Photo courtesy of Payton Taylor
She’s like trying to catch a whirlwind, but I managed to do it. I caught her with exactly 18 minutes on her way to a gig at AJ’s Good Time Bar on Broadway in Nashville this afternoon, and we had a quick chat on the phone. I’m talking about an artist that you won’t want to miss if you’re coming to CMA Fest this year, she’s Payton Taylor and she’s fabulous.
I’ve known Payton personally for several years now, and she’s a feisty one. If someone asked me to describe her as a person, I might go about it like this. You know when you go to an unfamiliar bar and you have absolutely no idea what you want? You think and think and finally you just throw up your hands and tell the bartender, “Surprise me.” If he or she is a good bartender, they easily take you up on that request and most of the time, you’re pleasantly surprised. You take a sip, you like it, you take another sip, the bartender looks at you and says, “Well?” You say, “It’s good, what’s in it?” The bartender gives you a sly look, kind of like, “Do you really want to know?” Often times, you don’t. Some people have to know. Unless they threw in some illicit drugs, I don’t care. If it tastes good, I enjoy it and walk away.
That’s Payton Taylor. Chances are, if you’re at one of her shows, depending on her mood, she’s going to surprise you somehow. Oh, don’t get me wrong, her music is going to knock you off your bar stool and leave you spellbound, that never changes. It just keeps getting better. It’s her ability to tell stories and exchange banter with her audience that sets her miles apart from other artists. Don’t expect to watch a girl with a good voice and a guitar sit there and put you into a beer coma. She’s stunned friends and family members with some of the crazy, quick-witted true stories she’s pulled out of her back pocket at a moment’s notice at shows. She’s more than just a brilliant singer/songwriter. She’s an entertainer and she knows how to work a room.
How about we do this first? Let’s go for the throat, clean up the blood and close that door. If she wants to talk about it at her CMA Fest shows, so be it, but I’ll work through this now and move on. Some of you may remember her name from American Idol. Actually, two seasons of American Idol, seasons 16 and 17. There was season 16, where she was simply there to play guitar for her sister, Taryn Coccia, who was auditioning. Long story short, both sisters ended up with golden tickets to Hollywood, but turned them back in as they didn’t want to compete against one another. For season 17, Taylor returned to the show solo and made it all the way to the Top 40 in Disney’s Aulani Resort in Hawaii, however, none of her performances were aired. If you’re curious and just have to see that she was really there, you can rewatch this season’s episodes and play a slightly altered game of “Where’s Waldo?” and look for little glimpses of her. I promise you, she was there. Why the show chose not to air her songs is a mystery, but don’t feel bad for her.
“I’m so happy to be back in my stride. Being in front of a camera, on a reality TV show isn’t where I want to be. I love being on stage and doing shows and making and playing music. I’m thrilled to be rehearsing with a brand new road band for summer tour dates”, relates Taylor. I could hear the enthusiasm in her voice as she said these words. I know this is where she wants to be. This is the reason she moved to Nashville in the first place. Creating and playing music is what she’s all about. The show put her in a spot where she couldn’t do that for a while. She’s back where she needs to be. That’s the true American Idol story. Any and all other versions are complete and utter garbage. Do not ask me for further details, if I told you, I would have to kill both of us. I have grandkids. I’m not ready for any final resting places just yet. Just know Payton Taylor is overjoyed to be back to her real life and if Payton’s happy everybody’s happy. The end.
Photo courtesy of Patti McClintic and Think Country
Alright, so you’re in Music City and you want to see this ball of fire sing her songs and tell her stories. Where can you do that? Of course, all of the dates and times are on her website and her socials (listed below), but just to highlight some of the venues, she’ll be at AJ’s Good Time Bar on Broadway, Puckett’s Downtown, The Wildhorse Saloon and The District Bar & Kitchen at The Hotel Indigo. Her Wildhorse show happens a little bit before CMA Fest, but in case you’ll be here early, please be sure to drop by because this is a full band concert and one you don’t want to miss. The Wildhorse Saloon is one of downtown Nashville’s premier venues. It’s spacious, with topnotch lighting and sound and a full menu. That show happens on Sunday, June 2nd at 9:00 PM.
Taylor shared a little bit of what to expect at her other shows. “AJ’s is one of my favorite Nashville clubs. Definitely a good place to grab a cold one and just throw down and let loose. What I’m really looking forward to is seeing a lot of my fans that have been following me for so long at any of my CMA Fest shows. It’ll be like a family reunion of sorts, and of course, I’m always looking forward to meeting new fans”, said Taylor.
