Singer-songwriter Dulcie Taylor’s latest release, the EP Edges of Silver, is a little gem. Each of the five folk-rock/Americana-style songs shimmers with intelligence and sensitivity. Taylor pens literate lyrics and pairs them with catchy pop hooks and nuanced musicianship. Like Mary Chapin Carpenter, Gretchen Peters, and Shawn Colvin, she connects her characters’ personal growth with more significant issues to show the deep connections that happen over time.
Taylor begins with a look backward at the rock and roll and world events of the boomer past. “Backbeat in the Blood” name-checks everyone and everything from Mickey Mantle, Elvis Presley, and the moon landing to the Beatles, Woodstock, and Vietnam to Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., Bob Dylan, and Aretha Franklin. The appropriately named song features a percolating bass and drum lineup (Bob Gross on bass guitar, Paul Griffith on drums, Scott Breadman on percussion) with producer George Nauful on electric guitar and Kristian Ducharme on Hammond B3. Taylor evokes the music of the previous era sonically to what was going on, as the cited Marvin Gaye would say.
We live in a post-COVID world. Many people were isolated and separated from each other. Our ordinary interactions with other people at the grocery store, coffee shops, and music concerts no longer occurred. Other, more intimate relations were put on hold for many because of circumstances. That makes one treasure the memories of the almost ones—the love affairs that didn’t last.
The three finest songs on Edges of Silver share a common theme of love lost. The situations may differ, but the implicit moral is the same. One should always remember the times when the spark between two people existed. The details of “We Almost Got It Right”, “Soft Place to Fall”, and “Sometimes Love Ain’t Enough” transform what ordinarily would be cliched scenarios into something more profound. Taylor looks backward to see forward.
Before, Taylor didn’t understand her needs and desires. “We didn’t know what we were doing,” she proudly proclaims. Now she is more generous and, paradoxically, more manipulative. She offers herself to another as a relief when hard times come around. Taylor has learned that love isn’t enough to keep two people together. Love doesn’t always last. That’s not a bad thing. Even a failed affair is better than one that never happened. Melancholy has its own rewards. This is reinforced by Taylor’s acoustic guitar leads that bring out the beauty inherent in the memory and serve as consolation as she moves on with her life.
This sentiment can be found most clearly in the final track, “Somewhere Bright”, whose lyrics provide the source of Edges of Silver’s title. “The edges of silver in the night” refers to the illuminated clouds in the sky and the proverbial silver lining. Taylor reminds one of the darkness. She knows that clouds obscure the moon behind them. The light may be hidden, but it is still present. This works as a metaphor for the dark days we are living through. The positive elements are still with us. The future promises to be clearer.