Chad Taylor and Friends

Lancaster Roots & Blues RETURNS - Friday, Saturday & Sunday, Sept 27, 28 & 29

Performance Times

Venue Day Start
The Ware Center (Steinman Hall) Sat 9:20 PM

Chad Taylor & Friends

Chad Taylor is immersed in his first solo endeavor on the heels of a global pandemic and three years of woodshedding. Leaning heavily on a catalog of music written and performed over a storied career, Taylor continues to write new material and push boundaries with his touring band, Chad Taylor & Friends. From his mastery of sonic tone to his Cash-like vocals, Taylor’s efforts as a singer-songwriter awaken audiences by reimagining the classic arrangements of his musical legacy, embracing Americana, his voice, and an endless tour of global venues.

Most know Taylor as the founder and guitarist of modern rock standard-bearers LIVE, where he evolved from an archetypical rock artist to a revered musical creator throughout a career filled with innovative left turns and imagination

Born in Baltimore, MD, Taylor started out in the mid-’80s as a guitar-based musician, somewhat in sync with the era’s college radio scene. His efforts were bolstered by his growling guitar tones, the dissonant resonance of his tunes, and a colorful persona with a somewhat eccentric vibe. Taylor’s first few albums, created in his teens, with Public Affection and LIVE, achieved modest commercial traction. Then, the breakout single “Operation Spirit” — produced by Talking Heads guitarist Jerry Harrison —garnered the attention of college radio and punk pioneers the Ramones, PiL’s Johnny Rotten, and Big Audio Dynamite’s Mick Jones. Taylor’s increasingly catchy songwriting and melodic guitar work found a much wider audience with the release of 1994’s game-changing Throwing Copper, which yielded hit singles “Selling the Drama,” “I Alone,” and “Lightning Crashes,” establishing LIVE with alternative peers Nirvana, PJ Harvey, and Soundgarden. Spin and Rolling Stone heralded the band’s music as they graced the covers of both magazines. Billboard’s editor-in-chief declared them “America’s U2.”

To great acclaim, Taylor and his fearless sensibilities managed to amalgamate a wide range of influences, including rocker Neil Young, classical composer Scarletti, country baritone Johnny Cash, and even DJ Shadow on the critically acclaimed album Secret Samadhi, which features Taylor’s ever-increasing love of discord, minor keys, and major resolutions. Songs like “Lakini’s Juice” and “Heropsychodreamer” went to new heights on Saturday Night Live with a rare standing ovation at the cast after-party. Taylor’s music provided a perfect counterpunch to the pop leanings of the melodies floating over his music. His band’s audience grew and flourished as millions of record sales followed. Guitar Player bestowed the title “the new titan of tone” on Taylor, reflecting his ability to create powerful textures and tones that provided the foundation for the album’s #1 debut on Billboard.

As Taylor’s songwriting chops improved, so did his production prowess. When asked to arrange the Johnny Cash classic “I Walk The Line” for a PBS documentary on the history of Sun Records, Taylor, again using his imaginative ear, pulled the song into new territory. Gone were the key modulations and major chords. After carefully reviewing the lyrics, Taylor interpreted the tune in a minor key and even went so far as to write a melodic instrumental coda that carried the material straight into headlines when American Idol vocalist Chris Daughtry performed Taylor’s signature arrangement.

Taylor wrote the indelible music of the band’s runaway international single, “They Stood Up for Love,” which topped the Belgium charts, helping to catapult LIVE into an unprecedented run of arena shows, including 13 sold-out performances in the massive 23,000-seat Sportpaleis as part of the Night of Proms festivities. This was the musical quartet’s final curtain call before a brief reunion in 2017. It is a perfect ending to strip away the excess and begin again.

Never content, especially with the mainstream, Taylor pushed against the creative constraints within LIVE and, in 2009, formed The Gracious Few. From his new musical footings, Taylor birthed mainstream rock singles, “Appetite” and “Honest Man” — songs with a sonic blend somewhere between the swamp blues of Lightnin’ Slim and the heavy thump of Black Sabbath. During his time with The Gracious Few, Taylor was encouraged to write lyrics and melodies to accompany his music.

A new album of Taylor’s original material is in the works. Additionally, a self-written autobiography is in the final stages of review.

 

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