"R&B with a Conscience"
Guitarist/Composer Linda Taylor (from ABC's “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”) proudly presents her band THRESHOLD and the debut of the album Sum Blues.
The Music –
Linda Taylor’s songwriting reaches back in time, evoking the sounds of Sly & The Family Stone, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder. The lyrics are powerful, politically and socially charged.
Featuring the soul-healing vocals of Angela Carole Brown and guest performances by Grammy Winner Keb’ Mo’, Sum Blues is old school R&B – warm and familiar, angry and hopeful, sweet and sexy. From the biting venom of “It Ain’t Me” to the hopeful “Depending On You”, to the intimate “Rising” (a tribute to NOLA’s citizens in the aftermath of Katrina), Sum Blues feels both classic and current.
The Band –
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.
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.
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.
- Marisa Brown, All Music Guide
...this IS your father's R&B...