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Rock On! This Week's Sound Bites...6/24/21
By Danny Coleman
originally published: 06/24/2021
Some artists burst onto the scene, others toil for years until they catch a break and then there are others who start their journeys and due to undeniable talent rise up almost immediately; Taylor Tote falls into the last category.
This uber-talented songwriter/musician/vocalist from the Jersey Shore area has been described as an "Old soul," "Strong," "Naturally talented," "Insanely fun" and each are deadly accurate. Tote is the kind of artist who can pull at your heartstrings with softness and then smack you in the chops with power. Taylor's stage presence and live performances built her reputation and quickly garnered her multiple accolades as a "Must see" show; catapulting her into elite status and leading to eventual mini-tours around the country.
However, much like any artist, Tote had her internal struggles and felt a void despite all of her near immediate success. Maturity in age has a way of maturing one's talent or perhaps a better way to say it is that it gives entertainers confidence. Tote learned much and she did so with alacrity; so much so that she now feels confident enough in herself to make a change. A second chance with her current producer and the realization that she's now unveiling her true self has caused her to change direction with her music and her sound.
"Russell Hayden is my producer; this is what is funny, this sounds different for me from what everyone else is used to but it's something that I have really wanted to do this whole time. I've always wanted to be a pop star versus a rock star. I grew up listening to pop music, I've always loved pop music and that is where I always saw myself and I really think it was when I was with Aardvark Smile that I started getting into more music and more live music and being more inspired by rock and then believing that if I wanted to play out that I needed to have a band and that just kind of morphed into my sound. Honestly, I was never happy with the way my recorded music sounded; all of the producers and musicians that I worked with were great, I loved the live shows and I loved the way the songs sounded live but once I got into the studio there was just something that wasn't clicking; I felt like it was never authentically me. I actually really believe that this is one of the most authentic things that I've ever put out, it just rings really true to me. I would say that from, "Heart's A Boomerang" on is when I really started to feel comfortable with my music and my sound. I would love to go back to the live sounding pop rock and soul music, I would love to go back to what I did with "Evergreen" or with "Quarter-Life Crisis" but the pop stuff has just always been there and I never had the right kind of people to get it out."
"When I was performing live I was happy," she continued; "Specifically recorded music. Anything before "Heart's A Boomerang" didn't feel authentically me and it was really hard for me to tell people, go listen to my music because I didn't really want to tell people to go to Spotify or iTunes and buy my music because it didn't feel like that's who Taylor Tote was and it's not really a great representation; even with my live shows. I would tell people don't listen to my music on Spotify, listen to it at a show. Come to show and see what you think and what we do because it's a lot better than what's online; so that's what I mean, it's not that I was unhappy with it entirely, it's getting into the studio that was difficult."
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"21 Min Drive" is her recent EP release and was done with Hayden and as was mentioned earlier; it only came to be through a second chance.
"I met Russell through mutual friends, he's in the music scene a little bit but he's more of a producer, he's also a rapper and hip-hop artist who really loves to produce and write songs for other artists. He came out to a show of mine in 2017 and he and Nick Ryan knew each other and I think it was Nick who said, "You should meet Taylor and you guys should work together" and I met him and he said, "I have some songs that I really want you to sing on" and they were his songs; I was just a feature. I did a lot of songs, I think I was featured on 75 percent of his album and once it came time for us to produce music together; he was going to produce music for me and it really wasn't working out but we still stayed friends and kept in touch. So, late last year he said, "I'd really love to try producing for you again. I've gotten a lot better at it and I've gotten a lot better at hearing what the artist wants instead of what I want and I really want to be able to write for you" and that's how it happened. We started the first song and he wrote half of it for me and he said, "I wrote this based on a conversation that we had the other day so, obviously it's for you" and I thought, OK, that's really cool. I had already written "Lowkey Stressed" and I brought it to him and I said, I think you can produce this really well. So, we had two songs and I said, well, we already have two songs; why don't we just do two more and release an EP? So, we did it completely remote over the course of three weeks; we wrote and recorded all of the songs. I was in my parent's basement, he was in his parent's basement and we were quarantined and we didn't meet once during that time period. So, that's why it's called "21 Min Drive" because that's how long it takes to get to his house."
