Ben Taylor, son of folk legends James Taylor and Carly Simon, will perform at the Bearsville Theater in Woodstock on July 6th. Taylor’s unique acoustic style, which he refers to as Kung Folk, will offer viewers an individualized take on typical folk music. For years, Taylor has painstakingly worked to find himself and his sound, and to earn respect as a musician. His releases such as, “Nothing I Can Do,” “Wicked Way,” and “America,” prove that Taylor has a gift he has made completely his own.
With music is in his blood, it might seem obvious to some that Taylor would become a musician. However, he was once on a very different path. At age 15, Taylor dropped out of high school and traveled to China and Tibet to study kung fu and Buddhism. It was during those years of celibacy and spirituality that Taylor discovered his love of nature, and began entertaining the idea of a nature related career. In the end, Taylor’s love for music ultimately won.
Showing his lighthearted and humorous personality when asked in a December 2008 interview about his hesitation regarding a music career, Taylor stated, “I was just intimidated because by having such incredibly successful examples of singer songwriters as parents, I always figured that if I got into it, I would be fighting against a lot of pressure that I would be putting on myself, mostly. The expectations I have of myself. But then when I got down to it, it came time to decide to have a career, and I thought, you know, what can I do?”
“And I thought, oh, I would like to be a Jedi, they seem like good people. But lightsabers are expensive on account of the crystals that they have to use for them, and the enrollment list is terribly long, it’s dangerous work . . . it was going to drive my mom crazy. And then all the heroes I ever had that were not Jedi were musicians. So it seemed like the most reasonable thing.”
Although Taylor has worked hard to find and create his own style, in a September 2008 interview Taylor stated, “I take after both of my parents musically a whole lot. My father [James Taylor] is an amazing performer, and not only is he amazing at it, he is amazing at it because he’s been on the road for 37 years, pretty much 6 months out of the year. He never stops doing it. So in terms of my performance, I really do model myself after him . . . He is my male archetype, and that goes for musically, and everything else.”
“My mom [Carly Simon], I’ve almost never seen her perform. At this point, I’m finally less of a rookie to performing than she is because she is so reluctant to get on stage. She is a deeply deeply magical human being. I’ve never seen anybody like it. It’s the kind of thing that you can’t copy. So I can’t take after her so much like that.”
Taylor concluded, “It’s impossible for me to decide who I take after more. Both of them. With a tremendous amount of pride.”
Taylor’s fourth album, “Listening,” will be released in August. According to Mother Nature Network’s website, the new album “. . . fuses the sounds and styles of folk, pop, soul, urban, reggae, and country,” and is, as Ben says, “an evolution.”
Taylor’s journey to becoming a successful musician had led him on a path to discover himself, strive to be his best, and make a name for himself amongst his iconic roots. Ben Taylor will be performing at the Bearsville Theater on July 6 at 9pm.
Photo: Photo of Ben Taylor courtesy of Ben Taylor’s facebook page.