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.
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.
This 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.
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.
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.
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.