Born on Country Music Highway 23, it was only destiny that Brit Taylor would grow up to become a country music starlet.
Debuting on the Kentucky Opry at the tender age of seven, Taylor continued to perform up until she relocated to Nashville ten years later at seventeen. She continued to cultivate her blossoming career, and eventually married at 23. However, things would take a turn for the worse.
Within a span of a year, Taylor’s car broke down, she lost her beloved dog, a stable income, and, perhaps the most difficult, her marriage had ended. The Americana singer found herself in a deep depression, but it inspired her to create the most vulnerable music of her career.
Taylor released her debut album, Real Me, on November 20th, an Americana album inspired by legendary artists like Loretta Lynn, Patty Loveless, and The Judds. She has writing credits on each of the 10 tracks, a majority of which she co-wrote with Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach (which would prove to be a match made in heaven; the pair wrote 8 songs in just 2 days). Each song is deeply vulnerable, where Taylor writes from each of the most painful stages of her divorce — from remorse, to revenge, to the anxieties of ever finding love again.
The record opens with “Back in the Fire”, a song embellished by a swirling string section and dynamic guitar solo. This paves the way for “Real Me”, both the second track in the lineup and the album’s namesake. The lyrics focus on revealing your true self to a romantic partner, an especially courageous act after being hurt before. The song also can serve as a metaphor for the side of herself Taylor will reveal through her songwriting, especially in the songs that are soon to follow.
“Wagon” is a perfect revenge song, where Taylor proudly declares it’s time to cut loose the horse attached to her wagon that’s dragging her down, or finally letting go of the ex that’s been holding her back for too long. As one of the most radio-friendly songs of the album, it was only appropriate this song was promoted as a single. Its playful lyrics are tied in an old-fashioned country bow with the twang of the steel guitar and the campiness of a harmonica.
Other songs on the record explore the melancholies of heartbreak, including “Waking up Ain’t Easy”, “Broken Heart Breaks”, or “Raggedy Heart”. The lyrics show the rawness of heartache and how it drove Taylor into a deep depression, and the theme paired with the songs’ classic country instrumentation nods to acts like Johnny Cash.
Meanwhile “Married Again” is a chanty drinking anthem. She croons about the failure of her marriage, and vows to never marry again. Its tongue-in-cheek playfulness shows a new side to Taylor, one that’s not afraid to hit where it hurts when necessary.
Taylor’s album Real Me is just that- her real, authentic self. The album reveals Taylor’s versatility as a songwriter; she can go from writing heartbreaking lyrics that cut deep, to becoming a sarcastic and clever songstress within the course of a few songs. It also delves into the vulnerabilities of her last relationship, and how she has since processed it.
Upon listening, it’s clear that Brit Taylor’s “real self” is a strong and powerful woman, someone who has overcome some of the most difficult of hardships and spun it into a country album of gold.