Tote's high energy stage performances, emotional vocal rollercoaster and clear passion in her craft were always on display and amassed her a rabid following. When posed the question of how the new music has been received and how she intends on creating this new electronically driven sound on stage; essentially a totally different presentation than her fan base is used to, Tote was emphatic in her response.
"Yes! It is being received very well and I would say even though songs like "Fighter," which was something very close to my heart; it's not to say that just because this is electronic that it's not emotional; it's still very emotional and I actually wrote that music in kind of a very low mental state and that's what Russell was saying; I don't always have to be belting or screaming to have emotion. He was saying that I could pull back, I could whisper, I could be vulnerable and let people hear me because sometimes it's distracting when you're belting or screaming; you don't always have to be doing that. So, yeah, the electronic stuff is definitely a part of today's music and it's definitely more modern and I think that it's important being in the industry; keeping up with the times. Maybe my previous stuff would've done much better in the early 2000s when it was pop in the early 2000s but I don't think it makes it more or less emotional; it's just different and it's just in a different way."
"This is also something that I've tried to portray for a long time; your recorded music doesn't have to sound like your live music and your live music doesn't have to sound like your recorded music and very frequently it doesn't. That is something that I really have wanted for a long time, when we were doing it live I'd think, wow I love this, it sounds great as a live track and when we'd get into the studio I'd think OK, I want this to sound produced. I don't want this to sound exactly like it does on stage, it can sound a little bit more electronic, a little bit more polished, a little bit more held back and that was something that we started to achieve more so when we got into "Heart's A Boomerang" because David Ivory did add a little bit more electronic elements to that and some production tricks to that; which is really what I wanted because production in itself is also an art and I really wanted that to shine through. So, it kind of really didn't start to come through until around then but these songs on the EP have light instruments on them. There are guitars, violins and string instruments on them; I haven't performed with my band or as the Taylor Tote Band even before the pandemic in about two years. So, I wasn't really looking to do the band stuff anymore and I'm looking to do more acoustic sets and then get a band together and have a drummer with a drum pad, a keyboard player with a synth, a guitar player with the pedals so that it's live but with electronic elements in it; so, it's not impossible (laughs)."
"21 Min Drive" is a four song reveal of yet another side of Taylor Tote; once again demonstrating her immense talent but what is next?
"My goal is to really focus on writing and recording; Russell and I are actually working on three new songs which should be coming out soon as singles; not another EP. I also just released a song with two of the guys from Deal Casino called "My Dear Friend" and I did that with Telegraph Hill Records and that's definitely more rock U2/Coldplay kind of sounding. I also worked on another song with them and friends of theirs in Russia but I'm not sure when it's coming out; I'm open to collaborating with other people. I've been writing with people, taking piano lessons, a friend of mine has shown me a couple of tricks on the guitar and we have been writing together; I'm really just focusing on the creation end right now. Even if someone came to me and said, you can play a show tomorrow, I would say no because I've not performed in so long and I'm re-branding myself and I'm evolving as an artist and I'm getting older. I really want to make sure that before I play out again that I have a solid collection of songs that I'm happy with and that I'm going to be excited to perform out and that I also get the right people together. I think that was a really tough thing because I was friends with everyone I played with but that doesn't always mean that it's the right fit. I had band members who were very influenced by country, some who were influenced by classic rock, some were influenced by metal and I was over here like, I want to sound like Lady Gaga (laughs). That was very hard and I think as I'm getting older and growing as a musician I'm really focused on what is going to be authentically me and how I'm going to represent Taylor Tote in the future."
To discover more and see the many facets of Taylor Tote, please visit www.taylortote.com.
That's it for this week! Please continue to support live and original music and until next week....ROCK ON!
