Philadelphia native Russell Taylor grew up listening to that city's soul music legends along with such other classic soul artists as Stevie Wonder and Chaka Kahn. The talented singer/songwriter first gathered an audience in Europe in 2000 as featured vocalist on the songs "Fool For Love" and "Last Dance," produced by the Basement Boys.
Taylor became a regular on the East Coast soul music circuit, playing smaller gigs as a headliner as well as warming up established acts. He recorded a number of songs during the period 2003 - 2005, and issued limited releases Soulstar and Soulstar 2 before issuing his formal debut album in 2006, Somewhere In Between.
On Somewhere In Between, Taylor legitimately enters the ranks of the notable new members of the burgeoning underground soul movement. His tenor voice falls somewhere in between Rahsaan Patterson and Javier, and he shows a real penchant as a smooth balladeer on the title cut, "For Tiny" and the beautiful, sparsely arranged "How Deep" (perhaps the disc's highlight). He also picks it up effectively on the mid-tempo cuts "2B Loved" and "I Love U." Taylor shows his formidable ability as a songwriter on these numbers, penning solid adult soul tracks that fit nicely alongside the music of such artists as Patterson or Kem. There is a saying that "less is sometimes more," and that applies to Somewhere, which has enough quality material to make a very good 10 or 11 song disc, but which loses some of its power at sixteen songs, a few marginal tracks of which could have easily been removed. But despite being a bit overstuffed, Somewhere In Between serves as both a solid introduction of and showcase for a talented young singer from whom we will undoubtedly be hearing more in years to come.
by Chris Rizik