Kate Taylor was born in Boston, Massachusetts and was raised up in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Her musical roots delve deep into the American music genres of rhythm and blues, folk, gospel, country, rockabilly, Appalachian bluegrass, and rock and roll. This music was present through AM radio both local and distant, live music in Chapel Hill and in the summertime at coffee houses on Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts, and in springtime in Union Grove, North Carolina at the bluegrass festivals. In their Chapel Hill home, Kate and her brothers Alex, James, Liv and Hugh sang around the dining room table. They crafted harmonies inspired by singing groups like the Staples Singers and the Dixie Hummingbirds. Their parents, Ike and Trudy Taylor, when in a lighthearted mood, would sing Broadway tunes. "What's the Use of Wond'rin'" from Carousel was one song that Trudy sang.
Additionally, the family wore down the grooves pretty good in recordings by the following: Tom Lehrer, Lord Buckley, Ike and Tina Turner, Woody Guthrie and Dylan Thomas.
Kate was in her first band at the age of 15. All of her siblings and she embarked on
individual musical paths and they are still on them. On rare occasions they have carved out moments to sing together as in those earlier times.
In 1968, brother James was in London recording for Apple Records, the Beatles' then brand new label. Kate went for a visit there, and she and James sang Charlie and Inez Fox's "Mockingbird" together in the bottom of producer Peter Asher's English country home's empty swimming pool.
A month later Peter Asher called Kate and said he was moving to Los Angeles and would she want to come there to record an album with him. The result of that collaboration was the critically acclaimed LP Sister Kate, released on Atlantic's Cotillion label in 1971. She toured the country for a year.
In 1972 Kate returned home, now on Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. There she made a tipi which she stitched by hand and for several years lived in it, cooking over the open fire.
Into her tipi yard one day in 1976 appeared her brother James with an offer. His new record label, Columbia, had offered to let him make a record with another artist. He said that day he was choosing his sister Kate. The result of this effort was her second album, Kate Taylor, released in 1977.
In 1978, Kate went to Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, in Alabama, to record her third record It's In There and It's Got to Come Out. Her brothers Alex and Hughie, the Muscle Shoals Sound Rhythm Section, David Sanborn and the Memphis Horns all performed on this record.
Kate's road now took her back to Martha's Vineyard where she raised her family and pursued her love of singing and song when her familial responsibilities allowed. During that time she served on the Town of Gay Head school committee and fished professionally for scallops on Menemsha Pond. Kate helped revive the ancient traditional craft of wampum bead making utilizing the local clam shell. Wampum had been made in centuries past by New England and Long Island Indians and was used by them as a means of communication and to record treaties. There were many nights of songwriting around the kitchen table, out of which eventually came Kate's newest CD studio release, Beautiful Road. Produced by her late husband Charlie Witham, who penned many of the album's songs, and bass player Tony Garnier, Beautiful Road is a portrait of Kate and Charlie's life with their family on Martha's Vineyard.
And now Kate is on the road again.
A quick link to purchase Kate Taylor music from her website:
Kate Taylor Music