This week's event listings
Al's Airport Inn
636 Bear Tavern Road West Trenton
Wed. (4 p.m.) LGBTQ Happy Hour (7 p.m.) Jessica DiDonato
Arts Council of Princeton
102 Witherspoon Street Princeton
Thurs. 12 p.m. Lunchtime Artist Talk with Robin Resch (FREE and located in Dohm Alley next to Starbucks on Nassau
Bill's Olde Tavern
2694 Nottingham Way Hamilton
Thurs. 7 p.m. "Ladies Night"
Tues./Wed. 8 p.m. Karaoke w/ DJ "Super" Dave Curtis
Blend Bar & Bistro
911 Highway 33 Hamilton
Thurs. 6 p.m. Tiltin' Catz
1600 River Road New Hope, PA
Thurs. 6 p.m. Lorenzo Branca
Sat. 7 p.m. Dave Dales Trio
Sun. 12 p.m. "Blues for Brunch" w/ Steve Guyger
Wed. 6 p.m. Neil Podgurski
Broken Goblet Brewing
2500 State Road Bensalem, PA
Thurs. 7 p.m. Mike Estabrook
Wed. 8 p.m. Open Mic w/ Cara Cartney
All Shows 21+
871 Highway 33 Hamilton
Tues. 6 p.m. AntGeo
24 Passaic Street Trenton
Thurs. 6 p.m. Thursday Night Blues Jam Hosted by The Mojo Gypsies. $5 (Includes hot buffet)
931 Chambers street Trenton
Tuesday 8 p.m. "Jam Night" Hosted by Nikki & Caleb
510 Highway 130 South East Windsor
Fri. 9 p.m. The Jim Delre Band
125 South Main Street Hightstown
Sun. 7 p.m. "Rock On Radio" feat. Vic Jones, music by various artists
411 Hobart Avenue Hamilton
Sat. 1 p.m. "Quoit Tournament"
50 Riverview Plaza Trenton
Thurs. (8 p.m.) Sara and the Sound (9 p.m.) Club Night feat. Rotating DJs (inside event)
Fri. (5 p.m.) "It's 5 O'clock Somewhere Happy Hour" (8 p.m.) Journey Tribute w/ "Highway Run" w/ DJ Diva Maria
Sat. 8 p.m. The Black Cherry Band
Sun. 11 a.m. " Sunday Latin Jazz Brunch" w/ Victor Tarassov
Mon. 7 p.m. "Sunny Monday Blues Jam"
Tues. 7 p.m. Karaoke w/ Karen and Mark
Wed. (12 p.m.) "Wine Down Wednesdays" (7 p.m.) Small Potatoes
All Events Ages 21+
Cream Ridge Winery
145 Route 539 Cream Ridge
Sat. 1:30 p.m. Alex English
Sun. 1:30 p.m. "Sangria Sundays" w/ Ronnie Brandt Joe Nap Paul Avrutin
215 West Philadelphia Avenue Morrisville, PA
Fri. 6 p.m. Acoustic Music Night
Wed. 8 p.m. Quizzo
437 Pine Street Mount Holly
Thurs. 9 p.m. "Throwback Thursday/Ladies Night" w/ DJ entertainment feat. retro 70's, 80's and 90's music.
Fri. 7 p.m. Monk & Kramer
Sat. 9 p.m. DJ entertainment
Dog & Bull Brew House
810 Bristol Pike (Rte. 13) Croydon, PA.
Fri. 6 p.m. Mike Brill
Sat. 4 p.m. Nick Moccia
Sun. 5 p.m. Vince Schneider
Eddington House Bensalem
2813 Hulmeville Road, Bensalem, PA
Fri. 8 p.m. Jerry Watkins
Sat. 8 p.m. Mike Estabrook Duo
Escape Resort, Restaurant & Bar
120 Pheasant Run Road Newtown, PA
Fri. 6 p.m. Kickbax
6700 Mill Creek Road Levittown, PA
Thurs. 7 p.m. Weekly Corn Hole Tournament
Fri. 6 p.m. "Happy Hour"
Sat. 8 p.m. Karaoke
Wed. 5:30 p.m. Family Fun Night w/ "Gina the Balloon Girl"
90 South Main Street New Hope, PA
Thurs. 8 p.m. "Musicians Night Out" Hosted by Lovelight
Tues. 8 p.m. Open Mic Hosted by Sam Ryan
Wed. 8 p.m. Trivia Hosted by Dwayne Dunlevy
Grounds For Sculpture
80 Sculptors way Hamilton
Sat. 10 a.m. "Member Mornings"
Sun. 1 p.m. "Family Meditation"
