Rachel Taylor-Beales
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Rachel Taylor-Beales

Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom | INDIE

Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom | INDIE
Band Folk Singer/Songwriter

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'Musically exquisite and enthralling, crystal production and musicianship full of absorbing ideas' - BBC Radio 4


It's the duty of all critics to compare any female musical artist to either Bjork or Joni Mitchell. At least that's what you'd assume if you regularly read the press. Of course this lazy and rampant compartmentalism doesn't do justice to many an independently minded performer such as Rachel Taylor-Beales, whose colour trilogy, has defied any easy tag from the start. 'Dust & Gold' now completes this intriguing series and offers up more of Rachel's idiosyncrasies in the shape of jazz-inflected storytelling, lush balladry and rootsy rambles.

'Turnaround Town' relays a childhood experience about a chance encounter with an Aboriginal women in the suburbs of Western Australia. Along with her trips up to Mt. Macedon in the opener ('Child Of The Sun') it's immediately apparent, once again, that Rachel's travelogue of dramas and dreams are couched in the raw detail of her own story. The overall mood is more optimistic than the previous albums, with a touch more lightness to the arrangements and narratives; even when reflecting on tough times a soothing refrain is closer than before. And there's a new found steeliness, as well as ready made encore, in the shape of 'Here We Go Now'.

There's no shortage of talent in her latest studio team with the main contribution coming from Dylan Fowler, an accomplished multi-instrumentalist. Dylan also handled all elements of the superbly vibrant production without losing any of the inherent intimacy. For examples, look no further than a trio of slow-burning ballads - 'Sing It Out', 'Come On In' and 'Dust And Gold', which act as a scintillating climax to the series.

Rachel now inhabits her own exclusive genre as her influences have become less overt over time - always the mark of a true artist. Her musical world is now a seamless soundtrack to her personal journey and a glowing fulfilment of her artistry.

David Kushar - Spiral Earth



No "difficult second album" worries for Rachel Taylor-Beales. 'Brilliant Blue', the Cardiff-based singer/songwriter's 2007 debut, was a lovely piece of work, but 'Red Tree' -- the second in a planned colour trilogy -- is a more than worthy successor. Playing acoustic and electric guitars, banjo, harmonica, piano and soprano sax with equal skill and grace, Taylor-Beales has also found some fine collaborators in fellow Welsh troubador Martyn Joseph, who produced and engineered the CD and guests on most of the tracks, and cellist Charlotte Eksteen among others. The consistently high standard of the writing and singing makes it hard to choose standout tracks: maybe the wry 'What If I Said?', with Joseph's slide guitar and lonesome harmonica echoing the song's wide-open imagery, or maybe 'Liberty', a bluesy number that ends with a gorgeously full-bodied hummed gospel chorus backed by tasteful banjo twangs. But oh, it's all good. Just have a listen and you'll see.

Sarah McQuaid

- Irish Herald


Starting her performance of hauntingly beautiful slow paced tunes she blissfully stroked your body into silent submission to her talent. Poetically soulful her songs build up to a fever pitch until they end, gently letting you come down to rest like a leaf softly touching the earth. Joined by two other musicians they create textured patterns between the cello, piano, guitar, flute and Rachel's whispering hushed vocal style, heightened during the song liberty in which she directs the audience in a subtle humming choir finale. Rachel's Red Tree CD is available through her website (www.racheltaylor-beales.com ) and I promise will be one of the best purchases you'll make this year. - Plugged in Magazine


www.spiralearth.co.uk


If I ever found myself on a soul searching journey through the Australian outback this music would be a worthy companion. It's scorched emotional sentiment and warmly embracing melodies produce their own heat haze and wide horizon lines. It would be well suited to the harsh conditions as this isn't casual music but exquisite sounds murmuring from the out of the shadows.

This is Rachel Taylor-Beales second instalment in a planned trilogy of colour themed albums. Partly inspired by 'The Red Tree' story book written and illustrated by Australian Author Shaun Tan that charts one girl's journey of hope. It includes two tracks that were composed in collaboration with poet and BBC radio 4’s Broadcaster, Stewart Henderson, as well as one track written by Bill Taylor-Beales. Whereas in the studio she has been working alongside the Welsh troubadour, Martyn Joseph. Not only is he contributing on a multitude of instruments but he produces, mixes and engineers the whole affair.

Part of the natural progression of Rachel's work is the emergence of a gospel and bluegrass hybrid. Something that was always strongly hinted at before has now reached fruition with 'Liberty' and 'Please Don't Pass Me By'. It's characterized by willowy patterns of notes and deft cello that cradle Rachel's smooth vocal tones.

