Chip Taylor's Road Journal

Read Chip's words about life on the road, recording in the studio and much more...
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Nov 21, 2010 – TURNER FALLS, MASS

VENUE – THE SHEA THEATER presents CHIP TAYLOR & CARRIE RODRIGUEZ

C&C HISTORY HERE

This western Mass area – within earshot of one of the greatest community radio stations ever – WRSI – “THE RIVER” – was one of the first areas to “break” Chip Taylor & Carrie Rodriguez (voted listener favorites on The River two years in a row). I remember when we would play the IRON HORSE in Northampton; people would stand in line for two hours in the freezing cold just to see us. And what great, warm-hearted folks they were.

Aside from the Iron Horse, we played at another wonderful venue just up the road, The All Souls Church with kind hosts Diane, Linda, Susan, Tom & other kind & hard-working volunteers.

WHY “THE SHEA” TONIGHT

Since the IRON HORSE was not able to accommodate us for the date we needed, we contacted the All Souls folks who coordinated with the folks at the Shea Theater. And so here we are – playing for a sell out crowd at this warm, lovely theater in Turner Falls – not far from Northampton.

ARRIVE AT 4:15 – A WARM WELCOME

Two very nice guys, host Peter & soundman Jared were first to great us. Shortly after, another kind volunteer host, Beth & son Jack (a musician in his own right), said hello & quickly had our “green” room stocked with snacks & a VG dinner from Holey Smokes BBQ on the way.

THE BAND

JOHN PLATANIA- guitar
HANS HOLZEN – guitar & lap steel
KYLE KEGERREIS – upright bass
Carrie – fiddle / vocals
Chip – guitar/ harmonica / vocals

SOUND CHECK

Jared (& helper Tim) got us good sound in short order – in time to practice a bit. It seems that now – after just two days of being together again – we’re running through songs for our own enjoyment – rather than a need to learn them. The C&C vibe has felt so “there” -so fast.

Note: This is a VERY special show to me. I feel we’re ready & truthfully – I can’t wait to take the stage. But during the wait, I stood in the hallway & listened to a bit of a very good performance by the opening act.

THE SHOW

When we walked out on stage, the response was so overwhelming – I almost couldn’t speak. I started tearing up & the first thing I was able to say was that I wished my family were here.

And from the minute we started to sing YOUR NAME IS ON MY LIPS AGAIN, I was feeling that total connection with Carrie & the chills were constant. And they lasted for the entire night.

And as the long ovations continued & got a bit more over-the-top, we got lost in every song – first SWEET TEQUILLA BLUES, then LET’S LEAVE THIS TOWN, then KEEP YOUR HAT ON JENNY. The band felt so “lived in” tonight & the playing inspired Carrie & I to go to special chill-time place with fresh & new crescendo’s & de-crescendos which happen with us from feeling – not planning.

And there was something so magical about the guitars tonight. Two lead electric guitars can sometimes be a real mess – but tonight – with Hans & John- it was pure magic. Hans switched between electric guitar & lap steel. But no matter which he chose, his instrument always gently floated around the songs & John’s strat in the sweetest way.

And with Kyle’s warm bass undercurrent & Carrie’s fiddle, songs like ON AN ISLAND (a new one), HIM WHO SAVED ME, MUST BE THE WHISKEY & BIG MOON SHINING were, at times, kind of floating on a sort of magical sea – which left space for Carrie & me to feel some deep feeling that would end up with sound hitting the air in a way that only we do. We never plan that sort of thing – it just happens. The result is that the phrasing is a bit different each night & yet always seems so… together. It’s such a hard thing to explain. We just float around some place in the unknown and find our way home. And sometimes it gets so, so special – & the chill becomes overwhelming. It was that way for me tonight.

Then came the rockers, like Laredo – which had an amazing groove & some brilliant solos. And when we started the intro to DON’T SPEAK IN ENGLISH, the audience started applauding right away and the journey of that song felt so cool & fun.

Then came Angel of The Morning – and it was so, so touching, with a serious, once-in-a-lifetime love-affair vibe. There’s nothing trivial about this song when it’s gotten right – and we got it right tonight. Then came WILD THING – & it was so total rock & roll! And what an awesome therapeutic audience sing-a-long on that one!! – with the best “GROOVY” in memory!!

