Taylor-made harmonies

“Don’t hide your light under a bushel” is something your grandmother might once have told you. Renowned singer/songwriter Chip Taylor (Wild Thing, Angel of the Morning) would heartily agree with this sentiment.

“Don’t hide your light under a bushel” is something your grandmother might once have told you.

Renowned singer/songwriter Chip Taylor (Wild Thing, Angel of the Morning) would heartily agree with this sentiment.

“I wonder how many people, with just a little bit of encouragement, would find out they are brilliant at some (talent) they thought they never had,” said Taylor, who performs at Red Deer’s Elks Lodge on Sept. 15 with singer/violinist Carrie Rodriguez.

Rodriguez was one of those who needed coaxing to find her singing gift. When the Texas native started a music career, she only played the violin.

“She told me, she never sang — ever,” recalled Taylor. “The most she would do is hum in the shower, because she always thought she had an ugly voice.”

But after asking Rodriguez to join him on tour as a fiddler in 2001, Taylor encouraged her to harmonize with him on stage. He had always loved harmony groups, and thought it would be nice to combine voices with Rodriguez.

He had no idea now wonderful it would turn out to be.

“The chemistry was so magical between our voices,” said Taylor, that he and Rodriguez made three duet albums together — Let’s Leave This Town (2002), The Trouble With Humans (2003), and Red Dog Tracks (2005).

Their harmonies create “an emotional blend that gives me a chill,” he added. “You know how something can be so honest, it’s scary?”

The two toured together in Europe, performed on the TV show Top of the Pops, as well as numerous BBC radio programs. Taylor and Rodriguez were even featured together on U.S. National Public Radio, and in the New York Times.

After making the duet albums with Taylor, Rodriguez released her debut solo CD, Seven Angels on a Bicycle, and her career as a singer/songwriter was born. She’s since performed with Lucinda Williams, Los Lobos, John Mayer, John Prine, Patty Griffith, and Bruce Hornsby — but recently decided it was time to re-join voices with Taylor again on a new tour.

“There’s something very magical about her voice and mine,” said Taylor. “I’ve harmonized with other singers, but it’s not the same kind of blending of voices as with Carrie.”

Their Red Deer show will feature mostly their duets. The set list might include I Cry For Love, a tune that Taylor wrote for one of Rodriguez’s albums. She’s called it “a true gift. It came from one of our greatest songwriters of all time, in my humble opinion…”

Taylor, who last performed in Red Deer in 2014 (also for the Central Music Festival Society), built a long and storied career in music after an unsuccessful attempt to become a golf pro. He wrote hits for The Troggs, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Juice Newton, among others.

Born James Wesley Voight (his famous relations are niece Angelina Jolie and brothers actor Jon Voight and renowned geologist Barry Voight, who invented a formula to predict volcano eruptions), Taylor learned to play guitar as a teenager and began composing his own songs, inspired by the Delta blues and country music.

He broke into the music business as a singer/songwriter and was signed by King Records in the early 1960s. “I wasn’t selling enough, so I began selling my songs to other people,” he recalled.

After being asked to create a rock song he came up with Wild Thing, which was written in one day in 1965. It went to the top of the charts when The Troggs recorded it.

The tune was also famously covered by Hendrix at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival. Hendrix memorably lit his guitar on fire at its conclusion.

Joplin turned Taylor’s Try (Just a Little Bit Harder) into one of her signature tunes, while a number of artists performed his Any Way That You Want Me, including Juice Newton (who also made a hit of his Angel of the Morning).

Waylon Jennings took Taylor’s tune Sweet Dream Woman to the top of the charts, while Son of a Rotten Gambler was recorded by Emmylou Harris, The Hollies and Anne Murray.

His songs were also performed by Frank Sinatra, Willie Nelson, Ike and Tina Turner, Johnny Cash — and even Kermit the Frog.

After turning his back on the “formulaic” music industry for a time to become a professional gambler (Taylor was so successful he was eventually banned from Atlantic City casinos), he returned to songwriting about 20 years ago after writing a song at his dying mother’s bedside.

