Chip Taylor's Road Journal

Read Chip's words about life on the road, recording in the studio and much more...
Older Road Journal Entries are in the Archive

March 15-19, 2010 SxSW Austin, TX


We cut four new songs. What a magical session! The Chip & Carrie vibe was never better. Hopefully we’ll schedule a release sometime in early fall & we’ll play some shows at that time. I’ll look forward to that.

Mar 17, 2010 – SXSW ROOFTOP SHOW

It’s great to be with bassist Kevin Smith again. Kevin played often with Carrie & me a few years ago. He’s been on the road with Dwight Yoakum & the Derailers, but tonight he’s with Kendel, John & me.

Sixth street is nuts tonight. This is a rooftop show & the madness of the street is there in the background. But on stage we’re in our own world. This was more rockabilly in attitude than we’ve ever been and I loved every minute.

HI TO MY FRIENDS FROM OSLO, NORWAY .. John & Irving .. – AND HI TO HIROSHI from Japan. A fan from back in the GASOLINE days, ??? now books artists like Tom Waits & Guy Clark in his country. He’s invited us. Sounds like a great idea to John, Kendel & me. Let’s do it!!


This is an unofficial SXSW venue hosted by great friend & brilliant musicologist, John Conquest. We ALWAYS look forward to this one – it doesn’t get better than this!

This is an outdoor patio event. And we couldn’t have picked a better day – 75% & the sun is shining!! Big thanks to Kyle Kegerreis – on loan from Carrie – for playing bass with us today. GREAT JOB KYLE!!


We mixed it up with some YONKERS NY songs, some Kendel gems & some of the hits. Lots of highlights.. including BASTARD BROS, HEY JONNY (DID YOU FEEL THAT MOVIE), KENDEL’s SEVEN SHADOWS ON YOUR GOLDEN ROSES, WILD THING & ANGEL OF THE MORNING………..

but probably the biggest highlights for me were SAW MILL RIVER ROAD (with tributes to BIG RIVER & ENDLESS SLEEP)

AND most special of all, JESUS CHRIST – DON’T LET THE CACTUS FALL.. my tribute to this wonderful/ soulful place .. in camaraderie with those who are making a big effort to keep it’s doors open.

Kendel & John were awesome today .. as was KYLE, who was quite a hero to all of us for filling in so amazingly at the last minute. BIG THANKS MY FRIEND – WELL DONE!!


Great friends Terry & Alyce & friends!! Alyce.. so good to hear your “late night” radio story.. So good to see you always!! Hi to my old friend Sonny Rhodes & friends, Sylvia & Bobby Joyce, Ed (Strayhorn), & Dave (Gabby).. Great to see you all – Thanks for the ride Dave – much appreciated!! Hi to Jim & Cathy from Brookings Oregon ( The Pistol River Clubb.. let’s see if we can get there…. so good to see you again!! Thanks so much for the kind words!

Hi Richard (from Brighton).. great talking to you!! Hi to Margaret (from Manchester) .. glad to hear the town is doing more “Americana” music.. maybe we can get there & see you before too long.

Hi John.. Sverre.. nice talking to you.. HI TO OLD FRIEND MARC MUNDY & friend from the station, OBIE.. great to see you both.. love to Barbara.. Hi John.. please send Kate my love & good luck in school .. hope to see her next time!! Hi to Todd .. from Marfa!! .. whose BORDER BLASTERS did such a GREAT job backing Kendel two years ago at SXSW..

Hi Sandy from Houston & sister Nancy from Connecticut!! Great to see you both!!.. Dave (from the GASOLINE DAYS.. works in Parks & Wildlife)) .. it was so nice talking to you .. look forward to seeing you again..


What a day!! THANKS JOHN!!! .. there’s nothing better than this!

Mar 18, 2010 – 10:00 PM – John & I just rehearsed with SUN VOLT bassist, Andrew Duplantis for an unexpected important show tomorrow. What a talented & nice guy. Looking forward to playing with Andrew for the first time!!

Mar 19, 2010 – 1:00 PM – DAY STAGE – CONVENTION CENTER


Live for SXSW & aired for PACIFICA RADIO / HOUSTON & taped for future broadcasts on all Pacifica stations

At the last minute Bryan Owings (our friend & Buddy Miller’s awesome drummer) joined us – along with newcomer, Andrew Duplantis on bass

WHAT A BAND .. one of my favorite shows ever!! Amazing sound .. Big thanks to sound man, Nick!! – NEVER BETTER MY FRIEND!!! .. we played YONKERS NY stuff.. some of Kendel’s .. some hits.. after a standing ovation from this great group of folks, we closed with JESUS CHRIST – DON’T LET THE CACTUS FALL.. with several singing along… this was one to remember. I’m happy it was taped.. maybe we can find a way for fans to hear it before too long!

