Taylor McCall – Mellow War

Taylor McCall - Mellow War



4.8/5 Pros

  • Very consistent album with a great plot
  • Very good individual songs
  • Catching atmosphere

If Robert Plant selects you as a support act, you just have definitely made it into the world of music. While US-American Taylor McCall is about to head to the Untied Kingdom for this job in March, he has just released his sophomore album Mellow War. His debut album Black Powder Soul “just” received a good rating at, but I was rather at the lower end of my rating. Thus, I was really curious how I would like this one, more than two years later.


Taylor McCall – About The Artist

South Carolina has lost one of its most talented nature-boys was the opening sentence in an article in a German newspaper about Black Powder Soul. This referred to the fact that Taylor McCall had moved from South Carolina to Nashville before releasing it. There is country, folk and soul in the songs of the US-American artists, who had released three EPs before his initial album publication.


Taylor McCall – Mellow War – Track by Track

The twelve song album lasts 48 minutes.

1. Sinking Sand

Sinking Sand is in fact the 51 second intro track to the album. You hear an old-fashioned radio before the title track is kicking off.

2. Mellow War

Taylor McCall wrote this song about his grandfather, who has been a Vietnam veteran. He is also on the title picture of the album. The song beautifully illustrates all the struggle you have as a young solider in that kind of fight. Thus, Mellow War starts with a very touching and emotional track, which can be described best as a melancholic blues rocker.

I just don’t know if I can take it
No promises we’re gonna’ make it
This mellow war
Don’t want to fight this game no more

3. Rest on Easy

The third track of the album continues with the melancholic touch. However, the strong influence of the backing organ and the present rhythm does lead to a more positive outlook. It simply feels very good to listen to the story of Rest on Easy – especially when the chorus is deeply touching your heart.

4. Tide of Love

Tide of Love closes the block of the three feature singles, which have been released before the album. The song again has a very blues-ish groove. However, the backing vocalist also adds some touch of soul. Very nice listen.

5. Rolling Stoned Again

Tell me revelator
Why do I exist
If God is my witness
I hate He’s seein’ me like this

The single and the music video Rolling Stones Again has been released together with the album. Especially at the beginning, when there is nothing but McCall’s voice, a strumming guitar and slow drum, the song feels very intimate. In the chorus, you hardly feel the instruments any more. Great song.

6. Whiskey Costs Less

On the instrumental side, Whiskey Costs Less is majorly driven by the piano. Taylor McCall feels lamenting, almost crying in this song. Again, the instruments are just doing what is necessary to put up the right backing atmosphere. it does not need much to put up such an intensity in music – if you are going for the right ingredients.

7. Star of the Morning

The seventh track is a beautiful ballad, which also comes with a touch of soul and gospel. Again, the female backing vocalist adds a lot of atmosphere to the song. Again, mental struggle is in focus of this song. Really nice one.

Star of the morning
Will answer my questions
Will I make it through The Gates
And out of this dark depression

8. Angel Falling Down

In my Black Powder Soul review, I simply called Taylor McCall a “country artist”. Even though this album already underlined that Taylor McCall songs have a much wider range than that, there are songs like Angel Falling Down, which are close to the genre. Nonetheless, there is also a lot of soul in this track.

9. Hard to Love You

Despite the song is over four minutes, it works with very limited lyrics – the phrase It’s gettin’ hard to love you is appearing several times. However, the song does not feel boring. The Carolina artist is simply using the bare minimum which is necessary to present the message of this song. This also means that the instrumental side has an increased responsibility for that. I like it.

10. I Want You Still

Till the rolls
Called on high
In some ancient sky
I wanna’ get there
There’s a million ways
To kiss the ground
With a prayer

A good album does come with a nice dramatic plot. The songs are individually strong, tell own stories, create individual atmospheres. But still they belong together. There is a link. I feel that in Mellow War. And songs like I Want You Still, with massively work an acoustic guitar and a great vocal performance, become special parts of a twelve song ensemble. Even though the song as a single release might be a bit of a fail.

11. Born Again

After this very personal moment, the eleventh song almost feels like a folk/country pop song. The song has a happy vibe, the rhythm and the groove makes you move to the music. Some very new emotions in Mellow War, indeed. The song invests a lot into its melodic parts as well, which leads to a really virtuous listen. Lovely 6:13 minutes!

12. You to Blame

After this epic song, the closing track You to Blame is rather short, less than three minutes (and thus, the shortest one apart from the intro…). Taylor McCall comes up with another surprise when he is presenting some strings at the beginning of the track, before the song turns into an intimate country-alike farewell – with a string ensemble in the background.


Taylor McCall – Mellow War – Spotify

Here is the album on Spotify:


Taylor McCall – Mellow War – My View

The negative point I had about Black Power Soul was that I felt that there is much more potential in Taylor McCall than his 2021 album reflected. Thanks mate, you proofed me right. Mellow War works much better as a whole, but also in the individual songs. A huge step from a good album to a great one within three years. I am getting nervous about a potential 2027 release – even though I would love to have some songs earlier than that, definitely. Mellow War is a great listen for lovers of sophisticated Americana music. Country Music Top Picks! Reviews in 2024

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