Then came a very special moment for me. I’ve been waiting to play, PLAY IT AGAIN SAM – my tribute to the western Mass fans. So we played it for the first time tonight. It felt so warm & right & brought an overwhelming response – certainly one of the highlights for me. I just love this little song.

Then came my – always requested by friend Sandy – 1961 hit in these parts HERE I AM .. and we all had some fun with that story & the band’s performance of it was quite heroic as it was not in our set list – and it ended up sounding so dramatic & warm – wonderful job by Carrie & the band. The audience showed their appreciation – big time.

Then came other requests – RED DOG TRACKS (so, so chilling .. the band was awesome on this!!) – DIRTY LITTLE TEXAS STORY … this was so country-cool .. a kids fan-favorite back in the day (Carrie & I LOVE to sing this one!) – then came a totally rockin’ ALL THE RAIN .. suggested by Carrie.. which led to our final closer, WE COME UP SHINING … & oh, I felt such chills again on this one

How can one guy get so lucky .. this band .. this audience .. & CARRIE!

What a wonderful night for this Yonkers boy. I won’t forget this one ever.

AFTER THE SHOW

Said hi to many, including:

Diane!!! – my friend from ALL SOULS CHURCH- So great to see you again, Diane, please say hi to all my ALL SOULS friends that couldn’t be here. I have such sweet memories of that place & those shows .. Hi Lynne ,, so good to see you as well – thanks for the sweet words – love your smile! ..& BIG HI to SANDRA & RICK .. just great to see you again – so glad you were here!! Hi Tom (& Barbara) .. so good to see you again as well!

HI SANDY .. great to see you always .. loved playing HERE I AM tonight – that memory is so attached to you now – a good thing .. big thanks! BIG HI to Jan & SIMON .. it was so good to see you guys again!! Thanks so much or making the trip!! . Simon .. looking forward to the listen.. you’re always into interesting things! Jan.. thanks for the nice words from you & your friend.

Hi Karin .. so good to see you!! Hope Austen enjoys the CD .. best with his music.. Hi Marsha & Fred.. Hi Christina!! .. hope mom Susan enjoys the CD.. Hi Julie ..good to see you .. hope Carol enjoys the CD ..Hi Debby .. ’till next time!.. Hi Relena & Israel .. so good to see you both at the end …

Big hi & THANKS TO MATT for giving mom & dad (Karen & Frank) an early Christmas present (tickets to our show) .. hope to see you next time Matt .. & hope you enjoy the listen..

Hi Sheryll! .. & Naomi & Michael.. & Dorothy .. & David & Asha.. great seeing all the smiles .. & big thanks for the kind words.. HAPPY BIRTHDAY Esther.. hi Phil & Ben .. & Lori.. Hi Maureen & Kevin.. good to see you.. hi Lenny & Denise .. good to see you as well .. HI DOROTHY!!

Again.. big thanks to Beth & Jack .. Peter (best with the kids program) & Jared & Tim – hope to see you all soon!

Nov 20, 2010 – THE LIVING ROOM – CHIP TAYLOR & CARRIE RODRIGUEZ

THE BAND

JOHN PLATANIA- guitar
HANS HOLZEN – guitar & lap steel
KYLE KEGERREIS – upright bass
TONY LEONE – drums
Carrie – fiddle / vocals
Chip – guitar/ harmonica / vocals

THE SHOW

I’LL REMEMBER THIS ONE

First, like last night, so many folks that mean & meant so much to the C&C thing were here – plus other very special new friends of mine. Secondly, the interaction between those on stage & off was so warm & inspiring. Third, it was just one of those C&C nights, where the “almost silence” played as much a part of the vibe as the notes.

From the first harmonies of YOUR NAME IS ON MY LIPS AGAIN, to the reverent stillness of ON AN ISLAND, HIM WHO SAVED ME, BIG MOON SHINING & WE COME UP SHINING the band and Carrie & I moved in & out of the silence. And when it gets like that, there’s a C&C togetherness that can’t be challenged.

This amazing band totally rocked on JENNY & LAREDO – both of these were definite highlights. But there was something about MUST BE THE WHISKEY tonight that, like the chill ballads, had a wonderful misty-edge to it. We drifted to the clouds & didn’t come down for quite a while – and then we did & it was such a pretty & chilling descent.