It was great to see some old Austin friends after the show ( HI MOLLY!!) & SXSW assistants Anne & Margaret (filming) – very special folks .. as well as friend Ralph McLean from Belfast.. so good to see you Ralph.. hope to see all my Northern Ireland friends before too long. Please tell them I miss them big time!


Tony Mercadante met me at the North White Plains train station at 10:20 AM. After a 2 & ½ hour staright-shot ride up the NY Freeway, we arrived at the station for taping our “live: show at 1:00PM.

Great to see my old friends, Starr (who greeted us at the door) & DJ hosts Dave & Chris (Weink). I get a very warm feeling being at this place with these kind folks. The station is housed in a cool, modern – state-of-the art building.. sort of in a business park in no-mans-land. It’s a good thing Tony & I had a GPS or we’d have had a hard time finding it. John Platania, with NO GPS was a bit late – way out of character for him!! With John’s influence, I’m early for everything these days. He’s as prompt as you get.

Once settled, we played four Yonkers songs before Dave did a very good & interesting interview, which he would edit together with the songs for airing at about 5:00 PM. BIG THANKS GUYS & MUCH LOVE STARR – LOVED THIS!! – SEE YOU SOON AGAIN!!


It was great to be back in this town playing again – haven’t been here in four years or so. And this venue is quite special. It’s a little theater-like place in a former large stand-alone-bank – a big old World War II era construction (a large cinder block, with it’s certain charm). Our “green room” was the former bank’s vault;. By the way, a “green room” gets it’s name from the first TV live shows, with the idea that .. this was the last room, after makeup, that the “guest” would relax in, before going on camera. The room was considered a GREEN LIGHT (as opposed to RED light) area. In other words you had the GREEN light to go on stage from there. Get it?? I never understood that until I asked the question yesterday.

We sound checked with great guys (& pro guys) Adam & Danny, then went back to our Hilton Hotel to freshen up & have dinner. We were back at our “green room” by 7:30 – on stage shortly after 8:00.


This was a very warm group of folks to play for. It definitely had that “in-your-living room feel. After THE REAL THING, we played a very unique version of DANCE WITH A HOLE IN YOUR SHOE. This is getting to be one of my favorite songs to perform these days. Within the framework of one song, it shows an honest sense of humor combined with dead-on serious passion. I like that.

Then we started the YONKERS journey. And as happens every night, unusual twists & turns in the road happened. As I relived the events of the YONKERS days tonight, I found myself talking more about the KING RECORDS days & recording sessions & the BRILL BUILDING days, which for me was the 1650 BROADWAY days. I love going there.

There were lots of highlights for me tonight, but SAW MILL RIVER ROAD, BIG RIVER, CHARCOAL SKY (with John’s awesome soulful, soft guitar riffs), YONKERS GIRLS – with TONY & JOHN’S off the wall “answer” vocals & a reverent version of the title song, YONKERS NEW YORK come to mind.

And there was a another total first tonight. Somewhere toward the end of WILD THING .. I sort of drifted back to the earlier days & played the first song I wrote, FADED BLUE & the first song I had published, JUST A LITTLE BIT LATER ON DOWN THE LINE.. then we came back to WILD THING and blasted that one again – ending with a great audience sing-a-long. That was a fun journey.

After a special request of WITHOUT HORSES (certainly another highlight).. I think from Maureen & Matt (big thanks for that!), we ended with a rousing version of I WASN’T BORN IN TENNESSEE.


Big thanks to all who attended tonight – this will be special memory for me.

Said hi to several folks after the show including:

Special hi to old friend Mindy & husband Steve – so good to witness your YONKERS REUNION tonight!!! God Bless!! It was just GREAT to see you guys again!! Hi to Tom & Mary Anne .. thanks so much for the kind words!

Hi Johnny – so great to see you in the audience & after. Thanks for sharing thoughts about THE TROUBLE WITH HUMANS. It’s certainly one of my all time favorites as well. I think/hope you’ll really like YONKERS. Hope to see you soon!

Hi Susan .. good to see you .. & hi Barbara.. hope son-in-law Bobby enjoys the YONKERS journey. Hi Brian., thanks for taking the time to say hello. All the best with YOUR writing.. Hi Kim.. God Bless!! ..

Barbara & Matt .. so good talking to you .. I’m sure the Bill Moyers journal stuff is great – looking forward to reading that. Big hello to old Café Lena friend, Tarryn & husband, John – great talking to you .. best with your song decisions.. don’t forget .. stay true to your own gut.. life is short! Hi Reggie.., heard so much about you from John. All the best to you & Kim. Hope to see you guys soon. And a big hi to friend, Chris Weink – thanks for stopping by .. see you soon.