Video courtesy of Payton Taylor and YouTube
For her show at Puckett’s downtown, Taylor highly recommends that people call the venue for reservations. I agree with that sentiment. Puckett’s gets crowded on a normal day. During CMA Fest you can expect those numbers to be much crazier. The nice thing about that venue is they do have great food and as Taylor points out, “it will be more of a ‘listening room’ type experience.” That show takes place on Thursday, June 6th at 8:00 PM. Again, do call now for reservations if you want to attend. The number for Puckett’s is 615-770-2772, As an added bonus, Taryn Coccia will be playing cajon in support of her sister that evening.
Ready to slow things down and enjoy a leisurely breakfast and some really good music? Hop on over to The District Bar & Kitchen at The Hotel Indigo downtown on Saturday, June 8th at 9:00 AM. Just being in the lobby of The Hotel Indigo is something to behold. A former bank building, now a modern hotel with a printer’s theme (it’s located in a section of downtown Nashville called Printer’s Alley), see Payton Taylor’s show, enjoy breakfast and explore the hotel itself. It’s so interesting! Taylor also let me know that every show will offer fans opportunities to get photos and autographs. So don’t be shy! Stop after the show and say hello!
What else did Taylor have up her sleeve? Well, there is new music coming soon. She currently has two singles out digitally on all the usual platforms. Those are “Whiskey On My Wings” and “American Born”. The new one, “Shotgun and a Shovel”, is a fictional tale of romance gone dreadfully wrong, and inspired by watching one-too-many Lifetime Movies, and is set to release this summer. Fans attending Taylor’s CMA Fest shows will get a sneak preview of that new single. There’s nothing like hearing a song performed live before it officially drops to the rest of the world and this is one that I have been calling her best for a while now (and I listen to a lot of music).
Video courtesy of Payton Taylor and YouTube
No matter what, be sure to follow Payton Taylor on all her social media sites and keep checking in for the latest news and updates on where she’ll be during CMA Fest week and beyond. Beyond? What does that mean? I mentioned she was excited to be rehearsing with a new road band. They aren’t just rehearsing for the fun of it. This show is hitting the road! Where are they going? You can find all of that on her tour schedule on her website and socials, but she did give me a few places over the phone.
“We’ll be in Mississippi for two Backyard Mudfest shows soon. A couple of cities we’ve never played before and it’s been quite some time since I’ve played in Mississippi anyway, so we’re really looking forward to that. We’ll be heading north to my home state of New Jersey and the Philadelphia area again. There’s Boots on the Beach in Jersey in September”, Taylor told me. She had hoped to book more dates this summer, but her American Idol commitments didn’t leave much open by the time she was free to book shows again. She did, however, have a request for fans.
Taylor urged, “If anyone out there would like to see me play in their town and knows a venue that they think might like to have me, please have them send me a message on my socials or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org because we are already booking for 2020 and so far, we are wide open.” So, there you have it. If you’d like to possibly see Payton Taylor play in your neck of the woods, give it a shot and try and make it happen.
What about our friends in the UK? What about London and Manchester specifically? “My best friend, William Michael Morgan just played the Buckle & Boots Festival in Manchester and I was so jealous! I so wish I could have been there. I guess I would like to ask if the people over in England would like to have me play there first”, says Taylor. There it is. Payton Taylor is putting it out there. Does anyone in England want her to come over and play there? Please let her know by dropping a comment on her socials. If enough people say yes, it might happen. There has to be a demand to warrant jumping through all the logistical hoops.
To summarize, and to be very honest, there is no way to put an artist like Payton Taylor into a neat little basket, I would have preferred to do an in-depth interview with her, but as I mentioned, she is always on the run. I live within walking distance of her and I can’t find her. If you want to see her, this is your big chance. If you won’t be at CMA Fest, do your best to see her if she comes anywhere within driving distance of your hometown. You’ll have a better chance of seeing her than I will.
Is she destined for greatness? That’s a silly question. She’s already there. Why isn’t she our new American Idol? That’s silly too. Who needs to be an American Idol when you’re already American Born?
Video courtesy of Payton Taylor and YouTube
Payton Taylor can be found:
Booking e-mail address: email@example.com
*Featured image courtesy of Payton Taylor