Bobby Taylor, who hails from Crossville, Tenn., but who has made his mark in Nashville, will be the featured musician for the Scopes Festival. His performance at 12:30 p.m. on the courthouse lawn on Saturday, July 18, is free and is presented by Bluewater RV Resort & Marina.
In addition to his talents as a singer and songwriter, he has made his mark on the stage at the Cumberland County Playhouse, in Nashville and New York City, among other locations.
Bobby stars in the Scopes Festival’s production of “Front Page News” as The Storyteller, and wrote original music and arranged many of the songs to be heard in the show.
Q: Name some of your favorite songs you have written, and artists who performed them:A Man Holdin’ On To A Woman Lettin’ Go : Ty Herndon Hillbilly Shoes : Montgomery Gentry Did I Forget to Pray : Billy Ray Cyrus Jesus Never Had No Motorcycle : The Marshall Tucker Band I Just Come Here For the Music : Don Williams and Alison Krauss On The Day I Die : Mark Collie Compared to You : The Oak Ridge Boys
Q: You’ve had a long history with the Cumberland County Playhouse. What got you interested in acting/writing/performing music?
Art has a lot of therapeutic value. I don’t mean to be cryptic, but I’ll let you read between the lines on that. I began writing poetry in second grade. Also, in second grade, Mary Crabtree [who founded the Playhouse with her husband, Paul] would come into our class for a half-hour ever week--read to us and engage us in make-believe. A music teacher would spend another thirty minutes every week leading us in songs and teaching us musical scales and notation. Gaining access to music and drama, along with learning to write, gave my imagination a place to play. I’ve been playing ever since. That year, 1967, seems to have set the course for my life.
Q: What do you like best about live performances?
There’s a Zen quality to live performance. It’s easy, especially if one has performed something many times, to slip into auto-pilot. To not do that, to be present in the discovery of every moment, is to place oneself in the stream of creation. To create, to make, to discover—perhaps these are my favorite experiences. And when the audience is with you—when all of the energy in the room is collaborating in the event of performance—there’s nothing else I know of like that feeling. Call it spiritual communion if you will, it’s a sharing of gifts—a snapshot of the human experience.
Q: Is country your primary genre and do you write in/for other styles?
I love great lyrics that make you think—songs that offer up a different slice of life. I love all kinds of music, but as a writer I have a drive to comment on the human condition in my own way. With Nashville being so close, I decided to try and fit into that marketplace rather than move to New York or L.A. So, I write for that market and I write for myself. In the album I made a few years ago (Clouds Without Rain), I tried to explore the Celtic root that seems to run through most American Music. I believe that we have a music memory in our DNA that has been passed down for generations. I try to listen for that—to allow what is in my being to come out—without labeling it. But, no matter what I write, it’s probably closer to country and/or folk than any other genre.
Q: What can the Scopes Festival audience expect from your performance on Saturday?
I’m going to play some of my cuts, including my hits, and some other songs I love that have never been recorded. I’ll play a song or two off of the CD I made a few years ago, and I’ve got a few new songs I’d like to try out. Then, if there’s time (and there should be), I’ll pay tribute to Kristofferson and James Taylor by doing a couple of their songs. All in all, it will be a potpourri of familiar and new.
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