Livingston Taylor at The Emerson Center
Wednesday, January 24, 2018
"VERO BEACH - As a child growing up at New York folk festivals, I had the privilege of seeing Livingston Taylor and his musical family on a regular basis. While many knew Mr. Taylor mostly as the brother of James, those lucky enough to see him grow as an artist at Pete Seeger’s annual events to clean up the Hudson River know that he has been an equally powerful songwriter and performer since the 1970s.
When reached by phone for this story, Livingston Taylor was as cheerful and exuberant as if he had just won the lottery. He came across as positive and upbeat, just like his music. As we spoke, he was walking around on Martha’s Vineyard, the typical Taylor family location.
Mr. Taylor will perform in Vero Beach with Karla Bonoff, a great bill featuring two beautiful voices with an incredible original repertoire. He previously performed here in 2015.
“I am so looking forward to coming back to Vero Beach and working with Karla,” Mr. Taylor told Hometown News. “Most of my performance will be solo, but I anticipate doing some songs with Karla, who is a really fantastic musical force, a wonderful songwriter, and she’s terrific on stage. This is a real nice bill for me.”
Mr. Taylor says he expects to perform his hits including “I Will Be in Love with You,” “I’ll Come Running,” and “I Can Dream of You” and “Boatman,” both also recorded by his brother James. He has 13 albums of original material to draw from, including the just-released “Safe Home.”
As a professor at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mr. Taylor has a keen interest in the music industry. He has mixed feelings about the role of the internet in removing “gatekeepers” like radio stations and record companies.
“What the internet did was it allowed the instant and independent transfer of digital creativity in many forms. That eviscerated the existing gatekeepers. It took out the record company presidents, the newspaper editors, the radio stations.”
“Now music gets shaken out and proven on the internet before it gets on a radio station. No corporate enterprise would ever take the gambles that old radio stations used to take. Now they let the internet shake it out. So much of our creativity is crowd sourced now, and that has a certain place, but we miss gatekeepers desperately because crowd sourcing will never see the subtle magic of a Bob Dylan. Bob Dylan would have never surfaced without (record company executive) John Hammond.”
“A Clive Davis (of Arista Records) can lose money on eight artists and make it all back and more on the ninth. A great gatekeeper can find an important artist in the fabric of creative life, like Patti Smith, in spite of resistance by financial forces. When the internet eviscerated the income stream that supported the gatekeepers, we lost an enormous amount.”
Born in Boston and raised in North Carolina, Livingston Taylor is the fourth child in a very musical family.
“Let me be clear as a bell: I love talking about my beautiful brother James Taylor. I’m a huge fan of his. I love his music. Questions about him are a joy to me. I feel the same way about my sister Kate and my little brother Hugh. I love them all and love talking about them.”
“My mother was a trained singer, and my father was a doctor, and the dean of the medical school at the University of North Carolina. They were very enthusiastic about us making music. There was a lot of music in the house, and as we gravitated in that direction they were very encouraging. They were supportive, but equally important they stayed out of our way. They never tried to micromanage our careers. As a professor at Berklee, I see that as a big problem, parents micromanaging their children’s careers.”
“I came to the Berklee College of Music because I had been lecturing there in the 1980s, then they asked me to teach a course on performance. I was all over that like a frat boy on a jello shot. I started to teach the course on performance in 1989 and that’s the course I teach there today.”
“I learn so much from my students. I’ve critiqued well over 10,000 performances. I’ve seen a lot of people play, and it’s really honed and focused my own performance skills.”
The Emerson Center is located at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Vero Beach, on the SE corner of 16th Street and 27th Ave. For more information call (772) 234-4412. For more information about Livingston Taylor, visit www.livingstontaylor.com."