Among his critically lauded recent albums is the three-disc The Little Prayers Trilogy (2014) of honest, reflective songs written in his stream-of-consciousness style.

His latest solo EP, I’ll Carry For You, was inspired by the special bond between golfer sisters Brooke and Brittany Henderson.

Taylor said the supportive sisters reminded him of his own relationship with his brothers while growing up. “We were always rooting for each other.”

Tickets for the 8 p.m. show, also with Van Morrison guitarist John Platania and standup bassist Mike Lent, are $40 ($300 for a table of eight) from www.centralmusicfest.com or by calling 403-886-5745.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The union representing workers at the Olymel meat processing plant in Red Deer confirmed the death of a worker on Wednesday. (Advocate file photo)
Union confirms death of worker from Olymel plant

An investigation by the UFCW 401 local has confirmed a fourth death… Continue reading

Sunterra Market is preparing to open at Bower Place. (Photo from Facebook)
Sunterra Market to open in Red Deer in March

Bower Place to welcome grocery shoppers

Weather brief (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).
Red Deer experiences driest winter in 99 years

The city only had 9.6 millimeters of precipitation between December and February

The number of positive cases of COVID-19 has been climbing up since Jan. 20 at Red Deer's Olymel meat processing plant. (File photo by Advocate Staff)
Some Olymel workers return for training, plant reopening date not set

Union calls for delay of opening as workers fear for safety

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, March 2, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Conservative MP David Sweet joins chorus calling for end to COVID-19 restrictions

OTTAWA — A Conservative MP has joined the chorus of voices calling… Continue reading

The Onslow Belmont Fire Brigade is seen in Lower Onslow, N.S., Wednesday, April 22, 2020. The RCMP says two officers who fired towards a civilian and another RCMP officer during last year’s mass shooting will remain on administrative duties until internal inquiries are completed .THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
N.S. RCMP who shot at firehall on administrative duty during internal reviews of case

HALIFAX — The RCMP says two officers who fired towards a civilian… Continue reading

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rises during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. Efforts to increase Canada's ability to produce vaccines is among over 100 projects receiving new federal money. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Over 100 new projects to get $518 million in federal research funding

OTTAWA — Efforts to boost Canada’s ability to produce vaccines are among… Continue reading

Hassan Diab, whose allegations of involvement in a 1980 synagogue bombing were dismissed by French judges for lack of evidence, listens during a press release on the release of an external review on his extradition by the Justice Department on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa, Friday, July 26, 2019. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is signalling that Canada will stand up for Diab, an Ottawa sociology professor facing trial in France, following calls from human-rights advocates to intervene. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Trudeau signals support for Hassan Diab as Ottawa professor appeals case in France

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is signalling Canada will stand up… Continue reading

NDP MP Niki Ashton stands during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Thursday, April 26, 2018. Two prominent Jewish advocacy groups are voicing anti-Semitism concerns ahead of a public conversation between NDP MP Niki Ashton and former U.K. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Jewish groups raise anti-Semitism concerns ahead of NDP MP’s chat with Corbyn

OTTAWA — Two prominent Jewish advocacy groups are voicing concerns about anti-Semitism… Continue reading

Major-General Dany Fortin, left, looks on as Minister of Public Services and Procurement Anita Anand provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020. The Public Health Agency of Canada has set aside up to $5 billion to pay for COVID-19 vaccines. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Public Health Agency of Canada budgets $5B for COVID-19 vaccines, treatments

OTTAWA — The Public Health Agency of Canada expects to spend up… Continue reading

A vial of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a family doctor office, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021 in Paris. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP -Christophe Ena
Trudeau ‘optimistic’ that timeline for rollout of COVID vaccines can be accelerated

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed optimism Wednesday that his government’s timeline for… Continue reading

UCP MLA for Lacombe-Ponoka Ron Orr. (File photo)
MLA Ron Orr: Benchmarks were achieved but goalposts were moved

Orr responds to concerns, calls on province to fully open Step 2

Most Read