We caught a GREAT groove on DON’T SPEAK IN ENGLISH and the audience seemed to LOVE this one., as they did, ANGEL OF THE MORNING, which was so beautifully played by the band, with Carrie & I wrapping around it as warmly as ever.

Note: I always felt this song as portraying a sort of desperately needed reverent culmination of a love affair by two members of the resistance in WWII – who might never see each other again – rather than a modern day illicit thing. And that’s the way it felt tonight – and in that spirit, it was so beautiful.

Then came WILD THING!

And .. oh this was something. The band totally rocked on this one! And what AWESOME SOLOS by John, Hans & Tony & Kyle – Jimi would have been proud!! After a long applause & a standing ovation, Carrie & I got to a very special moment with WE COME UP SHINING. We left the stage to another standing ovation & with my Ukrainian friends smiling (a very good thing for me). This was a truly magical C&C night – one I will – for all the reasons mentioned – remember.

Big thanks to Jennifer & staff / & Nick at the door

Steve – sound first day & AGAIN .. great sound second day & SOOO easy to work with

HI TO:

Old friend & photog, Garry & friend, JESSICA – big thanks for documenting our stuff over the years .. & for the great shots tonight – ALL night!!! Great spending time with you both.. let’s do it again ..See you soon .. Jessica .. hope mom, Colleen, enjoys the CD.

My old school buddy, Willie .. thanks always Bill & thanks for the great book – I told Joan about it – she says hi – missed you!

HUGE HELLO TO KEITH & JANE, newlyweds!!, who fell in love listening to C&C music .. MUST BE THE WHISKEY in particular!! Hi Andy & fiancé Kristen .. thanks for being there .. best with the film!! Can’t wait for that!!

Hi to Becca & Andy (SHORE FIRE) .. great to see you again Andy .. good to meet you Becca! Hi Jerry Elaine .. great to see you!! Hi Maureen & Willem .. thanks for the kind words .. you as well, Han .. (Actually “Daniel” – long story!) .. so good to see you .. glad you said hi!

Hi to Paul – from Rhode Island – worked 7 years in Austin .. got to know & love C&C stuff from there .. so good to see you .. thanks for the kind words!! .. BIG HI TO PASCALE & the group from Hastings?? .. appreciate your making the trips .. thanks for all the nice thoughts

Note: forgot to mention old friend Camila & husband Larry .. great to see you guys before the show yesterday!! .. thanks for the big support always!

Hi to TROY & LAURA .. TONY’S friends .. thanks for the nice words at the end Troy .. hope to see you guys again

Hi to my good friend Vinny & new friend Jong .. surprised & happy you were there!! See you soon .. always!

OK .. big hello to Stanley, Sean & my special Ukranian friends .. Olga & what’s her name?! .. oh yes .. Marianna .. love you.. & finally on film! .. so, so happy you were there.

And Hi to the Hans entourage – Larry & Camila .. & Lilly!! .. Carlo & Peter – Big thanks Peter for selling the CDs & the “drug” money.

NOV 19, 2010 – 1:00 PM – SIRIUS SATELLITE RADIO – With Meredith Ochs

Carrie & I did a very comfortable 45 minute performance / interview with friend Meredith Ochs. This was smooth & nice as always – so “lived in”. Big thanks Meredith ., great to see friends Jeremy Tepper & Dave Marsh.. Had to hurry for sound-check, Dave – sorry I missed saying hello to Jon. I would have loved that!!

NOV 19, 2010 – THE LIVING ROOM

THE SHOW (based on our new CD, THE NEW BYE & BYE – 4 new songs & a best of The Train Wreck Years)

Well the C&C magic is back – full throttle!

To start, I briefly told the folks a bit about our history together & just what this reunion – Carrie & me AND THIS WONDERFUL BAND of musician friends – meant to us all. Then, after Carrie introduced the band, the magic started.

We began with our new “hit” song at Americana stations across the country. YOUR NAME IS ON MY LIPS. And the chills were totally back every time Carrie’s voice hit mine. And I felt them for the entire night.

