LABEL: AMERICAN BLUES ARTIST GROUP
RELEASE DATE: SEPTEMBER 6, 2019
DISTRIBUTION: UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP
The simplest pleasures furnish inspiration in its purest form.
Reaching a personal and creative high watermark for his near three-decade career, Dudley Taft surveys the moment, relaxes, and exhales on his sixth full-length independent solo album, Simple Life. As a result, the singer, songwriter, guitarist, and producer bottles truth between bouts of boisterous blues guitar, delicate delivery, and pensive lyrical ruminations.
These twelve tracks detail the world around him in nuanced fashion, zeroing in on the wonder of every day and celebrating it.
“I’m enjoying the Simple Life right,” he smiles. “My wife and I raised four kids. They’ve all left the house now. So, we’ve got an empty nest and are just traveling around. We set ourselves up to enjoy life. The songs are about being in love. It’s real. It’s natural. It’s me. It’s probably my most honest record. I freed myself from all of those self-imposed structures and allowed the music to happen.”
A lifelong journey enabled him to achieve such clarity. The Midwest native went from co-founding Space Antelope alongside future Phish icon Trey Anastasio in high school to founding Seattle staple Sweet Water whose touring resume boasted storied jaunts with everyone from Alice In Chains to Candlebox. He joined Second Coming in 1997 and recorded the group’s seminal self-titled debut, which yielded the Top 10 hit “Vintage Eyes” and “Soft.” 2006 saw him kick off a successful solo career highlighted by a prolific string of releases: Left for Dead , Deep Deep Blue , Screaming in the Wind  Skin and Bones , and Summer Rain . In between canvasing the United States on tour, he enamored audiences across Europe. His impressive playing and intimate songcraft resounded around the globe with the European Blues Society nominating him for “Best Guitarist” in 2017.
A sought-after composer for film and television, he also contributed music to everything from the Academy Award-nominated classic The Sixth Sense and Prom Night to E! True Hollywood Story, Gene Simmons’ Family Jewels, Big Brother, and VH1’s That Metal Show, to name a few. While on a 2017 tour supporting Summer Rain, he holed up in the French countryside and started to cut demos for what would become Simple Life.
With nascent ideas in place, he returned home and tracked over the course of 2018. Dudley enlisted an all-star cast of musicians to round out the sound, including drummers Walfredo Reyes JR. [Santana, Chicago, Steve Winwood], Summer Rain collaborator Mike Taponga, and newcomer Chris Ellison. Kasey Williams laid down bass with John Kessler making an appearance on the tracklisting’s sole cover, “If Heartaches Were Nickels,” originally by Warren Haynes.
He introduces the record with the first single and opener “Give Me A Song.” Upheld by a hummable riff and thick groove, the track struts towards a chantable chorus in between a spell of plainspoken poetry.
“It’s lighthearted and fun musically,” he goes on. “The verses are about my first terrible marriage before the joy of my new relationship. I want to be in love. I want what that first relationship should’ve been, and I got it.”
Meanwhile, the title track espouses the benefits of unplugging. Written on a trip to the Bahamas with his nose in a Michael Crichton book, “Simple Life” captures the essence of the record.
“I was literally down in the Bahamas reading, and I thought, ‘Man, this is awesome’,” he recalls. “We get no reception unless we climb up on a hill, so it felt nice. Managing your digital self and this accelerated news cycle get to be too much. I’m a city dude. I love visiting and living in cities, but at some point your mind has an allergic reaction and you need to decompress. That’s what this album is about.”
The distorted swells of “Pouring Down” and “Shine” conjure signature spirits Seattle with a fresh fire. The latter might even be “the happiest grunge song ever,” he laughs. Everything concludes with an organic jam on “Back to You.” It examines, “where you fuck up your relationship and you want to get back to your happy place.”
In the end, Dudley encourages joy with a little bit of distortion and a whole lot of heart on Simple Life.
“The more I write about basic human interactions and feelings, the more honest it is,” he leaves off. “I just want people to know they’re not alone in what they’re going through. I hope you get to know me as a real guy and connect to the songs.”