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 🙂
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!
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!
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!
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’sPass 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,
Carrboro Music Festival at Steel String Brewery, Sept. 27, 2015
Performing with guitarist Joshua Cohen
So…another year of performances is winding down. 2015 has been tremendous fun, with music- and friend-making, and growth in my songwriting, performance, and even guitar skills. I am so grateful to be part of our musician community and to share my passion for singing meaningful songs.
These photos were taken at the Carrboro Music Festival, where Joshua Cohen and I played an almost-all originals set (we perform a jazzy version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”). The beauty of playing the Festival is that the audience really listens – the schedule is packed with great acts all day, and there’s a lot of musical variety to choose from. We had a really nice turnout of friends and newcomers. We made some new friends!
I have a couple of bookings in October (see Dates), and then, as in the past, I will likely take November and December off from performing to focus on other things – family, songwriting, and…working up my songs for my first ever CD! More details on that as they develop – suffice it to say that I’m extremely excited to take this next step in my music career. Thanks for following along and supporting me on my journey!
A couple of months ago, my husband Keith and I were on our way to a wedding near Atlanta. I was enjoying the beautiful, unfamiliar scenery when we crossed a bridge with a river running underneath. In that moment I heard a lyric in my head. I sang it to Keith, melody and all, and recorded it on my phone. I worked on the song for about a month and was having trouble finishing it when I left for the Southeast Regional Folk Alliance conference in Montreat, NC. It was there I met fellow songwriter Kipyn Martin, whom I’d heard perform and admired. While talking about songwriting over breakfast, I mentioned that I had brought an unfinished song to the conference and was having trouble finishing it, even in that idyllic setting. Kipyn graciously offered to listen and offer me her suggestions. The result is “What the Water Knows.” I’m grateful to Kipyn for her kind insights, and to those of you who’ve heard the song, identified with it, and have even been moved by it. I could not ask for more.