When Toronto’s Taylor Mitchell died from injuries sustained in a coyote attack last October, she left us with an incredibly intense, haunting album.
Without a doubt, many will remember the tragedy last fall that took the life of young Taylor Mitchell, an up and coming folk artist on the Toronto Indie Music scene. Gifted beyond her years, Taylor only had time to make one album, which catapulted her into a whirlwind of festivals and an east coast tour that would be, sadly, cut short. In fact, many people were not even aware she existed until the news of her death.
All-star Musical Lineup Contributed to Taylor’s First Album
In 2008, Taylor earned a Canadian Youth finalist position in the Mountain Stage NewSong Contest and, as a result, was invited to perform two songs at the Ottawa Folk Festival.
Maple Award winning artist, Suzie Vinnick co-wrote two songs with Taylor and Juno winner Lynn Miles took Taylor under her wing, mentoring her and co-writing “Ride Into the Sunset”. Producer, Michael Johnston, enlisted a string of accomplished musicians for Taylor’s studio band to record “For Your Consideration” a 10-song album featuring inspiring covers of Joan Baez’s “Diamond and Rust” and Gordon Lightfoot’s “Love and Maple Syrup” in addition to the songs co-written with Vinnick and Miles.
Mitchell’s Haunting Lyrics Engage Listeners
The album’s musical arrangements are, at times, bass-heavy and foreboding as in “Diamond and Rust” and “Love and Maple Syrup” and then whimsical, but sad and expectant as in ‘Fun While it Lasted” and “Trick of the Light”. In ‘Don’t Know How I Got Here’, the song opens with the haunting lyrics, ‘I was born beneath a smoky light’, immediately engaging the listener and inviting them into her story.
Mitchell seems to channel Emmylou Harris at one turn and then Patsy Cline at another. Her sweet, soulful voice, like Harris’, plays against Justin Rutledge’s harmonies in “Ride Into the Sunset”.
It’s obvious that even the order of the tracks was taken into consideration in the construction of this album, placing the Baez cover part way through and ending with Lightfoot’s “Love and Maple Syrup”. Mitchell’s strong interpretation of both songs is delightfully intense. Each track catches the listener’s breath and ends almost with a sigh of relief and a moment of collection before the next part of the album’s journey.
First Album Illustrates Mitchell’s Incredible Intensity
As Mitchell’s first album, it illustrated the incredible passion, intensity and promise inside this young artist. It’s clear how much more she had to offer and that she was virtually on the cusp of exploding into the Indie Folk scene. Of course, we’ll never know what she would have brought to the scene, but at least we have this one gem to both celebrate her talent and lament her demise.
On October 23, 2009, Taylor wrote in her tour journal “Stay tuned for the next instalment of the east coast saga. Two and a half weeks to go!”.
Sadly, these words would be her final instalment.
Photo from taylormitchell.ca.