Kathleen Taylor

Kathleen Taylor

 Gainesville, Florida, USA
BandFolkSinger/Songwriter

"Everything about this Austin-based Florida transplant Kathleen Taylor is an exhilarating breath of fresh air..."

Biography

Kathleen Taylor has a relationship with the Muse. Not in the figurative, watered-down way we colorfully speak of ordinary inspiration, but in the literal way of the ancient Greeks who knew nine goddesses, fathered by Zeus, who are the source of all creativity. This makes her songwriting process unusual. Kathleen bumps into songs the way other people run into old friends at the corner store: she might find one in the weeds at the end of her driveway, floating just above a well-worn couch, on a bike ride down a rutted road, or in the glowing eyes of a feral cat. The songs are seemingly handed to her fully formed like beautiful gifts.

To tell her story we’re going to go all the way back to an A-frame house in the Colorado Rockies where as a young child Kathleen pushed toys around a cold pine floor while her mother kept the record player turning with the likes of Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Johnny Cash, Odetta, Willie Nelson, and Simon and Garfunkel. While she was occupied with normal childhood pastimes, those voices and songs were finding their way inside her head and heart like the sweet smell of wood smoke blows through the cracks around a cabin door. But the Muse had only just begun to cultivate her. It would be many more years before she picked up an instrument.

That happened when she left Colorado for college in Gainesville, Florida, taking up guitar with no specific aspirations, just out of a desire to play covers of her favorite songs. Then one day her guitar teacher sent her home with a daunting assignment: to write an original song. Sitting down in her living room that night, it didn’t take long to notice the song was already floating around her and all she had to do was put it on paper. In 2006 that song, “Gainesville Today,” became the sublime centerpiece in Kathleen’s first CD Songs for Mothra, a demo album dedicated to her mother who had recently passed away, with solo performances of 11 original tunes and one cover (arguably the definitive version of Townes Van Zandt’s “Brother Flower”). The album quickly became a popular, word-of-mouth and internet phenomena – even garnering airplay on several radio stations. This is all the more impressive when considering that she had never performed in front of an audience before the CD was recorded. That would change…

Encouraged by that success, she and the Muse embarked upon a full-fledged studio album project in 2008 enlisting the help of producer Michael Hynes and some of the world-class musicians who make Austin, Texas home. Reviews for Defy the World were effusive. Critics loved the lush and diverse instrumentation, contagious melodies, clever lyrics, and, of course, her singing voice. It’s an album that appeals in equal parts to your head, heart, ears and feet. As an interesting side note, the title of the album came from a century-old advertisement for Defy the World Brand Cold Packed Tomatoes, part of a mountainous hoard of Victorian trade cards, postcards, photos, advertisements, and greeting cards Kathleen and her fiancé collect and trade as a passion and a side business. All the retro cover art for her CDs as well as other promotional materials on posters and the Internet are adapted from this amazing stockpile.

For her latest studio album, Kathleen and the Muse headed north to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in 2010 to work with Jason Rubal for a more intimate and focused sound that is diverse yet cohesive as a concept album: there’s a mixture of solo acoustic, full band rockabilly, and a touch of nostalgic country (all labels must be used very loosely with Kathleen, however). Her trademark finger-picking on a beloved Martin guitar is front and center on each song. She is joined by a group of extraordinary session musicians, most notably Mark Jason Bohn, one of the most gifted drummers you will ever tap your feet to, and Dave Hadley whose ethereal work on the pedal steel guitar infuses pure magic into the mix. The songs are full of life, populated with nature and brimming with age-old wisdom and childlike wonderment. Her world is a place where bugs and plants can teach us everything we need to know; where love is means, an end, a promise, a long shot, and a glass of wine. And there are the people we meet along the way – drifters, grifters, ghosts, and cowboys – but not one of them is exactly who you’d expect. They are like reflections in a funhouse mirror: look closely and they start looking a whole lot like you.

But before you recognize the quality of the lyrics, you will be won over by her voice. Kathleen’s singing is skilled but unaffected, deeply expressive without being ostentatious. It mines the wealth of the singer-songwriter tradition without imitating it, and is identifiable as being true to the most talented and authentic artists of the past without having a single direct comparison. For a country that celebrates – if not worships – all that is trendy, superficial, pitch-corrected and ostentatious, it’s ironic that the term Americ

Lyrics

Old Enough To Know Better

Written By: Kathleen Taylor

Old Enough To Know Better

All the birds barely fit on the telephone line,
And I don't have a watch, so I won't keep the time.
And I have a sense of what's right and wrong,
But your list of rules goes on and on, and on, and on, and on and on.

(Chorus)
Old enough to know better but too young to resist,
Walking through the streets in the early morning mist,
Old enough to know better but too young to resist,
Walking through your life looking for what you've mist.

Well, you've got yours but you want mine,
And you own many things, but you cannot buy more time.
You're younger now than you'll ever be again.
What are you gonna do with the time that you're given?

(Chorus)

I met an old man at a bar last night with a butterfly under his vest,
Flying above the words that were tattooed on his chest.
As I leaned into read them, he whispered them under his breath,
"Oh, I can fuck you up or I can love you to death."