1580 Kuser Road Hamilton
Sat. 7 p.m. Tiltin' Catz
Havana New Hope
105 S. Main Street New Hope, PA.
Thurs. 7 p.m. Funk n' Blues Jam
Sat. (8:30 p.m.) Legacy. Doors open at 8 p.m., Ages 21+, $15 (12 a.m.) DJ Dance Party
Hopewell Valley Vineyards
46 Yard Avenue Pennington
Thurs. 8 p.m. "Cabaret & Vino w/ Lindsey Alley w/ Musical Direction by Rick Leonard. (Doors open at 6:30 p.m., $30 cover charge and $20 food/drink minimum. Benefits P.A.L.S)
Fri. 4 p.m. "Music & Merlot" feat. (5:30 p.m.) The Jackalopes (8 p.m.) "Cabaret & Vino w/ Lindsey Alley w/ Musical Direction by Rick Leonard. (Doors open at 6:30 p.m., $30 cover charge and $20 food/drink minimum. Benefits P.A.L.S)
Sat. (1 p.m.) Ess Gees (5:30 p.m.) "Music & Merlot" feat. Living The Dream
Sun. 1:30 p.m. "Jazzy Sundays" feat. The Blue Jersey Band
Iron Plow Vineyards
26750 Mount Pleasant Road Columbus
Fri. 6:30 p.m. Bob & Dave
Sat. 6:30 p.m. Bob O
Sun. 2 p.m. Jon Savage
3108 S. Broad Street, Hamilton
Thurs. 9:30 p.m. "Thursday Night Dance Party"
Fri. 8 p.m. Diane Chiorello
Sat. 8 p.m. Slugger O'Toole
All shows 21+
John & Peter's
96 S. Main Street New Hope, Pa
Wed. 9 p.m. The Invitational
All shows 21+
14 Railroad Avenue Wrightstown
Sat. 7 p.m. Bent Mushroom
Killarney's Publick House
1644 Whitehorse-Mercerville Road Hamilton
Thurs. 5 p.m. "Girls Night Out" w/ Radio Fiction
Sat. 5 p.m. Mario & Frank
2360 Route 33 Suite 106 Robbinsville
Thurs. 6:30 p.m. Fast Ant
Langhorne Summer Concert Series
115 West Richardson Avenue Langhorne, PA
Wed. 7 p.m. E-Street Shuffle
85 Archertown Road New Egypt
Thurs. 7 p.m. "Laurita Idol 2021" (Tryout) (Open to adults 18+, $15 registration fee to tryout)
Fri. (12 p.m.) "Wine In The Grove Friday" (6 p.m.)Pasta Night "All You Can Eat." $29 (7 p.m.)
Sat. "Welcome Back Food Truck Fair" feat. (11 a.m.) The Bog Boys (2:45) Pennington Station (6:15 p.m.) Raw Sugar (9:30 p.m.) Fireworks Display. (Ages 21+ $12, ages 20 and under FREE)
Sun. "Welcome Back Food Truck Fair" feat. (11 a.m.) Roundabout Trio (3:15 p.m.) Rangers Nouveau. (Ages 21+ $12, ages 20 and under FREE)
Lawrenceville Main Street
17 Phillips Avenue Lawrenceville
Thurs. 6 p.m. "Music In The Park" feat. Alex Otey Trio. (Weeden Park FREE admission)
Makefield Highlands Golf Club
1418 Woodside Road Yardley, PA
Fri. 5 p.m. The Mix
572 Klockner Road Hamilton
Fri. 6 p.m. Joe Zook & Paul Plumeri
Wed. 7 p.m. Karaoke
Marie's Kozy Korner
111 Trenton Road Fairless Hills, PA
Fri. 7 p.m. Cara Cartney
Sat. 11 a.m. "Luck of the Draw Horseshoes"
1781 Brunswick Avenue Lawrence
Tues. 9 p.m. Karaoke
McStews Irish Sports Pub
5316 New Falls Road Levittown, PA
Sat. 7 p.m. All Lit Up
Music Mountain Theater
1483 Route 179 Lambertville
Fri. 8 p.m. "Murder At Cheltenham Manor"
Sat./Sun. 3 p.m. "Murder At Cheltenham Manor"
New Egypt Flea Market Village
933 Monmouth County Road Cream Ridge
Thurs. 5 p.m. "Full Moon Market" feat. Michael Jaskewicz, Mike Caruso, Ken Sidotti at "Tye Dye Amy's"
New Hope Winery
6123 Lower York Road New Hope, PA
Fri. 8 p.m. Carole King Tribute w/ "Home Again"
Sat. 8 p.m. Carole King Tribute w/ "Home Again"
Newtown Brewing Company
103 Penns Trail Newtown, PA
Thurs. 7:30 p.m. Trivia Night
Sat. (12 p.m.) Event: "Pet Adoption" (7 p.m.) Words in Flight
Nick's Roast Beef
4501 Woodhaven Road West Philadelphia, PA
Fri. 6 p.m. Plush w/ Horn Section
Sat. 6 p.m. Penny Rhodes
Sun. 4 p.m. The Naturals
Odd Logic Brewing Co.
