If you thought the romanticised railroad was the preserve of American artists, think again.
Sean Taylor is Britain’s troubadour of the train track, bringing his experiences on the move to his live performances and stunning recordings.
The singer-songwriter – who is currently touring his latest album, Chasing the Night – insists on taking the train everywhere.
“I don’t want to take my driving test. I enjoy travelling by train, you see so much of life and sometimes you’ll encounter something that will later become a line in a song.”
“I meet a lot of people on trains and have a lot of conversations. It always makes me realise that there is so much out there.”
So it’s of no surprise that Taylor’s songs are seldom autobiographical. “I can’t imagine having that much to say about myself that’s of any interest to anyone,” he says.
Instead, armed with a pen and paper, Taylor mines his experiences travelling across the country, and even countries.
“The journey to the gigs become part of the gigs. And gradually these revelations I have when travelling appear in songs or during the show itself, when I talk to the crowd.”
On his latest album there’s a spoken word track about a night out in London and it’s about starting off where I live, in Kilburn,then the story travels to Camden, then Brixton, where I was out until very late at night, and then the morning. It took me five years to write. It’s funny, you write songs about Europe and other parts of the world but the stuff that’s closest to home is just as rich. I really struggled to fit it all in to that song.”
Taylor is a one-man band – both on road and on stage.
But he likes it this way.
“I’m an only child so I’m used to my own company and I’m happy with it.”And as a lone ranger, it’s not surprising that his favourite artists are also tale-telling troubadours.
“I love Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen. Waits is great at throwing in lines that are ambiguous but equally relate to people.”
But Taylor’s not one to shun more universal subject matter either.
“A lot of songwriters write about love and relationships because it happens to us all.”
But some are better than others.
“Leonard Cohen’s Chelsea Hotel was about a one night stand, which is pretty brutal but yet there’s a beauty and majesty to his lyrics as well.”
Taylor’s own song writing panache, however, is also turning heads.
Chasing the Night has been heaped with critical acclaim – from Mojo Magazine to the Rochdale Cowboy, Mike Harding. These accolades cite Taylor as an artist whose work is sophisticated, articulate and possessing of melodic prowess.
And as for Taylor himself, this can only mean one thing: more travelling.
Sean Taylor plays at the Roots Music Club at the Ukranian Centre, Beckett Road, Doncaster on Friday April 18.