Music, Musings and More...

Aunt Rosie

“Aunt Rosie” is a song which I had kicking around in my head for a while.  It is loosely based on my dear old Aunt Rose. 

With a sense of the music, and an idea of the theme, I took it to wordsmith (and former Langley Fire Chief) Jim MacGregor, who helped to tighten up the lyrics.

This is how “Aunt Rosie” (the song) was born.

Over the next few years, Aunt Rosie, along with other songs I’ve written, got finessed and tweaked, as I performed them at various venues.  Along the way, many folks would request it, and other songs… and also ask if I had any CDs of my music.

It was with this encouragement, and a bit of spare time, I figured the time was right to do something about it!

I knew I would need a studio…somewhere in Vancouver… with a friendly warm atmosphere.

Luckily, I came across Barrell House Sound in East Vancouver!  Engineer/Owner Scott Woolard was knowledgeable and willing to work with me… a completely green songwriter with a desire to work towards producing an album.

I knew I would want some top-notch musicians, and I made a plan to spend time in Vancouver and ‘scout’ musicians and to pair them up with what I had in my head.  However, I quickly realized that I had taken for granted how many awesome musicians there are in Vancouver.  The area is loaded with talent!

Earl Travis Taylor - EarlTravisTaylor.comAgain, luck played a hand, as I ran across one band that stood out, amongst the rest:  The Twisters!  They have a jumpin’, jazzy, bluesy sound that gets deep into your soul.  I immediately introduced myself to the drummer Chip Hart, who, along with original bass player, Sam Shoichet, helped me lay the bed tracks (the foundation for any recording project) for the seven songs that I had written.

Eventually, it will be an album called “A Hundred Miles from Hope”… but for now, “Aunt Rosie” is the initial track. #BabySteps

After the ‘bed’ tracks were recorded, I set about finding other musicians, with which to add “seasoning” to the project.

Will MacCalder came on board to play piano, and suggested Jerry Cook for saxophone.  Jerry then introduced me to trumpeter Derry Byrne and Brian Harding on trombone.  I should point out that although I was feeling a little overwhelmed at this point, I was having a great time meeting and working with these awesome players and interacting with them in the studio.

With all of that done it’s time for some Hammond B3 organ, which Dave Webb and Tim Hearsey at Stella Music added.

The final “seasoning” consists of some brilliant background vocals provided by Rebecca Shoichet (Sam’s sister)

At this point, it is time to mix the tracks, and send them for mastering… and Rob Stewart at JustMastering.com has done a fantastic job!

And now, it is time to share the first track… Aunt Rosie.

You can hear a snippet below, and purchase the “Aunt Rosie” track on BandCamp for only a dollar.

 

 

Click here, to go to Earl Travis Taylor’s BandCamp Page.

Please let me know if you have any feedback!  

There will be more releases coming in 2017.

The next track will be “Lonely Ever After” in early January. (It will also be available for only a dollar a download!)

Thank you for checking it out… I hope you enjoy!’

Cheers,

Earl Travis Taylor

 

Aunt Rosie – Lyrics

Music & Lyrics © Earl Travis Taylor (additional lyrics by Jim MacGregor)

I’m quitting smoking with Aunt Rosie,
But you can bet it wasn’t her idea.
The doctor said she had to or she’d die,
But that doctor ain’t never seen Aunt Rosie’s deal.
You see her life’s a game of Texas Holdem’,
And to her the good life isn’t even real.
‘Cause she can drink a grown man under the table
And what she don’t win from him, she’ll steal.

I’m quitting smoking with Aunt Rosie,
And it’s the hardest thing I’ll ever have to do.
And I should have my sins forgiven,
For the hell that woman is putting me through.

The doctor said that if I really loved her,
I was gonna have to take her smokes away.

But first I was gonna have to stop her drinkin’,
Staying’ up all night, and sleeping half the day.

She says her troubles are few and far between,
And she rolled the biggest joint I ever seen!

I’m quitting smoking with Aunt Rosie,
And it’s the hardest thing I’ll ever have to do.
And I should have my sins forgiven,
For the hell that woman is putting me through.

