Singer/songwriter Taylor Rae walks through life projecting a calm self-awareness. And, while there is an aura of purposeful intent in every stride she takes, every note she sings and every chord she plays, there is also a sense of natural ease in every action. This is some still water – and it runs deep.
It all began in California with Taylor Rae Vencill’s birth in Santa Cruz. Raised in nearby Ben Lomond, her eclectic musical journey initially took her from the Central Coast to Los Angeles. Taylor played legendary venues Moe’s Alley, Kuumbwa Jazz, the Catalyst and Hotel Cafe, and earned spots at popular area festivals, including DIO Fest (Boulder Creek) and Redwood Mountain Faire (Felton).
In 2017, Taylor won Santa Cruz NEXTies Musician of the Year Award and the next year she struck out for Texas, landing in the musical wonderland of Austin. Since then, Taylor has performed at the legendary Austin nightspot Stubb’s second stage, Nashville’s renowned Bluebird Café, Lexington’s The Lyric Theatre and the Asheville, NC Isis Music Hall. She has shared the stage with a variety of artists including Brandy Clark, The Stone Foxes, Kristian Bush and Reggae musician Mike Love.
Taylor sang her first song, a cover of Carole King’s “It’s Too Late” at the age of two. She wrote her first song at eight, and by age 10, she had filled entire notebooks with her original lyrics. Taylor was inspired not only by the natural surroundings of her youth, but also the music of Bonnie Raitt, King, Janis Joplin, Sheryl Crow, Norah Jones, Jewel, Simon & Garfunkel and Steely Dan, among others. Knowing what her future held, Taylor taught herself guitar at 12 and, by age of 15, played her first paid gig. Since then, she has lived a nomadic life, coloring a bit outside the lines, and exploring the ever-evolving definitions of Americana, Folk, Jazz and Blues – and the vagaries of the human condition. She has earned comparisons to Jones, Maren Morris, Joss Stone and Grace Potter.
Taylor’s Top 20 Americana Music Album Chart debut, Mad Twenties, is the culmination of a gently chaotic decade lived with fearless determination, and Taylor shows a sophistication and maturity beyond her 28 years with this collection of 12 originals. Produced by William Gawley, the project runs the gamut from gentle, acoustic Folk to Led Zeppelin-tinged Rock and roadhouse Blues, while also incorporating Jazz and psychedelic influences.
No Depression says that “The album introduces a singer fully in command of her vocal gifts and a songwriter who enfolds her lyric sensibility in haunting musical sketches.” It is an apt description for a largely chronological concept album. Taylor’s incisive lyrics cover a broad emotional landscape, describing a blossoming – then withering – romance in stunning confessional detail. The gently rolling opening cut, “Window,” inspired by a psychedelic experience, affords the first inviting glance into the real-life relationship on which the majority of songs are based, while the sweetly romantic first single, “Fixer Upper,” offers a dreamy optimistic view forward. The paths of touring musician and romantic partner converge in the free-ranging, B3-laden “Home on the Road,” an Americana Music Chart Top 15 single. Taylor’s vocal prowess for searing Blues/Rock is demonstrated in the electrifying “Forgiveness.” Other highlights include the raw, edgy vibe of the politically charged “Never Gonna Do” – a brief but compelling detour from the album’s autobiographical element. The collection closes out with “Taking Space,” a darkly bittersweet epilogue to the love story.
“Recording the album was very cathartic; it reflects my own personal journey of self-actualization, awareness and growth,” admits Taylor. “It’s easier to look back on this journey and relationship with gratitude now.”
Since the release of Mad Twenties, Taylor’s journey has found her touring non-stop in support of the album, doing countless live shows, podcast interviews, and radio and television appearances to bring her to audiences and critics alike. High profile appearances include Circle TV, Ditty TV, Woodsongs and Mountain Stage.
When Taylor is not working on music, she enjoys reading, practicing yoga and spending time with her long-haired dachshund, Winnie.