away singing a chorus to any one particular song, which almost seems to be intended. These aren't pop songs. Taylor has written a collection of six 3-to-6-minute lessons...his own lessons, certainly, but not ones he's yet mastered. Just as writing is a process, so are these songs. They're not to be decoded immediately, revealing a single, simple, ultimate answer. Instead, the listener learns just as Taylor has: always taking in more, but never becoming all-knowing.

Leading into the final song, Taylor conveys, "This song touches the heart of the Amid The Crash. How long must we continue to see children starving? How long must we lose those we love? We're waiting for you." The closing number is the most exploratory of them all—Taylor singing in falsetto, a more plodding and less precise rhythmic structure, and in a major key (at least to begin with) as opposed to some darker vibes in other songs. As Taylor explodes into lightning fast arpeggios, a crowd of teen boys front-and-center simultaneously drop their jaws in awe, looking at each other in disbelief, one mouthing, "did you see that?!" The boys were wowed as I am, though they may hope to shred as Taylor has, whereas I hope that independent bands take notice of this entire evening: Amid The Crash has set the bar incredibly high when it comes to pulling off an impressive and successful CD release show. They haven't settled for any aspect of what the music scene offers to new bands. They have taken musical matters into their own hands and created a performance worthy of the time and effort put into Amid The Crash.

12.07.2008 - Wiley Koepp
- Wiley Koepp, Coyote Music


Amid the Crash - self titled EP.
Available on itunes.
Music Video for "The Only Road I Know" by Amid the Crash on YouTube.



Amid the Crash is a trio of musicians who grew up together in San Antonio, Texas, and have written and performed music together since their teens with various groups. Having released their self-titled debut CD in December 2008, Amid The Crash creates their own buzz via their impressive performances that prominently feature their collective stellar musicianship and Taylor's spiritually inspired lyrics.

Their self-titled E.P. establishes the band’s eclectic blend of power and nuance to communicate a message of hope in a world of suffering and injustice.

"Amid The Crash is about the songs—what they mean, why they were written, and why a listener would want to hear the songs time after time on their iPod. And that’s where it all comes together: these songs are not just for devout Christians looking for a rock music fix. The album is for anyone who’s experienced inner conflict, has been disappointed at their own shortcomings, or wants to believe there’s a grander purpose to it all.”
– Wiley Koepp, Coyote Music

Amid the Crash is available to play Christian and Rock Festivals and special events.
J.R. Taylor (Vocals, Guitars, Writer, Producer) leads the worship ministry at Austin Christian Fellowship, a church in Austin, TX with over 1,500 in weekly attendance. He has recently been selected to tour throughout the U.S. and Canada as guitarist with award-winning singer/songwriter Geoff Moore. From the other side of the microphone, with his company TaylorAudio, he has engineered for some of the world’s greatest musicians including Styx and Allan Holdsworth as well as multiple projects for Disney Records. J.R. is currently promoting his new solo instrumental guitar EP, En Plein Air, while writing and recording AtC's full-length follow-up CD. J.R. endorses Carvin Guitars.

Jim Shields (Bass) has performed with TaylorWise, Matchmaker Band, Lindsey Kane, Amy Boudreaux, Austin Metro Band with Meredith Andrews, Jerry Wise, Chloe's Honey and Room 213. Jim holds a B.A. in Radio-TV-Film from The University of Texas at Austin. He is also the Video Production Leader at Austin Christian Fellowship in Austin, TX. Jim was previously the Senior Editor at Varsity Media and has worked on the short films The Ring of Rocks (The Austin 48 Hour Film Project, Judges Award, 2009) and Highway 71.

Ty Cobb (Drums) has played with numerous bands including TaylorWise, Matchmaker Band, Video Killed the Radio Star, Room 213, Jerry Wise and Tenfold. Ty is also a guest drummer for several churches in the Austin area, as well as a regular at his home church, Austin Christian Fellowship. He is a Project Manager at Texas Capital Partners and currently teaches private drum lessons at his studio in Austin, TX.