So someone call the doctor,
‘Cuz I’ve been trying now for thirty days.

But I lost her over on the shady part of town.
She disappeared off into a smoky haze.

I’m quitting smoking with Aunt Rosie,
And it’s the hardest thing I’ll ever have to do.
And I should have my sins forgiven,
For the hell that woman is putting me through.

 

 

Songwriting Influences – Part One

Shel Silverstein - borrowed from his Wikipedia Page - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shel_Silverstein
Shel Silverstein – Click on the image to read more about him.

I have been influenced by many artists but, it’s the mid Seventies artists that come to mind first… and not necessarily all Rock & Roll, either.

For example: I wrote “Aunt Rosie” with my friend James (Jim) McGregor, after we had a looooong talk about Shel Silverstein.  Jim and I are both fans of his.  Silverstein (for those who don’t know) was a wordsmith who wrote lyrics for the likes of Johnny Cash (A Boy Named Sue), The Irish Rovers (The Unicorn Song) and many of the lyrics for Doctor Hook and the Medicine Show (Cover of the Rolling Stone, Sylvia’s Mother). These are just a few of his accomplishments.  Many other artists have covered his songs, and I greatly admire his work.

The Seventies was a time when songs really told a story, and Jim and I both share the desire to tell a story in song. As a matter of fact; when I told Jim that I had an Aunt who liked to imbibe on occasion and that I wanted to embellish the story in song.  He nodded sagely, and went off on his merry way without saying much. Later that same evening, he e-mailed me part of what I like to call “Jim’s Big Box of Words” and his email had waaaay too many words in that story to fit into one song. This obviously called for a writing session together but, rather than write more words during that session; we pared down the “story” that Jim had written, to fit in to a four minute song. I had previously written the melody and the music so the session went rather fast. It only took an hour or so if I recall correctly but, the result was exactly as I had envisioned and I’m sure that Shel would have been impressed. I would like you to take a listen when I officially release “Aunt Rosie” later this month and see if you can hear the correlation and ‘nod’ to Shel.

Lynyrd Skynyrd - Greatest Hits
Lynyrd Skynyrd – Click on the Album Cover to go to their Wikipedia page

Another influence on my songwriting is the band Lynyrd Skynyrd. They practically invented the southern rock sound that is so evident in songs like “Sweet Home Alabama” but, their songs were more inclined to social commentary than the songs that Shel Silverstein wrote. And as much as I admired the lyrics; it was the guitar work that I loved the most. ‘Skynyrd’ had three guitarists at their peak to get that signature sound comprised of Allen Collins, Gary Rossington and Steve Gaines. Steve Gaines brought his own style to ‘the Skynyrd sound’ and to a different level with songs like “I Know a Little” and others that he had penned and it is that sound is that I strove to achieve in more than one song that I have written over the years.

I have had many songwriting influences over the years, and I will continue the homage in my next post.

Stay tuned.

 

BC Songwriters’ Showcase

Trent Olver & Earl Travis Taylor - Headlining the BC Songwriters' Songwriter Showcase - EarlTravisTaylor.comExcited to announce that on Wednesday, March 2nd, I will be co-headlining the BC Songwriters’ Songwriter Showcase.

It should be another great night of “original music, performed by the songwriters”.

The Songwriter Showcase starts at 7:30 pm.  I’ll be sharing the BCSSA stage with Trent Olver.

Open Mic follows, until 9:30 pm.

The BC Songwriters Showcase & Open Mic performances are held at NY Grill & Bistro – 20204 Fraser Hwy, in Langley.

Hope to see you there!

 

Earl Travis Taylor – Getting Up On Stage

Contrary to his current on-stage persona, where he is gregarious and a story-telling raconteur, off-stage Earl Travis Taylor is a reserved and rather private person, who generally prefers not to talk about his personal life. It may seem a bit odd then, that Earl would choose songwriting for his artistic expression. Especially given that Earl Travis Taylor has said on numerous occasions that there is a nugget of truth in each lyric, and how each song he writes is founded in reality.Earl Travis Taylor - Blues Singer/Songwriter - Delta, BC

A running joke between Earls’ family and friends is that if you hang around long enough, you get a song written about you!