Elsewhere it's noticeable that the style of Rachel’s singing has altered, revealing bluesy inflections and a new found confidence. It focuses the emphasis on the all important narrative which is chosen over any conventional verse/chorus formats. Some of the evocative prose is wonderfully stark against the gentle arpeggios. The title track tells us that 'hope twists on a tyre swing' and elsewhere feelings are still frayed: 'like a part of me missing, like a part of me aching, like a part of me lost'.

Charlotte Eksteen’s cello parts were the last to be recorded and I can only agree with Rachel that, ’her contributions have taken the album to another level'. For Rachel's own playing the guitar is often more favoured for this album yet she still holds some melodic trump cards at the piano. 'Something Aches' is a masterpiece of vocal phrasing with a strong dose of her trademark surges of bubbling notes, lapping at the edges of the words.

Events build to a crescendo of searing emotional intensity on 'Lately'. A blunt piano note is repetitively hit as part of a stunningly moving coda where Rachel lets fly with 'God knows. Been running'.

It's a courageous moment when an artist puts their creativity into the public arena and Rachel can be justifiably proud. As the boundaries melt away from her playing we can hear her creative intuition being met in perfect union with her technical abilities. It may be a turbulent world, with only chinks of light, and yet 'Red Tree' is a liberating listen. It should be welcomed with open arms, ears and eyes.

David Kushar - Spiral Earth


During a major trawl around Australia with a performing Arts Company Rachel Taylor-Beales and her husband Bill decided never to get 'proper' jobs. That bold decision led them through many a venue downunder, then onto the UK and the states.Currently with their restless spirit sufficiently in check they are based in Cardiff. It's from here that Rachel has established herself as a solo artist. Having initially self-released her debut album 'Brilliant Blue' it quickly caught the eye and ear of Martyn Joseph. Now she has the honour of being the first signing to Martyn's own Pipe Records.The album opens at it's most ethereal with rainfall and haunting vocals on 'For the Day'. It's a brave introduction and must be a difficult sound to capture. Rachel's supplies her own haunting soprano sax line. Elsewhere in the studio her duties include guitar and keyboards.Roaming piano, syncopated guitar and even marimbas usher in further tracks. All prove to be a worthy accompaniment for Rachel's soulful voice. The supporting cast, which includes the multi-skilled Bill deserve rich reward for their sterling work.The title track is a fine example of her own blend of avant-folk topped off with perfect beat poetry. It beautifully describes some captured moments,'The scene is one sunday afternoon and the sun shines through brilliant blue.'The lyrics on all of the tracks continue in the same effortless vein. They transcend the more haphazard musings of others and hint at a rich life history with their wry observations.Numerous people have swayed Rachel's sound. She can sail pretty close to Tori Amos on 'Cut' and 'Shuttle Bus 38' and 'Oh Sister' would sit nicely on any Gillian Welch album. This isn't wanton plagiarism though. Her tracks can turn on a few pivotal notes and take you elsewhere. Once you've been through Ani Difranco, Kristin Hersch and Joni Mitchell you give up on thoughts of reproduction. This is Rachel's own sound and it is totally convincing.It would be churlish to critisize but the closer '10,000 Miles' lacks a little melodic punch despite being a funked up fuzz workout. What it does reveal though is that she has ideas to spare.Martyn Joseph has made an astute decision to sign Rachel Taylor-Beales. 'Brilliant Blue' shows off a rare and majestic contemporary talent. It's time to indulge yourself and be dazzled.

David Kushar - www.spiralearth.co.uk


‘Singer-songwriter' has become an unwelcome phrase of late, tarnished by the high-on-saccharine sentiment, low-on-sincerity bleatings of Damien Rice et al. Even wet army chump-cum-troubadour James Blunt has been leaving bored housewives and impressionable teens swooning at the cliff edge with the heartbreak-by-numbers of ‘Beautiful’. And Christ, Alanis Morissette has deemed it appropriate to commemorate the tenth anniversary of her debut 'Jagged Little Pill' with a newly recorded acoustic live version on sale only at Starbucks. It feels like the end of the world. Lucky, then, that there are still songwriters to cherish. Step forward Rachel Taylor-Beales. While the obvious reference points are clear to see - the narrative walkways and heart-wrenching resignation of Joni Mitchell, Carole King’s ear for cascading pop melody – there’s a prodigious talent in the making here, swaying between dexterous acoustic flourishes and dusty jazz arrangements. The moniker for her debut album – ‘Brilliant Blue’ – says it all: stark, striking and coldly affecting. (Tim Bailey) - Venue Magazine


www.americana-uk
8 out of 10
Thea Gilmore has, for quite sometime now, been Britain’s female solo artist you’re allowed to like. Well, there’s a new kid on the block – enter Rachel Taylor-Beales. ‘Brilliant Blue’ is her debut solo album and , for want of a better description, it’s brilliantly blue. Easily as blue as Joni Mitchell’s Blue, if not more so. Here are ten torch songs put together with a whole bunch of of heart, everyone an understated epic of economy and emotion. Flitting between piano and acoustic guitar, each song is tear-drenched odyssey with Beales’ battered vocals surely a lesson in soulfullness that Norah Jones might want to attend. - Americana UK


