Many thanks to Mary Shapiro and Jeff Wolf at Stillwaters Supper and Songs in Marshall, Virginia for having me perform at their beautiful home on September 1 — the outdoor covered stage setup was exceptional. Mary and Jeff were the consummate hosts. Jeff did a beautiful job with the sound — his attention to detail put me blissfully at ease. (Jeff recorded the concert, so a live CD may be in the works!) His drum accompaniment on several of my songs was the perfect touch — and unrehearsed! Mary took care of promotion with her warmth and heartfelt commitment to building their community though music. If you have an opportunity to go to one of their shows, I hope you will.
My experience as a performer was possibly the best I’ve ever had. I had an opportunity to meet almost everyone in the audience before the show started, during the potluck supper beforehand. During the break and after the show, so many came up to me to express their connection to my songs, buy my CD, and share their gratitude for my being there. I felt so welcome, so validated, and so encouraged to keep doing what I love. I plan to book more house concerts in 2019, and am more than happy to travel — if you or someone you know is interested in hosting, please let me know.
On May 25, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to appear on The State of Things, a program on our local public radio station WUNC, that features North Carolina people and issues. Award-winning guitarist and producer Jon Shain joined me for a live interview and a few songs. Listen to the interview. Many thanks to host Frank Stasio and State of Things producer Laura Pellicer, who reached out to me after watching a video of my performance on Hillsborough’s WHUP FM. It was an honor to be in the WUNC studio!
With Leah, playing to a full house at Carolina Preserve, November 2017
The new year snuck up on me — non-music-related work, preparing to downsize, and moving took up a lot more energy and time than I would have liked. I did manage to fit in a songwriting workshop with Jon Shain and Joe Newberry, and another annual Great Guitar Camp led by Danny Gotham, both of which felt like shelter in a storm! I finally feel like I’m coming up for air, settling into a routine again, and picking up the guitar and singing on a regular basis, just like I like to 🙂
Check my dates page for upcoming gigs, both solo and with Leah Kaufman. Next up is a songwriter showcase at Summit Coffee in Davidson, NC hosted by Rob McHale. Am really looking forward to having Barry Gray (of local GrayMatter fame) join me and Leah at The Roost in May!
Also in May is my fourth Southeast Regional Folk Alliance conference, always a joy! Leah and I will be sharing our songs there at some of the “unofficial” showcases, palling around with other musicians, and learning a ton along the way.
Hope the start of this year has been good to you and yours. See you soon!
Last August, I met Leah Kaufman at Danny Gotham‘s Pick-n-bow folk music retreat weekend in Durham, NC. We quickly developed a mutual admiration for each others’ songs, and shortly after, began “working” together – getting together to play, share song ideas, and discuss music in general. Leah has been writing much longer than I have — she released her Five Fingers album in 1999, at a time when she’d been performing frequently with a band. After a hiatus, she’s back at it, not only writing but releasing another CD later this year, produced and engineered by the same team I worked with on mine: Jon Shain and FJ Ventre. You’ll hear me on backing vocals, which were pure joy to sing. The CD is flush with talent on a wide variety of instruments — I can’t wait to hear it!
Leah’s songs are sweet, smart, and funny. She can play (guitar and uke!). She can harmonize. She’s a joy to be around. We started performing together recently and have a lot of gigs coming up. We encourage each other to sing better, play better, and perform better. We plan on doing some co-writing, too. If you come out to see us, I think you’ll experience the joy, too.
The headline says it all! I’m thrilled that my album is doing so well on folk radio. Yes, there are hundreds of folk radio stations out there, folks! From small towns to big cities, in the U.S. and abroad, folk and other acoustic music is alive and well on Internet stations, local public radio, and college stations. I’m very grateful to all the DJs who have played songs from the CD; almost every track has been played!
Performing with fellow camper Roy Smith at the fourth annual Great Guitar Camp
2017 is off to a great start (musically speaking!). For the third year in a row, I recently attended Danny Gotham‘s Great Guitar Camp, two days of workshops aimed at honing guitar skills. Entire worlds are opening up to me with what I’ve learned at these events. Contact Danny if you’re interested!
I’m looking forward to all my performance opportunities this year. I’ll be playing in some new venues, including a house concert opening for Jon Shain, and I’ll be back in Baltimore at An Die Musik in the fall. Check my schedule and subscribe to my mailing list to keep up with the latest!
