Creating distinctive music that is also enduring and influential has been Chip Taylor's métier over the course of what is closing in on five decades as "one of America's finest songwriters as well as a masterful singer and performer," says Rolling Stone. His two best-known songs are only some of the many pop, rock, country and R&B chart hits he wrote in the 1960s (Janis Joplin, Aretha Franklin, Dusty Springfield and Frank Sinatra all recorded his songs). Taylor was then one of the pioneers of the pivotal country-rock movement as a recording artist in the 1970s. His 1973 album, Last Chance, remains a beloved cult classic. But after refusing to play by the Nashville establishment rules, Taylor gave up music for full-time professional gambling in 1980.
"Chip Taylor could've rested on his laurels years ago and still been way ahead of everybody else today. Lucky for us he didn't and he's making some of the most relevant music out there," said Buddy Miller just last year. Since returning to music in 1996 he has enjoyed elder statesman stature within the Americana, contemporary folk and singer-songwriter scenes as an artist in his own right as well as in collaboration on albums and in performance with Carrie Rodriguez, Kendel Carson and John Platania. In a remarkable and prolific run, Taylor has released nearly an album a year since his return, each rising high on the Americana chart. As England's The Guardian notes, "Chip Taylor, like Johnny Cash, is well worth rediscovering by a new generation."
His latest album, The Little Prayers Trilogy, is a unique, eclectic collection of new songs over 3 albums. Ranging from stark demo recordings in his garage studio to fully fleshed out roots rock, the songs have in common the power and hope of prayer. Included are two stellar duets with Americana superstar Lucinda Williams that were written out of his experience playing a series of shows in Swedish prisons.
Taylor has been involved in a series of amazing projects in the last several years. Norway's premier folk singer, Paal Flaata, recorded a full album of Taylor songs,Wait By The Fire, and rode it to the Top 10 and a Norwegian Grammy nomination. His final tour with Carrie Rodriguez, whose latest acclaimed album features four Taylor compositions, is chronicled in the book/CD Songs From A Dutch Tour. The Grammy-nominated Yonkers NY (2009) shows his facility with storytelling within songs. And coming in 2015 is a book/CD, Son Of A Golf Pro, which combines the story of growing up on the golf course with often hilarious songs about the sport.
As Taylor's muse continues to fire on all pistons, musical tastemakers agree that fans and listeners should tune their ears into the continuing creativity of a true musical master. "If names like Willie Nelson, Guy Clark, Kris Kristofferson and Townes Van Zandt mean anything to you, you should make a point of discovering Chip Taylor," urges critic Anthony DeCurtis. "Whether you know it or not, he's earned his way into that exalted company."