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"All Music Guide"

Though, as a session player as well as a guitarist for the show Whose Line Is It Anyway, Linda Taylor must be able to perform all kinds of music, her first love, and that with which she feels most comfortable, is R&B, something that is very much clear on her first record with her band Threshold. But Taylor's guitar isn't the main instrument on Sum Blues, a smooth, soulful album with plenty of funky riffs and grooves and warm chords; instead it's Angela Carole Brown's voice, which controls each piece with precision yet expresses nuance and abstract emotion. The songs, which were all completely written and arranged by Taylor, generally deal with dysfunction, either in the form of an unhealthy relationship or societal problems, thematically entwined by the idea of time -- past, present, and future or a combination of the three: "The more things change,/The more they stay the same," Brown croons in the title track, a sentiment also expressed in "Here Before," a rousing cut that features a wailing guitar solo from Taylor, who generally sticks to short, subtle lines and phrases, never taking anything away from the focus on the vocals, only adding to their effectiveness. The whole band, in fact, stays in the background, concentrating on perfecting their smooth groove rather than show off their individual talents, in doing so revealing how very good they are indeed. Sum Blues is contemporary, relevant to 2006 both lyrically and musically, but it draws from the blues, soul, gospel, funk, and R&B of decades past. "If a change is gonna come it depends on you/Won't you lead the way?" Brown sings on the closer, "Depending On You," probably the most uplifting song on the entire album, alluding to Sam Cooke as well as countless other musicians who came before her and the other members of Threshold; it's a call to progress but it's respect for the past, it's sadness and celebration, reflection and vivacity. Best of all, it's got a lot of rhythm, and a whole lot of soul. 4 Stars - Marisa Brown

"Music Connection"

When is a band not a band? L.A.-based guitarist, composer and songwriter Linda Taylor faced a dilemma when it came time to name the artists responsible for her galvanizing release, Sum Blues. “I’m the songwriter and producer and this is my project, but I’m not the singer. People have a hard time wrapping their heads around that,” she says. “I thought maybe I should just name the band, because it’s more about the songs than about me.” With a sound both classic and contemporary, rich grooves of fat back soul harkens back to the days of Memphis and Muscle Shoals, illuminating pointed lyrics as timely as tomorrow’s headlines within a style Taylor designates as “R&B with A Conscience.” She tagged the band “Threshold.”

“Another fallen soldier Keeps me safe and free Now I can drive my big car While they sanitize history” —“Sum Blues”
Taylor is best known as an in-demand session and touring guitarist who has recorded and/or toured with a roster of artists that includes Kirk Whalum, Chante Moore, Vesta Williams, Tracy Chapman, Thelma Houston and Namie Amuro. Most recently, she worked on Drew Carey’s Whose Line is it Anyway? She didn’t intend to make Sum Blues, she says, it just happened. “This was never intended to be an album –– these were supposed to be tracks I was going to take to music supervisors.”

The lead voice of Threshold belongs to vocalist extraordinaire Angela Carole Brown. “We met close to 20 years ago when we did casuals,” Taylor recalls. “Then I did road gigs and we lost touch, but I asked her to come in and do vocals on my first record, Pulse, an acid jazz instrumental guitar project. When the mix engineer heard her voice he turned it way up and my guitar way down. As soon as she opens her mouth you want to hear her. Some friends told me when I was writing Sum Blues, ‘You owe her lyrics.’ I needed her to come in and be my voice. It’s more responsibility than you should ever drop on a singer. And after I recorded the first song with Angela singing, I got very possessive. ‘You know, it’s going to take off without me.’ I knew I’d have to bring in the best musicians.”

Pulling the stellar band together for the recording was remarkably easy, Taylor says. “I’ve had problems dealing with musicians before. They’re kind of a mercenary crowd, and I feel like I can say this because I am one, but musicians are often looking out for themselves and it doesn’t always translate to a good performance; sometimes it translates to, ‘Where’s the free food and who’s got my check?’ But these players clicked with each another and with me from the moment they got to the studio, and it blew my mind. They played for the song; when I was listening to them play these down, there was no ego. No one was trying to put his or her thing in. They were all intent on creating the songs and it was really special.”

The distinctive slide guitar of Keb’ Mo’ embellishes key tracks “Little for Me” and “Depending on You.” Taylor marvels, “Who plays like that? It’s this liquid warm sound. He was such a delight.” Darrell Crooks from The Commodores, bassist Del Atkins, and a coterie of musicians and backup vocals all contributed to the project. “We did this the old-fashioned way, all of the musicians, including Angela, were in a room together and everything was the second or third take –– live, no punches. When I’m producing I couldn’t possibly be playing guitar, because it’s two different heads. I was glad to have Keb’ and Darrell.”

