This week we feature one of our favorite acoustic-rock artists, Taylor Carson. Having just celebrated a big birthday, Taylor is also busy with his latest venture, the All Hands On Deck Tour, which is visiting many East Coast venues for free! We had the chance to catch up with Taylor and he tells us about the idea behind his current tour, his last full-length album Defending The Name, social media, and everything else in between.
First off, you just recently turned the Big 30, so Happy Belated Birthday from us at Pick-Up Productions! How’d you celebrate?
Thanks very much for the birthday wishes. It was nice and low-key. I had a show booked for the All Hands on Deck Tour at Northside Social in Arlington, Va. So I got to play on my birthday!
You’re currently on your All Hands on Deck Tour, playing free shows at several places up and down the East Coast. How excited are you for these venues you’re hitting up?
The tour is off to a great start. I’ve been having a blast and it has been well received so far. Every show is different, but they are all positive.
How did the idea for this tour come about?
The tour was an idea my manager James and I came up with. We have worked tirelessly for years trying to get into certain venues in important markets and unfortunately a lot of the time we’ve been coming up short. We both believe in what we are doing, but we had to find a new way to do it. Building a community continued to be a main topic of conversation so we set out to find rooms that were willing to have us and not charge a cover. Keeping these shows free is a MUST. There had to be no barriers between me and my listener’s. “It’s FREE and Taylor loves me…” That is what every person should think about when contemplating whether or not they should get off of their couch to come to one of the shows on the All Hands on Deck Tour…
Looks like the All Hands on Deck Team gets a bunch of Taylor Carson goodies when they join, huh?
The team is really fun and goes hand in hand with the tour. We’d rather people get into the shows for free and sign up for the team. Free show every month, all four of my records, new studio single every month (exclusive to the team) and my very first live record (also exclusive to the team). Team members can ask for anything they want — I have been making home demo’s of new songs and posting them to our patronism site, as well as cover tune’s that I love. www.patronism.com/taylorcarson is a great place to be and I truly believe it is the direction music is heading. FOCUSING more on the listener’s and being aware that they are the one’s who allow me to make music.
You also play the Redwood Restaurant in Bethesda, MD every Tuesday and Wednesday. How do you keep your sets fresh each time?
That’s a good question. Those shows have ended up being a great stage for me to try new material and also play songs that I didn’t write. It does get old playing your own songs night after night. It’s like a new shirt. You likely want to wear it out to the bar and leave the old shirts in the closet for the night. That being said. I do like some of my older shirts…
I also wanted to talk a little more about Defending The Name, which came out in 2010. How was your songwriting and recording process for your last full-length album? Who produced the album for you?
Long. I was teaching music during the day and recording late at night. DTN is a concept album on the history of my family. I kind of feel like that record is the thesis I never wrote for college. I did a lot of research and talked at great lengths to members of my family to better understand why people are the way they are. My friend Todd Wright produced the record. He taught me a lot about doing what is best for the song. The disc ended up being 16 songs, but it could have been thirty (I would have been fine with that). I have no regrets. DTN needed to happen in order for me to keep making music.
Since then, you’ve kept pretty busy. Late last year, you shot some fantastic acoustic sessions with, local cinematographer, Kasey Kirby. Can you tell us a little about that experience?
Kasey is amazing. We shot that at Sucker Punch studio’s in Bethesda with my friend Mark Williams who is producing my new material. I really wanted acoustic versions of select songs from DTN. Nowadays constantly having fresh material online is really important. ALSO, the “All Hands” team members get the audio files from those recordings…
You also put out the song Live to Love in support of To Write Love On Her Arms. How important was it for you to contribute to such an important organization?
Very important. My mother battled depression her entire life and unfortunately lost the fight this past summer. There’s not a ton of sympathy for depression and associated diseases our there right now, but TWLOHA is that. It takes time and love, but there is help out there.
You’re pretty vocal on using the social media sites (Twitter/Facebook). We definitely “Like” and “Follow” you! What’s your take on how helpful these sites can be toward rising musicians?
You really have to have fun with it. I try not to take myself to seriously, there’s really no point in that. If you’re doing something involving your craft, you should have the info out there. Just make sure you believe in it — once you put it on the web it is there FOREVER for ALL to see…
You’ve got four full-length albums under your belt. Can we expect another sometime soon?
The “All Hands” team members get a new full band single from us every month. The plan is to put these songs together for a cd later in the year. I have written about 15 new songs so far and I LOVE to write, so it could be a few new cd’s this year.
Besides your busy performance schedule, what else do you have planned for 2012?
I’m getting married! My mail-order bride arrives in July.
Thanks for your time, Taylor! Anything else you want to say to the readers?
Be honest and do what you love.
For more information about Taylor Carson and his current All Hands on Deck Tour, visit his website http://www.taylorcarson.com/