He said, "I'm old enough to know better but I'm too young to resist,
Walking through the streets in the early morning mist,
Old enough to know better but I'm too young to resist,
Walking through my life looking for what I've missed."

Caterpillar

Written By: Kathleen Taylor

Caterpillar

If you squoosh a caterpillar, you lose the butterfly,
And if you step on someone else, part of you must die.
So, don’t squoosh that caterpillar, just let it be.
And don’t lose love for greed, and then you will see,
How much joy you can bring.
Everybody sing.
How much joy you can bring into the world.

Now, if I were the moon, I’d shine down on you,
And through the darkest night, I’d hold you with my light.
And somewhere in the music, there’s a little light
To help you get through a dark lonely night.
How much light can you bring?
Everybody sing.
How much light can you bring into the world?

Sometimes the Muse whispers in my ear.
Sitting on my shoulder, she’ll sing songs I hear.
And if you’re really quite, you can hear her voice.
She’ll send her vision through you. You will have no choice.
What beauty can you bring?
Everybody sing.
What beauty can you bring into the world?

If you’re living in the future, if you’re living in the past,
You might just miss the moment, and the moment never lasts.
So, stop justifying everything you do.
Start to pay attention. Let the love roll on through.
How much love can you bring?
Everybody sing.
How much love can you bring into the world?

How much love can you bring?
Everybody sing.
How much love can you bring into the world?

How much love can you bring into the world?

Cricket Song

Written By: Kathleen Taylor

Cricket Song

Sometimes, in the nighttime,
When the crickets start to sing,
And the grass is cold between my toes,
And the moonlight touches everything.
Well, that’s the time. Yeah, that’s the right time.
I’m reaching for the mystery
Lifted up by the moment,
Like the crickets, I begin to sing.

(chorus)
My hands are big and I’m a little clumsy,
And hit these rough notes as I can.
Well, my heart is big.
I’m a little clumsy.
I hit these rough notes,
Write these rough words,
Sing this love song as I can.

Sometimes, when I wake up,
I don’t want to pull the covers down.
And outside, like a morning lover,
The mist hangs low and hugs the ground.
Then I think of you, steady and true,
Your love is like the sun.
It burns away all of my worries,
Till I know you’re the only one.

(Chorus)

After you left, we heard a little cricket
Singing through the darkness,
Maybe a muse or a spirit,
Or a goodbye from my dearest friend,
I hope you’re sailing past the wild wood.
I hope you are flying free.
I hope you feel all my love for you
While you’re enjoying the mystery.
I hope you feel all my love for you
While you’re enjoying the mystery.

(Chorus)

(Second Chorus)
My hands are big. I’m a little clumsy,
I hit these rough notes as I can.
Well, my heart is big.
I’m a little clumsy.
I hit these rough notes,
Write these rough words,
Sing this cricket song as I can.

Brilliant Afternoon

Written By: Kathleen Taylor

Brilliant Afternoon

All the colors are so lovely on this brilliant afternoon.
And the sun is sinking lower and the night will be here soon.
And even though this moment it will slip away,
I’ve got to try and hang on to the beauty of today.
Oh, I wrote a song to hang on to the beauty of today.

Everybody’s talking big and everybody’s mad.
‘Cause everybody’s gonna lose everything they have.
And even though this moment, it will slip away.
I’ve gotta try and hang on to the beauty of today.
Oh, I hope that I can hang on to the beauty of today.

It’s been a really long time since you held the hopes of my
Eager young heart that was looking for a sign.
I came around most everyday, hoping that I may
Win your affections, but I never found a way.
And even though I’m older, I’m still looking for the truth.
And you have become a treasure of my youth.
And even though those moments, they have passed away.
I’ve gotta try and hang on to the beauty of today.
Oh, I wrote a song to hang on to the beauty of today.

‘Cause I’m walking on the prairie among the lotus that are beset
By little drops of water that reflect the sunset.
And all the colors are so lovely on this brilliant afternoon.
And the sun is sinking lower and the night will be here soon.
And even though this moment it will slip away,
I’ve got to try and hang on to the beauty of today.
Oh, I hope that I can hang on to the beauty of today.
Oh, I wrote a song to hang on to the beauty of today.

Moonlight and You

Written By: Kathleen Taylor

Moonlight and You
The silver moon lights up the room, through the window blinds,
Painting our tangled bodies in parallel lines.
And there’s an old oak tree growing where the driveway turns,
And in the moonlight I can see the Spanish moss and resurrection ferns.

(Chorus)
Yes, tonight I realize what I never knew.
Happiness, happiness is the moonlight and you.

There’s an old armadillo crunching through the leaves.
He wakes me up most every night on his path straight through my dreams.
And there are secrets in the night, whispered soft and true,
That leave me trembling with delight ‘cause I found you.

(Chorus)
Yes, tonight I realize what I never knew.
Happiness, happiness is the moonlight and you.

A pair of owls joins force for a midnight song.
And their voices capture me. I hope it lasts all night long.
And there are times I’m overwhelmed by what life can be.
And the beauty, it fills me up, and I feel free.