Past treasures such as SWEET TEQUILA BLUES, LET’S LEAVE THIS TOWN, KEEP YOUR HAT ON JENNY followed in quick succession to over-the-top audience response. There was no doubt that this audience LOVED that C&C were back. They let us know it at every step.

Note: It was great to see our old friend & fan Howard in the front row. He supported Carrie & I from the first show on & has NEVER missed a C&C show on the east coast – or any of our individual shows for that matter. Great to have your spirit here today, Howard – YOU HAVE ALWAYS KNOWN WHAT THE MAGIC OF C&C IS ALL ABOUT! And it was very important to us that you were here tonight!

TONIGHT’S SPECIAL MAGIC

Maybe because we hadn’t done these songs in a while (& had NEVER done a few), we were in new & vibrant zones with all of them. And this great band kept floating with us wherever Carrie & I went – finally landing together. Sometimes the “unknown” can be your best friend – it was that way tonight.

We had rehearsed the songs only briefly the previous day after Carrie flew in from North Carolina. So we knew we’d be out on a limb with remembering lyrics and form. So this performance was more like a jazz ensemble – where we felt things together & at times I sort of guided the form as we went, with viby solos floating in & out of new structure. That was total magic for me.

One of the new songs, ON AN ISLAND, was the perfect showcase for the smoldering phrasing that somehow flows through C&C performances. We phrase that way on the spot, without ever talking about doing it – & we never do it the same way twice. It’s the spirit of the moment that guides us.

So “Island” was warm & good tonight., leaving a similar chill as I would find later on BIG MOON SHINING. If anyone wants to hear the real C&C magic at it’s apex, listen to ANY C&C performance of this song.

Other highlights for me were a hypnotic HIM WHO SAVED ME, the warm, sweet MEMPHIS TEXAS (our tribute to Carrie’s brilliant book-writing grandma, Frances) & the cool groove of DON’T SPEAK IN ENGLISH (which the folks totally loved!). Then it was time for the title song. THE NEW BYE & BYE. And the audience seemed to love Carrie cussing me out at the beginning of it. They also seemed to like my second verse response, “Easy now baby .. calm yourself down where your standing”. This is the first time we have done this song. I was a bit worried that it would work – but it did – big time!

ANGEL OF THE MORNING was so moving tonight & Wild THING totally rocked. We ended with a smoking ALL THE RAIN, a very sweet & loving, WE COME UP SHINING .. & after a standing ovation, we closed with a very original, cool, bluesy & fun, DO YOUR PART.

WHAT A SPECIAL NIGHT!!!

So happy the place was filled with such warm, great fans! At shows end, we SAID HI TO SEVERAL, INCLUDING:

Hi & thanks to the COLONY CREW .. my Joanie, Mary Chuck, Brent & Sandy, Al & Debbie Gail & Steve, Sandy & Norman & Janet.. hi Ellen & Hal Freiman .. so glad you guys came!!! .. wish I had a chance to say hello – what GREAT friends ALL!!!! Hi Aliene .. great to see you & Annie .. Annie .. hope to see you & Dave at the Candlelight one of these days! Send him by best!

Great to see friends Gerard & Shelley Big thanks for coming again & bringing your kind friends. So glad you’re a part of all this! So good to see my dearest friend Carrie Knoblock & her Alex alwa!!!! LOVE YOU GUYS!! And Kayhan .. so good to see you again!!!

Note: Gerard’s amazing restaurant, La Mangeoire (second Ave / between 53 & 54th) is my “home / dining room” whenever I’m in New York.

Hi to Alicia .. our great friend & fan from Continental Airlines & friend MIMI .. GREAT to see you both!! .. Hi to my friend, director Patrick Wang & cohorts Max & Elwaldo – Hi Kevin .. nice talking to you .. thanks for the kind words

Hi Christi .. thanks for saying hello .. Hi Howard.. from Elmore magazine .. great to see you guys again.. Hi to Bill & Mikie from Yonkers .. & big hi to songwriter Ray & wife Colleen from Yonkers .. great to see you again!

Hi my great friend at EMI, Keith & wife Maggie & friend Amy .. so good to see you all .. AND BIG HI TO MY FRIEND FROM ITALY, GERONIMO.. who once flew from Italy to London to see my presentation of YONKERS NY at the Borderline there (one of my favorite shows EVER!) – great to see you tonight – Huge best wishes to my friend Carlo Carini!!

