Album Review | GenieCake | Review by Allan Wilkinson | Stars: 4/5
I first came across Holly Taymar in York one night doing one of the three showcase support spots for visiting Americans Rod Picott and Amanda Shires. I was knocked out by her songs then and I’ve continued to watch her progress with keen interest. I think this is because Holly sings the sort of songs I like. I’ve always been more interested in songs about everyday mundane subjects such as waking up in a morning, not being able to feel ones toes of a frosty morning or cutting down old bushes that have outstayed their welcome. The interesting thing about these songs though, is not the actual subject itself, but how Holly manages to transform such wistful thoughts into such beautiful songs. A few of the songs here have been tried out and tested on audiences in the ensuing months since I first saw her that night in the Basement Bar, and to have them finally down on disc for posterity is a good thing indeed. Joining Holly on this collection of songs is regular guitar player Carl Hetherington who was also responsible for production, piano and ‘random percussion etc.’, with other contributions from Mark Mellack and Dave Hartley. On stage Holly and Carl remind me of Hokey Pokey period Richard and Linda Thompson, with Carl hunched over his guitar whilst Holly delivers each song with no small measure of confidence and an abundance of self-assurance. “Toes” stands out as another one of Holly’s gems, alongside “Home” from her previous album Before I Know, which incidentally has been generously handed out at gigs as a free supplement to the current CD, being the best bargain since Radiohead started flogging their albums for, oh you know, whatever. A beautiful song in its own right, “Toes” is given a tasteful arrangement with additional piano and glockenspiel, which adds to the gentle ambience of the song. There’s no clutter on Waking Up Is Hard To Do in terms of over-arrangement or over-instrumentation, it’s all pleasantly balanced to bring these songs to life in the way they were intended. With yet another nod to her home, Holly has packed her new collection of songs into a sleeve featuring a cover photograph showing a housing estate in York, with a contemplative Holly seated at the bottom of a bed, whilst her musical companion stands in the distance, resting his guitar upon his shoulder; both seemingly lost in thought. The songs on this album have the same sort of dreamy quality. An absolutely delightful album, which should be filed next to your James Taylors and Jonis.