BIG THANKS FOR HAVING US HOWARD! I truly hope we can do it again.


photo courtesy of John Beach


This is a homecoming of sorts – just the other side of the Hudson River is Westchester County, my growing up stomping grounds.

It’s JP, Tony Merc & me tonight as Kendel is back in Canada recovering from a cold. Tony & I take a 3:51 PM train out of Grand Central. His car is waiting. After a short drive across the Tappan Zee bridge & back along the Hudson on 9W, we head down hill toward the river to the quaint little town of Piermont. The venue is on one of a few blocks whose storefronts look mostly like fronts of little old Cape Cod homes. We arrive at The Turning point at exactly 5:00 (load in time). An always, a punctual JP (John Platania) arrives at the same time.

Owner/ mgr/ soundman, John McAvoy, greets us at the door. We set up our equipment in minutes & finish sound checking by 6:00. It’s been a few years since I played this place. I had forgotten how comfortable a venue this is to play.

The artist “green room” is on the third floor. We adjourn there to relax & are served some decent club food by our very nice waitress, Kim. It’s always good hanging out with Tony & John – three old best friends who’ve been through the music wars together.

I’m a bit anxious to see who will attend. Supposedly there has been a good advance sale. But most of my Westchester contingent is unable to be there, so I’m not sure who these pre-sale folks are.


As we hit the stage, I realize that I have NEVER seen many of these faces. My daughter, husband Frank & friends are here .. my wife Joan & best friends Chuck & Mary & a few other friends & neighbors are here. But for the most part I’m seeing new faces. I quickly learn what that’s all about.

When I say, “We’ll get to YONKERS NY songs in a few minutes.”, the audience cheers! So that was it. Later, I would find out that most of the new faces were YONKERS folks, who had heard about the album in the New York Times or other local press. I absolutely loved playing for these warm folks tonight.

We started with THE REAL THING – my tribute to country music & the race records from the south (which later became known as “rhythm & blues” records). Next, I had some serious fun singing DANCE WITH A HOLE IN MY SHOE & teasing my daughter for not letting my granddaughters (11,8 & 6) come to the show to sing it with me. Actually they were home studying for some big school tests tonight. Hopefully, they’ll be there next time!

As is usual these days, after a few planned opening songs, we started with the YONKERS NY songs & stories. Each night the stories take a bit of a different turn as I recall different events along the YONKERS path. And as the stories take new turns, so does my song selection. Tonight, in the middle of the YONKERS songs, I started drifting back to the first songs I had published.. & some of my first “small” successes, with my first song produced by Chet Atkins for THE BROWN FAMILY, “SPRINGTIME” .. then, “ANYWAY THAT YOU WANT ME”.. an R&B hit by Water Jackson & covered by Dusty Springfield.

Then it was back to Yonkers with SAW MILL RIVER ROAD, WITHOUT HORSES, YONKERS GIRLS & others.. then a mad rockin’ WILD THING.. & a reverent/crazy HOLY SHIT .. & finally my tribute to MT VERNON bars & my country band, The Town & Country Brothers .. with I WASN’T BORN IN TENNESSEE.

This was one hell of a night!! And Tony & John were awesome!! .. It’s so easy to play with these guys.. as I drift all over the place, they stay right with me at every turn.. & they are just amazingly soulful players. THANKS BOYS!! AND big thanks to all who shared this YONKERS thing with John, TONY & me.

Hi to:

Big hi to daughter Kelly & son-in-law Frank & their friends, Liz & David.. thanks SO much for coming!! Hi & love to Jack, Sara & Luke.. David.. hope your dad enjoys the listen!!

Hi to my Mema & Chuck & Mary .. & Marge & Dave .. thanks SO much for coming you guys .. hope to see you soon…

Hi Sherry – it was so good to see & talk with you at Parnell’s in New York.- & such a nice surprise to see you with your dad. Henry (a Roosevelt High alumni)– so good to meet you . Thanks for the kind words. Hope to see you next time…. Hi Eddie & Jimmy & Maureen .. who saw brother Jon in White Plains not too long ago… nice talking with you

Hi Larry .. from Yonkers DMV.. tell those boys, their Yonkers buddy sends his best regards. Hi George.. nice talking with you .. Hi John (Beach) .. another ROOSEVELT HIGH friend .. & son David (hope the picture turned out OK) & wife Elaine.. wonderful to see you guys..

Hi to Billy Vera’s friend, Jim Murphy (Stepinac grad).. nice talking with you Jim.. Hi Diane & Carol ..great friends of my old buddy Gene Borek’s family .. so glad to see you both!! .. send my best wishes & love to Colleen for her 50th!!

Hi Tom (Staudter) .. good seeing you again.. look forward to talking to you soon! I’ll let Heinz know.. call him. And.. a big hi to Barbara (a great Yonkers girl!!) & friend / husband? Larry .. great seeing you guys!!! Hi Jack & Lynn .. so good to see you!! And hi Marie.. missed you tonight .. hope you’re feeling better .. much love!!

