On the way to a gig in New Jersey, noted folk artist Kate Taylor took a moment out of her day to talk about her work.
The sister of James Taylor and Livingston Taylor, Kate looked ahead to the Scituate show scheduled for Feb. 16, and reflected on her favorite parts of being a musician.
Whether on a stage or in a studio, in front of audiences big or small, one thing is for certain, Kate’s musical passion is in her blood.
Boston Globe: I’ve read that though you’re from North Carolina, your mom was from New England, do you feel a connection coming back up this way?
Kate Taylor: I grew up in North Carolina…but in summers we would come to New England to visit our mom’s family. Early on we started going to Martha’s Vineyard in the summer…that’s when I was just getting out of school.
I moved to the Vineyard. So I live on Martha’s Vineyard. I am totally hard-wired in, I am delighted to have been raised in North Carolina. I love Chapel Hill and the state and the people, I really am very pleased to have had that experience, but I feel at home in New England, and I’ve been on the Vineyard a long time, raised my kids there.
My mom was from Newburyport. It’s really sweet little place, and she was raised between Newburyport and Salisbury…and her father was a boat builder and a fisherman. They have quintessential New England upbringing. I just feel very close to that lifestyle and have felt very at home in that setting on the Vineyard. It feels like home.
BG: You’ve got a couple shows before this, but you’ll eventually be coming to the River Club Music Hall in Scituate – do you like smaller venues?
KT: I love it all. I love it all. It’s really fun to play in big halls with lot of people, it’s a great experience. But I love also singing in a small venue. It’s more intimate, personal, and you can really feel the connection with the audience....
I haven’t been there, but I’ve heard from other performers that they love playing there. So I’m really happy to be getting in there.
Ive got a girl opening the show – Sarah Blacker, she’s really good, too, so I'm looking forward to seeing her again.
BG: Now your brother Livingston has also played this venue. Have you talked to him about it?
KT: I’ll have to ask him about it. I’m sure he loved it. I’ve heard good stuff about that venue
BG: What songs do you have planned for Scituate?
KT: I’m doing a mix of a lot of different styles. I love country tunes, but I'll sing a lot of R&B and folks music and do some show tunes, I do a Scottish ballad, I mix it up.
BG: What’s the reaction you get from fans when you’re out on tour?
KT: The natives are friendly. Because of the nature of the show, I do a lot of different songs, some original tunes, and … some cover tunes people are familiar with. There is something for everybody in the show, and people seem to respond to the music and to the stories.
I like to tell a little bit about the background of what a song means to me, or if I’ve written it what’s the back-story. I usually get people seem to respond to those stories. They like to hear more detail about what a song is about. That’s always fun. I love to get the feedback.
BG: Is that typical, the story telling aspect of your concerts?
KT: Yeah. (asks friend Sandy - her manager - if storytelling is typical of her concerts)
Sandy: “I think that’s an important part of the show, growing up in North Carolina and now being in NE, that dual influence on the music, the Southern influence but the New England sea shanties, plus Broadway shows and folks music all mixed in. You can hear it in James’s music, Livingston’s, and Kate’s. Storytelling helps the viewer and listener understand that journey
Kate: As Livingston says, we’re circus folks
BG: Your on tour now, but you’ve recorded in the past. Where do you feel more at home, on a stage or in a recording studio?
KT: That’s a good question. There are things comfortable about both. I love being on stage, you get the reaction, the connection with the audience. But there’s something great about being in a studio, you’re mixing it back, and saying I want to play that differently, and you can’t go back and change on a stage … but there is nothing like playing for an audience.
BG: Speaking of recording, are you working on any other projects?
KT: Right now I’m touring, but I’ve actually been starting to think about getting back into the studio. I’ve got some songs I want to record and my intention is to get back into the studio and start on a project in the next few months.
BG: Can you give us a preview of what that album might be like?
KT: I’ve got some songs that I’ve written that I really want…some times it's great to flesh the songs out in front of an audience, get a chance to sing them, see if the tempo is right, adjust the arrangement, that works great when you’re playing them live. As you get in the studio you can fine-tune it more. And I have a number of tunes written by other folks – cover songs – that are like eating a fine meal. It’s so much fun to sing. So I want to record them. It will be a mixture of what I usually do, some R&B, a little bit of gospel stuff, country.
Kate Taylor will play at River Club Music Hall on Feb. 16 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25. For more information, click here.