Thanks for the support Matt (from Shore Fire – our great publicity arm) .. It’s always great to see you.

Good to wind down with Carrie & friend Luke – and Hans & girlfriend Lilly (actually Liliana Lou – from Atlanta .. originally?!) .. & their nice friend, Johanna. Aside from Luke .. who is turning traitor- opting for friends Bill Frisell & Greg Leitz tomorrow (instead of us!) – see you all tomorrow!

Nov 6, 2010 – KIRUNA SWEDEN – MEAN BASTARD DAY (the first annual)

MEAN BASTARD DAY is here!!!!

Here’s how it happened.

Kiruna is an iron ore mining town in the far north of Sweden (by the north pole). It’s also the home of the famous Ice Hotel. It is also the home of my new friends, musicians Orjan Maki & Bjorn Petterson.

Full darkness hits this town on about the 12th of December & lasts until mid-February. For most, in one way or another, it’s tough to deal with. After listening to Orjan & Bjorn discuss these problems & at their request, I wrote a song that would hopefully lift the spirits there a bit. The song is called I KNOW DARK, & within I call Dark, ” a mean bastard”.

After recording the song in Halden, Norway a few months ago, Bjorn & Orjan began plans to conduct a yearly festival called MEAN BASTARD DAY, to welcome in (“fight” might be a better word) the darkness. My song, I KNOW DARK, is the official theme song of the festival.

This year the festival featured performances by some amazing Swedish artists & one guy from Yonkers New York. The known Swedish artists were The Willy Clay Band, Frida Snells (had a #1 Swedish hit a few years ago), The Coolants, & The Favourate Hippies & Jonas Pietikainen. These guys (& girl) are all amazingly talented, each bringing something totally unique to the table.

The magical surprise of the night were a couple of music students from the local high school HANNA (lead vocalist & song writer), MAJA (amazing back ground singer) & ELLEN (subtle & very innocent/cool on stage bassist) who performed while accompanied perfectly on guitar & accordion by their teachers Max (brilliant all around musician), Per (guitarist) & Orjan Macki on pedal steel

First, Hanna’s songs were so unique & honest – Second her voice, though gentle, has a rich warm magic to it, It’s very, very unique – easy to identify (a great quality!) – And harmony singer Maja is AWESOME.. so solid & so simple & so “on” all the time. And together they have this magic like you first heard with the Everly Brothers or the Louvins, though their songs are nothing like that (Hanna’s songs are inde rock/pop/cool). And bassist Ellen is a solid simple player, with total innocent magic on stage.

Clive Davis should hear these guys!!

I’m the guy from Yonkers.

THE VENUE

The event was held at a cool place called The Tradgarn in Kiruna, owned & managed by my new friends Arthur & Louise.

THE SHOW

At the start of the festival I spoke a bit about the spirit in which it was formed – heralding Bjorn & Orjan as the inspiration for the event. Then we christened the first annual MEAN BASTARD DAY with a sing-a-long of I KNOW DARK – with me singing the verses with Tony (lead singer for the Willy Clay band) & Frida & Reine (from Willy Clay) singing the chorus with us – This was a chilling, amazing start for what would prove to be an AWESOME NIGHT!!

Bjorn had it running like a Louisiana Hayride show – when Elvis would do two or three or four at the most & Carl Perkins would follow with the same etc. Every MEAN BASTARD festival artist did 3 or 4 songs. There were breaks of ten minutes or so every 45 minutes. The show moved at such an amazing pace. It was hold on to your hats, getting ready for one cool/inspired act after another.

When it was my turn, about half way through, the band & I played HEY JONNIE, a duet of ANGEL OF THE MORNING with Frida (awesome job, Frida!!), WILD THING & HOLY SHIT with everybody singing wildly on the former & reverently on the holy one. Later I would encore with THE WAY OF IT & TOO DYNAMIC after ending the festival with a reprise of I KNOW DARK – with everyone still there singing along at the end – We finished at the bar with good friends Louise, Arthur & all – well past 1:00 AM!! WHAT A NIGHT!!

WHAT A NIGHT!!

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