Taylor McCall
Black Powder Soul

Taylor McCall’s first memory of music comes from his grandfather’s guitar that was stashed under the bed. “The smell of its age I can still remember to this day.” Appropriately, it’s his grandfather’s voice that opens Taylor’s striking debut album, Black Powder Soul. Crooning an old slave gospel, it is not just an homage to his late grandfather, but a foreshadowing of what’s to come.

Black Powder Soul is the product of Taylor’s winding musical journey that began in earnest at age 7, when his parents first gifted him a guitar of his own. Equal parts miraculous and tragic, the guitar was delivered at the very moment his childhood home in South Carolina -- self built by his enigmatic father -- burnt to the ground in a heartbreaking accident. “The postman wasn’t even going to come because of the fire, but figured someone needed to have this guitar.” That same watershed year, his beloved grandfather passed away.

In the years following, Taylor dove head first into mastering the instrument. Completely self-taught, there’s no rhyme or reason behind the intricate chords he plays other than it is what is right for the music and it’s what speaks to him.

Throughout his life, the only thing that has rivaled his obsession with music is the pull Taylor feels toward the outdoors and fishing. During his days in the mountains and streams of South Carolina, Taylor learned to fly fish from his father and then, as he so often does, found his own path. Similar to learning guitar on his own terms, Taylor started creating his own flies unlike the standard and conventional ones most anglers use. After high school, he needed a change of scenery, which led him out west and enrolling at Montana State University. After school, he bought a drift boat and was settled on becoming a fishing guide, but the pull toward music called him back. He sold his drift boat, packed up and moved back to South Carolina, renewing his dream of pursuing music full time and, eventually, leading to realization of Black Powder Soul.

Who is the man on the cover?

Who is not the man on the cover? It’s me, it's the Devil, it’s God, it’s you, it’s anyone. It just depends on your viewpoint. The deeper you go the more connected you become. He’s a visualization of the embodiment of the work, the sonic landscape of this record, my soul. He’s also here and lives inside of me, meant to fight the ugliness of the world, a vigilante.

What does Black Powder Soul mean? How does that represent you?

How long you got? It’s the circle of life: you’re dropped off here, by the old ship of Zion, and everything in between is life itself, from good to bad. The things that clutter up the pure soul are all in here. We all have a Black Powder Soul that can explode, but there is redemption in all of us too.

You reference God often, but there are some dark undertones in some of your music and lyrics. Can you talk a little bit about that?

I like to use language as a way of channeling my divine art. It lends itself to cut through all the noise. God and the Devil are always showing up in life. The world isn’t all good and it’s not all evil. It’s all mixed up. At first glance they may seem devilish and hellish, but in fact it’s my honest depiction of glorifying God, while revealing the reality of the constant struggle of having faith in a cruel world.

Is there a song that stands out to you on the album?

My favorite is “Hell’s Half Acre.” I just absolutely love that take, it was the first or second take, like most of them honestly. In the studio, it was just so much fun to play -- it’s like a movie. You can feel it speed up and slow down. The song just flows in and out of tempo like it’s alive and breathing. What was so great was that it was as if someone was dreaming about being a magician and then becoming one in the same night.

This is your first real album, what has that been like for you?

Everything up to this never felt fully satisfying to me. The previous EP’s always left me wanting more -- it wasn’t like going out to dinner and having a five star chef cook, it felt like a drive thru. This, to me, felt like what I’d been dreaming about for years.

What are you most proud of on this record?

The coolest hip hop records, like Outkast, all have these powerful intros and outros. To me it felt like my grandpa's voice being pressed on vinyl was the thing that made it feel so complete. When my grandpa was recording, he never would have known that he would end up on vinyl.

From God to the Devil, from birth to death. The hidden meanings and messages are everywhere in this record, if you know how to look for them.

For more information, please contact Sacks & Co. Asha Goodman 615.320.7753, Catherine Snead 615.320.7753, Carla Sacks 212.741.1000.