I first came across Rachel Taylor-Beales when she supported Martyn Joseph and Stewart Henderson on their “Because We Can” tour. I was completely captivated by Cardiff-based singer songwriter and her distinctive voice and unique songs. “Brilliant Blue” is her first release and it’s a strong album, a million miles from the vacuous acoustic-pop that so often characterises modern singer-songwriters. Rachel’s singing is supported by subtle textures of a spectrum of instruments including acoustic guitar and jazzy bass, cello, flute and percussion. I found it difficult to pick out any one track as a particular favourite, I found myself listening to the album in its entirety each time I put it into the CD player. At a push, I’d pick out “Prayer for a Friend” and the title track, perhaps, but it’s one of the most coherent albums I’ve listened to in a long time. There are overtones of Beth Orton, Joni Mitchell and, to my ears, even Nick Cave and Tom Waits. These are songs that demand to be listened to and, indeed, deserve to reach a wide audience. A new talent, then, and one I look forward to hearing a lot more from. - Taplas Magazine


The first signing to Martyn Joseph's label, Taylor-Beales is no newcomer to the scene, having spent the last decade touring between the UK and Australia. These days she's based in Joseph's hometown of Cardiff, variously performing solo or with a varying line up of musicians. This though is her first album, a collection of 10 songs that display the folk, jazz and rock influences that vein her music and have picked up references to Nick Drake, Joni Mitchell and Tori Amos.
There's a lovely airy feel to arrangements that add flute (beautifully so on the featherlight dancing steps of Attic Girl), marimba, trumpet, cello and Spanish guitar to her own bedrock of guitar, piano and sax while the songs themselves play out into storylines about relationships, life on the road and finding yourself.
Despite the leafy Drake comparisons that feed into the material, its the acoustic American roots that sound strongest here with the jazzy folk of The Altar, the rippling backwoods feel of Prayer For My Friend, The Romantic Insomniac or the blues-spirituals Oh Sister which gives the Be Good Tanyas a run for their money. Jospeh says he was stopped in his tracks when he first hear her, understandable really with a flexible Norah Jones-like smoky voice that can easily convey yearning fresh innocence on Super Glue and seasoned, battered experience with the title track.
If the opening For The Day displays her skill at creating a mood, she's adept at evoking images too; take a listen to the Mitchell-esque Shuttle Bus 38 where she snapshots a piano drawn portrait of downtown San Francisco with its jazz man honky tonking in the harbour band stand, pawn lady, one legged clown and talk of 'conspiracy theories, bullfights and poetry'. As a hidden bonus, she also revisits the track for a woodsmoked version that pushes the piano away and invites in guitar, percussion and woodwind to ring the variations and transform the song into a completely different listening experience.
With the closing, fuzzed guitar 10,000 Miles showing she can do a solid piece of muscular clatter as well as the atmospheric acoustics, she's patently got talent to spare and, on the evidence of this album, it shouldn't be long before the rest of the discerning listening world shares Joseph's understandable awe.
Mike Davies, July 2006 - Net Rhythms


'With Rachel Taylor-Beales, not only do you get acutely crafted and captivating songs, but oh, that voice, with its power and delicacy. Such quality of interpretation, the kind that results in fan mail from angels. A rich and tender talent'.
Stewart Henderson, BBC Radio 4 presenter

Bob Harris, BBC Radio 2
Lovely!

Rachel's session for BBC radio Wales was full of her beautifully sung compositions, in a Joni Mitchell style but with a knowing introspection that makes you smile.
Chris Kneebone, BBC Wales producer of the Saturday Social

'A talent to celebrate'
Frank Henessey, BBC Wales, Celtic Heart Beat
- BBC UK


Discography

RACHEL TAYLOR-BEALES AND HER EXTRAORDINARY COLLECTIVE LIVE AT NEWPORT UNIVERSITY 2012

Live Album Released on Hushland August 1st 2012
Engineered and recorded by Bill Taylor-Beales
WWW.BILLTAYLOR-BEALES.COM
Produced, mixed and mastered by Rachel and Bill Taylor-Beales @ Hushland Studios Cardiff 2012
WWW.HUSHLAND.COM