Sum Blues marks Linda Taylor’s debut as a lyricist, and she says the words are at the core of the creation. “I would get hit by a concept, and I had to pare the concept down to a single thought. The lyric would happen first and the music would grow out of what I was feeling. I didn’t have a plan and I don’t now. I wanted to open my heart to it and see what would happen –– good, bad or indifferent.” - Dan Kimpel


Honor, privilege, yadayadayada...

Those words are bandied about so often in entertainment that they're engraved on the subconscious. What's messed up about this is-- when you really feel that way about an artist, a group, a gig or any opportunity, these are the first words that come to mind, yet you can't say them because they're so damned overused.

That's my challenge with Threshold (the MySpace Artist this week on "The Street")

I got turned on to them about a month ago-- they consist of:

Angela Carole Brown - Lead Vocals
Linda Taylor - Composer/Guitar
Laval Belle - Drums
Del Atkins - Bass
Catte Adams and Janelle Sadler - Vocals

Threshold's music hits you so powerfully on different levels-- The first time I listened to them, I loved the bluesy tone of the album, which was great for casual listening-- you know, listening while working or reading. When I got their CD home and focused on the lyrics, I was stunned at how they not only infused current events, rhyme, and a shoe-worn sensibility that hangs on your shoulders like an old, familiar coat (you know, that winter coat that can't keep you warm anymore, but you can't stand to part with it?), but also manage to lace these blues with an eyes-wide-open positivity.

This is not to be confused with optimism-- optimism's place comes before the event; we've already seen this world-- the optimism's gone. But afterward, where jadedness and resignation is the norm, Threshold is possessed of the confidence of spirit to know that they (and we) still have the power to effect positive change. This is an almost mythic strength, and the overriding hallmark of their CD, Sum Blues.

Brown's vocals (buttressed beautifully by Sadler and Adams), are most impressive, evoking the despairing plaintiveness of Janis Joplin and Billie Holliday, while demonstrating the never-say-die heartiness of Tina Turner in the same strain. I don't know how long they've been together as a band, but with Taylor's guitar, Belle's drums and Atkins' bass fit and meld so well, that the special guests performing on the album (Keb' Mo, Darrell Crooks and David Patterson) flow seamlessly.

This group's got some habit-forming weapons.

Their CD, Sum Blues comes out this week, with a CD release party over at

Club Fais Do Do
5253 West Adams Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90016

This Wednesday, September 27, 2006 at 8:00 p.m.

You can also check them out by going over to their website,

(and download the flyer to save a couple bucks off the door, 'cause you're going down there Wednesday night, right?)

And if you like 'em, stop over to their site and give 'em some love! (that means: pick up their CD!) - DJ Xango


Sum Blues
The debut release from Threshold
includes the songs:

1. It Ain't Me
2. Need To Know
3. Sum Blues
4. Little For Me
5. Shadows
6. Good Day
7. Rising
8. Here Before
9. Too Much
10. Depending On You


Feeling a bit camera shy


See videos and hear more music at:

Beginning March 15, THRESHOLD will be featured in Amoeba Music's Home Grown Artist Series. Visit for more information.

Inspired by post-9/11 events, policies and politics, long-time sideman and session guitarist Linda Taylor (of ABC’s “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” with Drew Carey) steps up with Sum Blues.

After years of touring with artists such as Vesta Williams, Kirk Whalum, Chante Moore, and Tracy Chapman, Taylor went ‘underground’ for a couple years, focusing solely on songwriting, and has emerged with Sum Blues. Initially performing all instruments herself, Taylor quickly realized that the worldly-but-intimate vocals provided by ace session singer and long-time musical comrade Angela Carole Brown re-defined the tone and scope of Sum Blues, and Taylor seized the opportunity for a more organic approach. She called old friends and fellow road warriors drummer Laval Belle (Earth, Wind & Fire), bassist Del Atkins (Alicia Keys, Mary J. Blige), organist Mikal Majeed (Rick Zunigar), keyboardist Ed Roth (Coolio, The Brothers Johnson), and singers Catte Adams (Chaka Khan, Natalie Cole) and Janelle Sadler (Natalie Cole, Ozzy Osbourne), and the chemistry was immediate and undeniable. Threshold was born.

Taylor borrowed the recording methods of the past: she put these seasoned musicians in the same room, and captured the empathy and maturity of the performers by recording live. The result is Sum Blues, Threshold’s debut album, a warm and honest social and political statement, brought to life by like-minds on similar paths. Threshold’s Sum Blues is the flashpoint of Taylor’s new journey.

..."it's a call to progress but it's respect for the past, it's sadness and celebration, reflection and vivacity. Best of all, it's got a lot of rhythm, and a whole lot of soul."
- Marisa Brown, All Music Guide, 4-Star Review