(Chorus)
Yes tonight I realize what I never knew.
Happiness, happiness is the moonlight and you, you, you.

Bootless Cowboys

Written By: Kathleen Taylor

Bootless Cowboys

Bootless cowboys, barbed wire fences, the false fronts of this city life
have worn down all of my senses. I've grown as mean as a rusty knife.
Nights are spent in barrooms, in bottles and dances where my morning hopes waltz away.
I'm going to shake myself lose of these trances, ride out of town, start a brand new day.

Oh, the sound of those tall pine trees
when the wind whispers through their leaves.
I'll sleep by the river, wake covered in dew.
Just one more round, Lady Luck please see me through.
Cause I'm riding on, I'll leave this city life to you.

Worried fingers, worn out wages, the lost cause of this lonely life,
loosing our reason like birds caught in cages, growing used to the bars and forgetting how to fly.
With these walls along the road way, walls around our vision, walls around our heart, walls around our home,
catch us in the shadows of cold division and hide us from the fact that we're not so alone.

Oh, the sound of those tall pine trees
when the wind whispers through their leaves.
I'll sleep by the river, wake covered in dew.
Just one more round, Lady Luck please see me through.
Cause I'm riding on, I'll leave this city life to you.

The high stakes and the hard road may lead a man to gamble, tricked by the house, I'll play my hand.
Then I'll saddle up my horse and homeward I'll ramble. Oh how my heart aches for that verdant land.

Oh, the sound of those tall pine trees
when the wind whispers through their leaves.
I'll sleep by the river, wake covered in dew.
Just one more round, Lady Luck will see me through.
Cause I'm riding on, I'll leave this lonely life to you.
Yes, I'm heading out, I'll leave this city life to you

Angry Ghost

Written By: Kathleen Taylor

I'm running through the fog like and angry ghost
let me life slip away the one I love the most
is gone baby gone baby gone, gone away

I feel my brain is broken and my thoughts are few
I can't recollect my life before you
and it's gone baby gone baby gone, gone to stay

I had an agenda rolling though my head
I didn't believe the words you said
I'm gone baby gone baby gone, gone today

running through the fog like and angry ghost
let me life slip away the one I love the most
is gone baby gone baby gone, gone away

What good is my heart? What good are my hands?
What good is my skin? What good are my plans?
What good are my legs? What good is my chest?
What good is my mouth, now that you've left?

Oh take my teeth, take my toes,
take my house, take my clothes.
Take my food, take my pulse,
Take my mind, Take everything else,
cause your gone baby gone baby gone, gone away

I'm running through the fog like and angry ghost
let me life slip away the one I love the most
is gone baby gone baby gone, gone away

Snake Oil Man

Written By: Kathleen Taylor

Look out here comes the snake oil man
with wondrous potions in my caravan.
Swamp root bitters or vermafuge,
I must have something you can use.

So raise your hands, raise your hands, raise your hands to the sky.
Raise your hands, I will take you, raise your hands, for a ride.
Raise your hands, raise your hands, for the vision so clear,
Raise your hands for the bottle, raise your hands, have no fear

Would you believe that all your ills
could be cured if you take my pills?
Cause I'm your man, I won't let you down.
You'll have no worries long as I am in town.

And raise your hands, raise your hands, raise your hands to the sky.
Raise your hands, I will take you, raise your hands, for a ride.
Raise your hands, raise your hands, for the vision so clear,
Raise your hands for the bottle, raise your hands, have no fear

That tiny war raging in your mind
could be calmed if you drink my wine.
If winter's scorn has left you cold and thin,
try my elixir, it's not a sin.

And raise your hands, raise your hands, raise your hands to the sky.
Raise your hands, I will take you, raise your hands, for a ride.
Raise your hands, raise your hands, for the vision so clear,
Raise your hands for the bottle, raise your hands, have no fear

And who among you, man or boy,
has seen the Swamp Witch drunk with joy?
Come hear the colors and see the sounds
of the spring waking up the ground.

And raise your hands, raise your hands, raise your hands to the sky.
Raise your hands, I will take you, raise your hands, for a ride.
Raise your hands, raise your hands, for the vision so clear,
Raise your hands for the bottle, raise your hands, have no fear.

Discography

"Songs For Mothra"

"Defy The World"

"Wondrous Potions"

Set List

Usually I perform 2 sets about 45-50 minutes in length of original songs. Sets can include the following original songs:
Satellite Cats
Gainsville Today
Cul-de-sac Apocalypse
Defy The World
Wild Face
Old Enough To Know Better
Caterpillar
Cricket Song
Brilliant Afternoon
Moonlight and You
Bootless Cowboys
Waiting
Angry Ghost
Rough Around The Edges
Words In This song
Promised Land
Back in the Race
All I Really Need To Know
Sing To Me
Garden Wine
Back In The Race
I Am Here
Snake Oil Man
Tiny World
Cypress Vine
How Can I Miss You

I can perform either solo or with:

Roy Nash - Bass
Dave Hadley - pedal steel
Dan Gallagher - lead guitar