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 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.
Last weekend I had the great pleasure of meeting singer-songwriter David Wilcox and playing a few of my songs for the intimate crowd gathered for Pinnacle View‘s “I Belize In You” benefit event. The benefit raised funds to send inspirational books to children at the Zion School in Belize, where children regularly go without school supplies that we consider basic.
We videotaped my performance so I could share the experience. I hope you enjoy watching it as much as I enjoyed singing that night. The house-concert atmosphere meant everyone was there to listen, and I was grateful for their attentiveness and graciousness as they waited for David to start his show. If you’ve seen him, you know what an engaging performer he is. Having some one-on-one time with David and talking about songwriting and music was icing on the cake. It was a very special night! Thank you, Elizabeth 🙂
What a busy few months we had between June and October! Twenty-one performances, solo and group, indoors and out. We keep getting better and having more fun as we do. Last night was our last group gig of the year at The Goat at Fearrington Village, and we went out with a bang. Unplugged, up close, and uptempo. We couldn’t have asked for a better closer.
The next couple of months will give me time to record some of my new songs, get back to doing open mics (great venues for debuting songs), improving my guitar skills, and writing more.
As the year is winding down, I’m again (really, still) feeling grateful for all the opportunities this year, for the growth of the band both in number and skill, and for the continued support from fans, friends, family, and especially my husband, Keith. I’m especially grateful to Tom Ed White, Cara Bonnett, and Janet Hadler for all their contributions and dedication. I look forward to 2015 and know it will be another year for growing musicianship, building relationships, and even more new experiences. Here’s to that!