Dust and Gold
Full Length Album Released May 29th 2010
on Hushland Records
Produced and engineered By Dylan Fowler @ Studio Felin Fach

Red Tree
Full Length Album released on Hushland
May 21st 2008
Produced and engineered by Martyn Joseph

Brilliant Blue:
Full Length Album released on Pipe Records 2006
produced by Bill Taylor-Beales
mixed and mastered by Terry Lewis, Tinderbox Broadcast and Studios

Tracks that have received BBC Radio play within the UK
From Dust and Gold Album :
Digging Song/ Feathers and Flowers/ Come On In/ Here We Go
From Red Tree Album:
Liberty / What if I said?/ Find Me/ Red Tree
From Brilliant Blue Album
Super Glue / Brilliant Blue / Shuttle Bus 38

(plus many more on independent and internet streaming stations)

Photos

Bio

BIO (100 WORDS)
Rachel Taylor-Beales is a singer songwriter and multi instrumentalist whose narratives are a blend of quirky melody and sublime harmony driven with a crystalline voice that meets at a crossroads of folk, roots, blues and jazz.

Born into a family of musicians both classical and contemporary, by the age of 12 Rachel had lived in 13 different houses and had relocated five times between Australia and the UK. Now Cardiff based she performs internationally both solo and with a collective of virtuoso musicians.

She is currently preparing a major collaborative project to follow her trilogy of critically acclaimed albums.

www.racheltaylor-beales.com

Bob Harris, BBC 2 Saturday Program 'Highly recommended!'

BBC Radio 4 'Musically exquisite and enthralling"

www. netrhythms. co. uk
An articulate, literate songsmith, with a heady, hushed and husky voice (a times she's like Sally Oldfield gargling with cobwebs), this is a captivating and slightly inexplicably unsettling album, one you can almost imagine Arthur Spiderwick playing as he wrote his Field Guide.

BIO (Full Length)
Rachel Taylor-Beales is a singer songwriter and multi instrumentalist whose music meets at a crossroads of folk, roots, blues and jazz. Her song-line narratives are a blend of quirky melody and sublime harmony driven with a crystalline voice. These songs are long-term travelling companions who settle themselves deep into the passenger seat and will keep you engaged for endless miles.

Since her 2004 debut Brilliant Blue, Rachel has shared stages across the world with leading folk and roots artists performing in all kinds of locations from main-stage 60,000 plus festivals to tiny outback community halls, as well as schools, theatres, pubs, clubs, prisons, house concerts, corporate and charity events. Her successive releases have gained much recognition, including BBC Radio 2’s Bob Harris describing her Red Tree album as ‘Highly Recommended.’ Dust and Gold, released in May 2010, was produced by Welsh guitar virtuoso Dylan Fowler, with songs leading you through dry landscapes of outback and suburban Australia into enchanted Welsh folklore and beyond, much like Rachel’s own life journey.

Before she hit 12, Rachel had lived in 13 different houses and had relocated five times between Australia and the UK. As one of many artists in her family, there was always a spare guitar to hand, so Rachel started writing songs from an early age. By her late teens she had begun performing on the Nottingham folk scene and it was here that she met Bill (a visual artist) and after a while of gigging and painting together, decided that the time was right to marry him and relocate again back to Australia. So they did, travelling along the southern eastern coast for the next 4 years on everything from push bikes to station wagons held together with string. After playing and painting in all kinds of places they formed an arts company, composing and performing their way through theatres, schools, prisons, pubs, clubs, festivals and performing in extensive tours of Australia, the UK and America. Now based in Cardiff, Rachel is an established solo artist and together with Bill has set up her own imprint Record Label, Hushland.

Rachel performs solo as well as with her collective of highly talented musicians often including special guest Dylan Fowler, for a live performance of multi-instrumentation, projected visuals, and spine-tingling vocal harmony. Her latest release an 8 track live album featuring her collective is titled ‘Rachel Taylor-Beales And Her Extraordinary Collective, Live At Newport University 2012’ and is available to download from http://racheltaylor-beales.bandcamp.com/

Rachel is currently working on her next studio album, as well as a collaborative collection of works called Counting The Waves, with award winning orchestral composer Gillian Stevens. This project has been inspired by ancient mythological Celtic ‘Selkie’ stories and reinterprets them into a contemporary context while fusing medieval instrumentation with electric guitar, loop pedals and song writing. Both Rachel’s new studio album and Counting The Waves look set to be released and premiered in 2013.

For Further Information Press Reviews and Tour Dates Please visit Rachel's Web Site
www.racheltaylor-beales.com