Stream here. Vinyl and CDs are available at brittaylormusic.com
Country singer/songwriter and Nashville Scene 2024 Artist to Watch Brit Taylor takes a journey back to her Appalachian home in her newest studio album, Kentucky Bluegrassed. Released today on the one-year anniversary of her critically acclaimed, Sturgill Simpson-produced album, Kentucky Blue, Taylor’s pure bluegrass album pays homage to the songs and sounds of her Kentucky childhood. The album, recorded at the famed Clement House Recording Studio in a single session that resulted in a brilliant collection of bluegrass mountain music retaining the spontaneity and joy of incredible musicians singing and playing together, is being released on Cut A Shine Records in partnership with Thirty Tigers. Taylor is celebrating the new project with release shows at the iconic Station Inn in Nashville, TN on February 8 and The Burl in Lexington, KY on February 10.
Kentucky Bluegrassed is a collection of eight songs, five re-imagined from Kentucky Blue and three new Taylor originals. Modest, boisterous, gentle and blunt, the album is a stripped-down musical and vocal achievement that is a fitting tribute to the people and music that shaped Taylor from a young age. The five re-imagined songs on the album are joined by the pre-released ”Saint Anthony”, “Church Bus” and “Married”. In true bluegrass fashion, the songs tell stories of everyday living – yes, Taylor makes frequent appeals to St. Anthony and, yes, she really did buy her own church bus for touring. And she penned “Married” a month before she ran off with Chaffins to a vintage desert trailer park near Taos, New Mexico, to get hitched. Flowing seamlessly with the “grassed” songs from Kentucky Blue, the new album becomes a rich quilt that is stitched with threads of tradition, innovation and raw talent.
“I always knew I would do a bluegrass album,” Taylor said. “I’ll never forget turning 16, getting my license and going to pick up my Papaw to take him to see Ralph Stanley at the Mountain Arts Center in Prestonsburg. I am pretty sure my friends were doing anything but taking their grandpa on a date to listen to bluegrass music, it was really special for me.”
Bluegrass has always been present in both Taylor’s songwriting and recordings – after all, her last album opened at No. 4 on the Bluegrass charts – and she has regularly teased her audiences with bluegrass tunes. But Kentucky Bluegrassed takes it to another level. Amidst the mountain sounds of the mandolin, fiddle, dobro, guitar and banjo, Taylor’s powerfully expressive alto delivers the sounds of the mountains and its proud inhabitants, with the souls of her ancestors echoing through her music.
Being released along with the album is the Natia Cinco directed video for the focus track, “If You Don’t Wanna Love Me,” one of the songs refashioned from Kentucky Blue. In a slinky remake of the original song, the fiddle is flirty, teasing its newgrass vibe with a plucky banjo and groovy bass. The lyrics are sassy and bit sultry; a bit “hillbilly risqué.” Enough so, that her husband said if he had known his wife would be singing the song, he never would have suggested a certain line, one that Taylor fell in love with and refused to let go. The sassy message is clear, “If you don’t wanna love me, it’s alright”, because I’ll find someone who will.
Kentucky Bluegrassed, produced by Taylor’s talented musician husband Adam Chaffins, features an all-star group of pickers, including Chaffins on the standing bass, Rob Ickes (Grammy winner and renowned dobro artist who played with Patty Loveless on “Mountain Soul”) Stuart Duncan (Grammy-winner, five-time winner of Fiddle Player of the Year and member of Patty Loveless’ Mountain Soul band), Dominick Leslie (mandolin player with Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway and a member of Hawktail), Seth Taylor (multi-instrumentalist member of Mountain Hear and the acoustic group Wood Box Heroes, and frequent performer in the Grand Ole Opry’s house band), and Matt Menefee (Winfield National Banjo Championship winner and co-founder of Cadillac Sky and ChessBoxer).
“The band was on fire,” Taylor said. “We were hoping to get five or six songs recorded – if we were lucky, but we ended up tracking all eight songs. These musicians are on a whole other level. There are no pro-tools tricks. There wasn’t a big budget or time for a ton of overdubs. All we had was one day, the Clement recording studio and that was it. Brandon Bell (engineer and mixer) is a wizard on the board, and that studio with all its history has good vibes. It was a hell of a good time. And probably the most fun I’ve ever had in the studio thus far.”
This release comes on the the heels of critical acclaim including being named to Nashville Scene’s 2024 list of “Artists to Watch,” recognizing her as “one of the latest in a long line of six-string storytellers from Eastern Kentucky, Grammy.com recognizing Taylor as one of the eight artists bringing traditional country music back, and Whiskey Riff, in reviewing the pre-release of “Saint Anthony” from the album, saying, “If Brit Taylor is not a name that’s on your radar yet, then it’s about time you change that.”
Following the album release shows, Taylor will take to the road, sharing her music across the country. Her schedule is available at brittaylormusic.com
Vocals: Brit Taylor
Producer: Adam Chaffins
Engineered and Mixed – Brandon Bell
Mastered – Eric Conn
Recorded at Clement House Recording Studio
Distribution: Cut A Shine Records in collaboration with Thirty Tigers
Anything But You – Brit Taylor and Adam Wright
Rich Little Girls – Kimberly Kelly, Brit Taylor and Adam Wright
No Cowboys – Nick Autry, Adam Chaffins and Brit Taylor
Kentucky Blue – Kimberly Kelly, Brit Taylor and Adam Wright
Married – Brit Taylor and Adam Wright
Church Bus – Dan Fernandez, Billy Montana and Brit Taylor
Saint Anthony – Brit Taylor and Adam Wright
If You Don’t Wanna Love Me – Adam Chaffins, Adam Landry and Brit Taylor
“If You Don’t Wanna Love Me” Video
Director, Videographer and Editor – Natia Cinco
Styling – Payton Dale
Hair and Makeup – Kristin Brooks