With Jon Shain at Doodad Farm, Greensboro, July 2016
On tour with Tokyo Rosenthal and Michael Daughtry, Aug 2016
A Celebration of NC Songwriters, Cary Theater, Sept 2016
At Carrboro Music Festival
Since the release of Awake Again, I’ve had several wonderful opportunities to share my songs. In July, I opened for Jon Shain, Molly McGinn and Sam Frazier at Doodad Farm in Greensboro, and in August I went on a very fun mini-tour in Virginia and Maryland with Tokyo Rosenthal and Michael Daughtry. September was busy, with a performance at a Pinnacle View private event, sharing the Cary Theater stage with NC songwriters Wyatt Easterling, Kirk Ridge, Rebekah Todd, and Dean Driver, and playing for a great crowd at Steel String Brewery for the Carrboro Music Festival. As I follow my heart — the heart of the little girl who always loved to sing — I continue to be grateful and amazed at the support of friends, fans, and fellow musicians. Singing brings me a lot of joy — thanks for listening and letting me share my joy with you!
The next couple of months will be less busy, by design. I like to focus on my family and friends during the holiday season, and I’m also making time to do more songwriting. I have just a couple of performances before the New Year arrives, and am working on 2017 bookings. Please subscribe to my mailing list if you’re interested in getting updates. Remember: music heals!
Isabel’s debut CD Awake Again is now available through CD Baby! You can order a physical or digital copy of the CD.
The CD release party on June 11 was a huge success! Playing to a standing room only crowd, Isabel was joined by producer and guitarist Jon Shain, sound engineer and bassist FJ Ventre, Ed Butler (drums), Lynn Blakey (backing vocals), Tim Stambaugh (banjo and dobro) and Kaye Saunders (piano). The party included a debut of a video for ‘Take Me Flying,’ produced by Parker Bruer.
A show to celebrate the release of Isabel Taylor’s debut CD Awake Again will be held at The Trails community clubhouse, 8920 Coachway (off of Dodson’s Crossroads) in Chapel Hill on Saturday, June 11 at 8pm.
Produced by award-winning songwriter and guitarist Jon Shain and engineered by FJ Ventre (longtime Shain collaborator and bassist for the Swang Brothers, Mary Johnson Rockers, and more), the CD features twelve original tracks on self-reflection, lessons learned, and the path forward. Along with Shain and Ventre, joining Taylor will be Ed Butler (drums), Lynn Blakey (of Tres Chicas; vocals), and Tim Stambaugh (banjo), all highly-respected and accomplished musicians who contributed to the tracks. Read the full press release.
Care to help spread the word? Download and print this 8 1/2″ x 11″ poster and tack it up on your community bulletin board or local telephone pole!
Well, this is it – the cover of my CD, which will be available very soon in all the usual ways: physical CD (with beautiful design by Mark Trinkaus, Pentad Design), CD Baby, etc.
These 12 songs reflect over three years of my songwriting efforts. The CD was produced by Jon Shain, engineered by FJ Ventre, and mastered by Jeff Carroll. Many local and gifted musicians contributed. I am very proud!
More to come!
Recently, the theme of courage and confidence has come up for me more than once. Those were the words that came to me at a Pinnacle View women’s retreat in September, when I was asked “What is your intention for this weekend?” Courage and confidence were what I wanted to tap into, so I could carry them into the coming months. Courage to take a break from performing and confidence that I would get booked again. Courage to take on the biggest musical project of my life – recording a CD of my original songs – and the confidence to pursue it with the knowledge that I’m doing what I love and I’m ready. Just before Christmas, a friend asked me to write my wish for the coming year on a tag that she would hang on her “wish tree.” I chose to remind myself of those two words again. And then, my daily planner used the same two words in its weekly reminder, on the very week I’m to start recording. Clearly, “courage and confidence” is going to be my mantra for 2016!
In December, I was invited to appear on WHUP FM’s Pass the Hat, hosted by Bob Johnson and with fellow guest Dean Driver. The show is archived, and there are a couple of videos: “Fear and Wanting,” and one of my latest, “Hold Her Like Sand,” inspired by a comment the mother of an old boyfriend of mine made to him when he and I dated back in high school. Songwriting inspiration is everywhere!
Leading up to Christmas, I was feeling a little melancholy, missing my family and especially my mother, who passed away almost 10 years ago. I found myself on Christmas morning writing and finishing a song in a couple of hours, something that does not often happen for me. “Christmas Morn” (or maybe “Christmas Sunrise”) will end up on my second CD (that’s confidence talking!).
I’ll announce some shows as soon as the details are worked out. Thanks as always for your generous support. With gratitude and eagerness for what this year will bring,