The prairie sky, expansive and wide, covers a great deal of North American real estate. And of all the emotions contained therein, it’s the prairie blues, a rural feeling that sings louder than all others on Dione Taylor’s new EP Born Free.
Music has always been an important and integral part of Dione Taylor's life. A pastor's daughter from Saskatchewan, she was born and raised in a family she describes as "really connected to the gift of song. My whole family sings and plays instruments in church," praises Ms. Taylor, who began playing the organ at age four and by ten was the music director and organist at The Shiloh Assembly Apostolic Church in Regina.
Born Free is a powerful, soulful and spiritual album, taking an honest look at some difficult but necessary conversations. It's an album that "is dedicated to Pastor's Kids who deal with the very high standards and expectations placed upon their shoulders by their families and community to live perfectly within an imperfect world," explains Taylor.
In trying times, personal faith and beliefs are constantly being challenged. The injustice we are confronted with in the world on a daily basis ("Love Is"); temptation ("Resist"); death ("Grandma's Hands"); love ("Leave Me Alone"); freedom ("Born Free"); potential of man ("Higher Ground") and acceptance ("Beer and A Bible"). This is a narrative of trial and faith told through a passionate blend of fiery gospel vocals with sounds from the delta blues.
"The word gospel means 'truth.'" And this is a very personal and truthful record, one that does not attempt to preach or impose anyone's concept of truth upon listeners but rather acknowledges that everyone has their own truth to be told and song to be sung. Born Free is Dione Taylor's truth and it is getting a welcome reception on Canadian radio stations across the country.
Having first burst onto the music scene with her Juno nominated debut album "Open Your Eyes", Taylor's career trajectory has been truly remarkable. With performances at festivals and concert theatres across the United States, Canada and Asia for audiences that have included the President of the United States and Queen Elizabeth II, Taylor has made a worthy name for herself as one of this country's most talented musicians and singers. Dione was nominated for a Gemini Award for her rendition of Oscar Peterson's "Hymn to Freedom," which she performed alongside Oliver Jones at the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame Gala. She is also the recipient of the Governor General's Performing Arts Award Mentorship Program.
Coming full circle, Dione finds herself reconnecting with her childhood. "The sounds and music of my youth are all present on Born Free. From the gospel music and blues at church to the southern country gospel at home on the record player, it's all in there!"
Finally, "Spirituality isn't about being perfect," states Taylor, "It's knowing that The Creator is omnipresent in the midst of our fragmented lives."
"Dione reaches for an extra helping of soul and blues to her mix on "Born Free", with stunning results"
~ Danny Marks, Host /Producer Bluz.FM on Jazz FM91
"... She is a powerhouse R'n'B/blues vocalist of immense talent."
~ Kerry Doole, New Canadian Music
"This new recording by Dione is earthy, soulful and the songs are great. A fine funky offering from one of my favourite singers."
~ David Clayton-Thomas, Blood Sweat & Tears