Brit Taylor first took to the stage in the Kentucky Opry aged 7. oiikjAnd every weekend thereafter through school and high school before she headed south east to Nashville where she got her college degree and worked in the music business. Life was good, or so she thought.
Then it all went haywire, her marriage broke up, and she secluded herself at her little farm and became depressed and distressed.
Until she figured out the real her, and that is what we are hearing on her new record, Real Me, out today, and that is why I’m talking to her and this is what she said:
Who is the real Brit Taylor?
Brit Taylor is a simple girl who grew up in Eastern Kentucky and her mission in life is, through her music, to strive for authenticity. And this simple goal in life has come to her after living her life just a little bit too fast and striving for stuff she wasn’t even sure she wanted but she was caught up in one of life’s slipstreams as does happen and then she hit a wall. And found it hard to wake up in the morning which is not natural for a farm girl who loves her animals and morning coffee in the sun. And had the good sense to recognise not getting up was a sign of depression and forcing herself through it.
Which is reflected in the fourth song on the new record, “Waking Up Ain’t Easy”, a gorgeous country ballad with exquisite guitar from Mike Bourque.
She joined the Junior Opry Group which comprised kids from the area who opened for each Opry show which is near Prestonsburg, Kentucky (not far from Paintsville, where Tyler Childers is from) which attracted a lot of tourists because there are mountains (Appalachians) nearby. So, she’s been playing music in front of people for a long time. And while in essence she sings country, in today’s broad church world it’s as Americana as you can make it.
Coming from the east of Kentucky is a long way from John Prine country at the other end of the state, but the spirit of John Prine is all over her record, particularly because she co writes with John’s best friend Pat McLaughlin, as well as Roger Cook, and of course the biggest collaborator is Dan Auerbach (who is everywhere these days). Check out “Back in the Fire” and “Real Me” written with both Dan and Pat and you get the essence of Brit Taylor and the essence of her authenticity.
But before we get to the record itself, the heart of the matter, the other thing you ought to know about Brit is that she is a Shaolin Kung Fu black belt, so this is one farm girl you don’t wanna mess with. I guess this is where she gets her resilience from.
Success is coming late-ish in your life. But along the way, apart from the ups and downs, you’ve gained an insight into the industry and how it doesn’t work. Is that a path you would recommend? Or should all the Taylor Swift wannabes just head on down to The Listening Room* and go for it?
- The Listening Room is a Nashville café/venue well known for its open mic evenings
Follow your own path, is what experience has told her. Because there is no shortage of singers competing in Nashville, and no shortage of ideas and advice on what to do and what not to do. And everyone is right, at least some of the time. So navigating the Nashville scene and the music business is not easy, just as it isn’t easy to stay true to yourself but that’s the advice from someone who is still on her own path but to a large extent has been there done that.
So here we have it. Brit Taylor is some very together lady who is releasing her debut album today, Friday 20th and it’s a little beauty. The songs are in many ways traditional, there’s Patsy Cline as well as Prine, there’s Willy, there’s Linda Ronstadt, there’s Patty Loveless on her “Wagon”, there’s Dwight Yoakam and there’s waltzes which tug at the heart strings (“Raggedy Heart” and “Broken Heart Breaks” )and there’s a song co-written with Will Hoge which is very tongue in cheek and thankfully not serious as she vows to never get “Married Again” ( Come to New Zealand, we’ll find you someone!!) And last but far from least there’s Western Swing with “Go Down Swingin” where Eastern Kentucky drives to Texas without falling asleep at the wheel.
Exquisitely produced by Dave Brainard, the album features the aforementioned Mike Bourque on guitar and fellow East Kentuckian Adam Chaffins on bass and backing vocals and a cameo harmonica piece from Micky Raphael (Willy Nelson). Plus a bunch of other fine musicians of which Nashville has an overdose.
It’s been a long road since starting to write in 2018 and it’s an uncertain if not insane time trying to figure out whether and how to do album release shows in the middle of a pandemic but just listen to Brit Taylor and you get a sense of the self-assured conviction that authenticity will overcome the obstacles and we’ll see her again and again and we can’t wait for the next one.