Taylor Farley and Blue Rock
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Taylor Farley and Blue Rock

Newport, Kentucky, United States

Newport, Kentucky, United States
Band Rock Classic Rock


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Taylor Farley and Blue Rock make Rock music Bluegrass and vice-versa"

"A lot of people, the first thing they think when they see a banjo is Bluegrass," says Taylor Farley,
veteran banjo picker and frontman/vocalist for the band Blue Rock.
Farley, who has been playing the banjo since age 10, likes to confound expectations. "We play
everything from Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs (two of his greatest influences) to Jimi Hendrix. We play
Marshall Tucker, Pink Floyd, Lynyrd Skynyrd -- just a whole different range. Country people over here in
Newport call me the antichrist. I just play my banjo and run it through an amp -- you'd think I killed their
kids or something."
Jerry Clutter, who plays electric upright bass in the group, tries to describe their style. "What we're
doing is Rock covers with a Bluegrass twist. Just imagine a bunch of guys in the hills finally hearing Rock
& Roll, then getting out their Bluegrass instruments -- it's Hillbilly Rock."
Taylor "Spud" Farley III, who does acoustic lead and rhythm guitar, adds, "We like to take creative spins
on everything. If it's a Bluegrass classic, we like to turn it around and make it Rock, and if it's Rock, we
like to turn it around and make it Bluegrass."
Eddie Napier, who plays the drums, says, "I usually think of it as Classic Rock with a banjo. We also do a
significant amount of Bluegrass, in which case it's Bluegrass with electric guitar."
This is how the band, which Farley started in 1987, got its name, deriving "Blue" from Bluegrass and
"Rock" from Rock & Roll. The present incarnation of the five-piece group has lasted about five years and
is still going strong. Not all listeners are open to the mixing of musical styles, however.
You would never think Bluegrass to be so controversial until hearing Farley talk about it. He tells a story
about how the band got kicked out of the 2002 Appalachian Festival. "I'd played the Appalachian
Festival for going on 30 years and then by the end of the set they had the cops pulling us off the stage
for playing 'Little Wing' by Jimi Hendrix. If I hadn't opened my mouth they would never have known. We
took out the drum set and electric guitar and they just about had a baby calf."
Clutter says, "They didn't think it was too funny introducing the tune (as being) 'by a little Appalachian
boy called Jimi Hendrix.' "
Clutter, however, finds the music to be "a blast. Honestly, I've played Bluegrass most of my life; I've
pretty much run the gamut and played all the Bluegrass that can be played. It's pretty unique, especially
in this area -- you might find a few Bluegrass bands throw in a Rock tune. At live shows we often hear,
'We've never heard Pink Floyd on a banjo.' "
You might say the same for Beatles on a banjo. Or a Bluegrass rendition of "Wipeout," which led to the
title of the band's new CD, Beat This. On the Surf classic, Farley recreates the famous drum solo by
tapping on his banjo.
The group's diversity isn't limited to their repertoire, however. It also includes their personnel; their lead
electric guitarist is a high schooler.
Mike Reese, who has been with the band for a year, brings an edgier sound to the group. A senior at the
School for Creative and Performing Arts, Reese says he grew up with Bluegrass because his family plays
it (in fact they have their own band, called New Clover). He welcomes the opportunity to play with older
musicians. "It's good experience," he says.
Farley has nothing but praise for Reese. "That kid's 17 years old and he burns that guitar better than 40-
or 50-year-old guys I've heard. He's phenomenal. For 17 years old, I couldn't believe what he plays.
Between him and my son (who's 21), they keep us old guys young." - Elizabeth Wu - CityBeat Magazine


Beat This!- Full length CD



Taylor Farley, Jr. has been playing the 5-string banjo since the age of ten. Coming from a musical background, both Taylor’s Father, and grandfather, were accomplished old-timey, traditional frailin’ style banjo pickers. After hearing Earl Scruggs on the old Martha White Grand Ole’ Opry radio broadcast, Taylor began his lifelong quest with the 5-string banjo. That was a long time ago…..
Today, Taylor has blended his own unique style of banjo pickin’ with contemporary styles of music, featuring almost every genre imaginable. You’ll hear folk, rock, gospel, blues, and even a little of that old bluegrass during one of Taylor’s performances.
Throughout the years, Taylor has performed in concerts with some of the
most well respected names in music, such as, The Charlie Daniels Band, The
Earl Scruggs Revue, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Norman Blake, Doc Watson,
Peter Rowan, Johnny Paycheck, and most recently with Willie Nelson.
He has performed throughout the country, from county fairs and
bluegrass festivals, to national events like “A Taste Of Chicago,” WEBN Radio’s Labor Day “Riverfest Fireworks,” Cincinnati’s “Tall Stacks,” Stone Mountain Park in Atlanta, Georgia, and played at all of the old country music clubs in
Nashville, Tennessee.
Always proud of his authentic Appalachian heritage, Taylor was chosen
to be featured in the traveling museum exhibit, “Perceptions of Home, The
Urban Appalachian Spirit,” a photographic, and historical experience of the Appalachian migrants.
Whenever you see Taylor pickin’ on his trademark Crafters of Tennessee
banjo, you will experience a musician that is deeply rooted in the traditions of
yesterday, but is taking his music into the future…..