Earls’ first foray into recording came after he approached a local singer/songwriter with a couple of his own songs on the radio, and being told that because recording time was expensive, he would choose to record his own songs before recording anything written by anyone else.

This statement might seem to be off-putting to many, but for Earl it served as inspiration. Earl has said that the artists’ honesty was refreshing, and that it was an inspiration to find that kind of sincerity in the music industry.

The radio star went on to say that Earl would be better off to try and make it on his own, rather than to try to pitch songs to others.

Earl Travis Taylor - EarlTravisTaylor.com - Delta, BCThis created bit of a quandary for Earl, because at the time, he had a problem with performing in public. However, he was determined, and with a few songs in his repertoire, and his goal of improving his performances and becoming a true singer/songwriter… Earl forced himself to learn the craft of ‘performing’.

It was soon after this, that Earl Travis Taylor joined a local songwriting group… helping out as a volunteer, board member and learning how to become a performer.

Earl has often been heard to say, “Learning how to perform in front of an audience takes practice and is an art in its own right,” adding, “It took a lot of work, for me to appear to be able to perform with ease. This is something we try to foster in our new performers at the BC Songwriters.”

Earl believes that it is completely due to the blunt honesty of another singer/songwriter, that he has become a performer as well as a songwriter.

 

About Earl Travis Taylor

Earl Travis Taylor with sisters Crystal & Sandy - EarlTravisTaylor.comEarl Travis Taylor was born in Edmonton, Alberta.  Shortly after, his family moved to Vancouver, BC, where his two younger sisters were born.

Earl was painfully shy as a youngster, due to being hospitalized for a large portion of his childhood. Earl has said that he had a hard time speaking in a group, and could not speak in public for a great many years, even into adulthood.  It was not until his mid-twenties that Earl Travis Taylor first started to address his bashfulness by ‘performing’. Earl bought his first guitar when he was 18, and mainly taught himself to play, by playing along with songs on the radio.  He later studied the music theory behind the songs’ construction due to a naturally inquisitive nature. He also began to sing, but did not sing in public for many years after learning the guitar; still painfully timid.Earl Travis Taylor - singer songwriter - Playing in and around Langley, BC - EarlTravisTaylor.com

Playing guitar came in handy for meeting people and socializing around the campfire or, backyard parties and other casual events. Earl could follow a chord chart fairly well and it was easy for him to play rhythm in a group. Here he recalls the first band that he joined: “It was a cover act and we had about 40 classic rock songs in our repertoire. It’s funny to think back now because we didn’t deem them “classic” at the time… but still; the very first time we played a show, the stage had pillars on it, and I spent a large portion of the show standing behind one of them. I was a decent enough rhythm guitar player but, needless to say; my stage presence was lacking.” Earl didn’t last long with this group, and gave up performing for a long while, shortly after this breakup.

The next (and natural) progression in Earl Travis Taylor’s attempt to address his introversion was singing in public. At first, it was in casual situations with people he knew. Earl has often said that it’s easier to sing in front of a group of strangers (no matter how large the group); than with a small group of people that he knew. Earl was almost 30 years old before he could comfortably sing in public.Earl Travis Taylor - Blues Singer/Songwriter - Delta, BC

By this point, he had written a few songs a few songs he thought were pretty good, and a few years after he joined the Nashville Songwriters Association International‘s Langley Chapter, which eventually evolved into the BC Songwriters’ Showcase Association.  Earl has stated many times, that he has learned a lot from this group of singer songwriters over the years, but the friendships are what he cherishes most.  Earl continues to see them, as well as performing with them, and for them, every second Wednesday at the BC Songwriters Showcase & Open Mic.

Earl lives in Delta with his wife, and animal menagerie. He loves visiting with his two kids and one grandchild.

 

Coming Soon

My name is Earl Travis Taylor, and this is my Blog. In the coming months, I will use this space to share my Music… my Musings… my Mentors… and More. I’m looking forward to exploring these things, and sharing them with you. I hope you will come along for the journey… It’s going to be… Continue Reading