Again.. big thanks for having us John.. thanks Kim & Stefon.. see you guys soon

Mar 1, 2010 – New York City



THE SHOW (& a bit of history)

Paola rented this space for one month to showcase her IVANA HELSINKI clothing line as well as showcase rough cuts for her upcoming film – to be released sometime in 2010.

This was a last minute thing as Paola wanted to get one screening/performance “under our belt” before I head out for Texas. LA & Sweden & Holland.

John Platania was there to join me – Paola’s movie contains seven short ‘love” stories that take place during the course of one week – at one hotel – in one room – in Marfa Texas.

John I& I stood at opposite sides of a viewing wall and played eight songs (a the theme song & a song representing each story) for invited guests. As we played, sketches & collages of the film were shown (without sound) against the wall.

This was an amazing event! First, I LOVE this little film (& all of Paola’s work; she’s a one-of-a kind!) & I LOVED writing these songs. Also – I never performed in this manor before – watching a screen & reliving a bit of the stories as I played & sang. It was a whole different thing – one John & I both found totally inspiring.

Paola will schedule other such music/screenings for after I return in late May. At that time we’ll make sure we get a mailing list out to friends.


Big thanks to Yukka, who was there to greet John & I when we arrived. Hi & thanks to terrific singer/songwriter, Alexa, who set up the sound for us. Hi Kristina!! Hope to see you in Stockholm in April! Hi Cat & Anne from Denmark – great seeing you both – thanks for the kind words. Hi Lea – so good to see you – look forward to seeing you & the kids in your new film .. please say hi to Lee. Hope to see him one day soon. Hi to Eddie & friend.. name on the tip of my tongue – can’t quite get to it. So nice talking to you both. Special thanks to my Joan & Mary & Chuck for hustling down from Westchester to get a bit of the vibe of this.

And hi to all the other nice folks. John & I will look forward to doing this again soon. And speaking of John (Platania), he really shone bright in this setting – great job John!!



In mid-February 2009 I was “rushed” to the hospital – pre-heart attack. Laying on the operating table, I was given a choice, open heart surgery the following week or a few stents NOW. I chose the “now” offer . – ending up with four stents in two arteries & feeling better than I had in ages. Part of my rehabilitation was to take good brisk walks, fifteen to twenty minutes in duration.

On a bright, sunny Saturday morning in early March, I took a 30 plus minute walk from my apartment on 54th street and First Avenue in midtown Manhattan to Prince Street & West Broadway in the Soho section of town – some 60 blocks. The purpose of the walk was to visit THE NEW YORK FILM SCHOOL.

I had passed the school many times over the years and wondered if some connection there might do me some good – either learning film making, taking an acting course.. or investigating the possibility of fitting my music together with a quality student film. On this March day that was loosely my plan.

I loved this walk & it’s dual purpose dynamic. I was getting solid heart-exercise & fulfilling a sort of fantasy – one that shyness, really, had kept it on the back burner for a while. The fantasy was finding a good film project in its early stages & convincing the director that my music might be a good fit. Other people usually did that for me. Several of my songs had been integral parts of films, but it had been several years since that was the case.

Ok… so there I was. On the third floor of the building, at the School’s welcoming area, talking to a student whose particular expertise was sound engineering. He explained a bit about the school & what was going on that day. He was a Polish fellow named Pawel – a very nice guy – and easy to talk to.

I shyly explained who I was, what I did etc. I inquired about student films being made that might be a good fit for my music. HE HAD AN IDEA. A student from Finland, Paola Suhonen, was in the early stages of preparing for her thesis film. He had been impressed with her previous work & thought her new film would be quite good.

Pawel gave me Paola’s email. When I got back to my apartment I emailed her. This was her response, which copied new friend Pawel in the process.

“Hi there!

Thank you so much for your email–I´d love to do some co-operation, if you feel that some of my projects would fit to your visions. And thank you Pawel for recommending me:).

I’m right now working on my next short film–called 7th Heaven love ways–and here is the description of it:”

This is an email I will treasure over the years – what a magical beginning!

I was over-the-top impressed with the attachments, which contained, not only a description of the project but a film “montage” of it as well. It also gave me a look at her previous work, including film work done as an introduction to her clothing designs for a company she co-owned with her sister Periotte called “Ivanahelsinki”.

And that was it! For the next several months – extraordinarily inspired by Paola’s script – I wrote songs for the film – which Paola loved. At some point Paola asked me take a leading role in one of the stories, which I did – loving every minute of that ‘Marfa, Texas” experience.

So now this – the first screening/music performance of “7HEAVEN LOVEWAYS” – & more to come. I can’t wait. Hope to see you at one of these soon!