500 Bristol Pike, Bristol, PA
Sun. 7 p.m. "Yeast Coast Comedy" Hosted by Jackson Crutchfield feat., Brandon Jackson, James Moss, Matt Hyams, Scott Brennan (Headliner). $15 (advance)
O'Fowley's Tavern & Grill
200 State Road Croydon, PA
Fri. 8 p.m. DJ Entertainment
Old Town Pub
135 Farnsworth Avenue Bordentown
Thurs. 7 p.m. Quizzoholics Trivia
Sat. 7 p.m. Mark Giovi w/ Joe Hoyer
Tues. 7 p.m. "Dinner Is A Drag"
40 Nassau Street Princeton
Thurs. 4 p.m "Locals Night" w/ Live "Strolling" Musician Dave Vargo
Sat.12 p.m.Black Brant
Sun. 1 p.m. Esteem All Stars & Jeris Cook Trio
Pasquale's Sports Bar
9078 Mill Creek Road Levittown, PA
Fri. 5 p.m. Happy Hour feat. (TBA)
Sat. 8 p.m. DJ or Live Band Entertainment Finster
Tues. 7:30 p.m. Quizzo
Wed. 7 p.m. Open Mic
1339 River Road Titusville
Thurs. 8 p.m. Open Mic Night
Wed. 7 p.m. "Quizzo"
Pete's Steak House
523 Whitehorse Avenue Hamilton
Fri. 9 p.m. Radio Fiction
802 River Road Ewing
Sat. 6 p.m. Bad Hombres
Wed. 7 p.m. David Boyd
101 Route 31 North Pennington
Sat. 1 p.m. Outdoor Line Dancing. $10 (Rain date Sundays 12 p.m.)
Rossi's Bar & Grill
2110 Whitehorse-Mercerville Road Hamilton
Thurs. 5:30 p.m. Ernie White
Sandy's Beef & Ale
2028 E. Old Lincoln Highway Langhorne, PA
Thurs. 8 p.m. Quizzo
Sherman Theater/Penn Community Bank Amphitheater
2400 Byberry Road Bensalem, PA
Wed. 7 p.m. Scarab. (Doors open at 5:30 p.m., tickets available online)
Sparky World-Famous Beer Garden
4333 New Falls Road Levittown, PA
Thurs. 9 p.m. Karaoke
Fri. 9 p.m. DJ Dance Parties w/ the Paula & Sam Livingston
Sat. 9:30 p.m. Never Enough
Mon. 9 p.m. Game Night w/ Kid Dalton
1 Cookstown-New Egypt Road, Wrightstown
Fri. 9 p.m. Karaoke w/ Big Daddy G
Sat. 9 p.m. Jason Fox
Tavern On The Lake
101 Main Street Hightstown
Wed. 9 p.m. Karaoke
5 South State Street Newtown, PA
Tues. 8 p.m. Trivia w/ Righteous Jolly
Wed. 7 p.m. Open Mic Night w/ Cara Cartney
330 Cold Soil Road Princeton
Fri. 4 p.m. "Sips & Sounds Friday" feat. Catmoondaddy
Sat. 1 p.m. "Weekend Music Series" feat. Mike & Laura
Sun.1 p.m. "Weekend Music Series" feat. Acoustic DuOver
3535 U.S. Route 1 North #275 Princeton
Fri. 5 p.m. Kim Yarson & Joey J
The Beer Garden at Snipes Farm
890 West Bridge Street Morrisville, PA
Sat. 4 p.m. "Music at Snipes Farm Spring 2021" feat. Pete Tonti Band / Secret Sound
(Cranbury Golf Club)
49 Southfield Road West Windsor
Fri. 7 p.m. Kindred Spirit
The Buck Hotel
1200 Buck Road Feasterville, PA
Thurs. 7 p.m. Kevin Kirko
Fri. 7 p.m. Love Junk
Sat. 9 p.m. Danny Lynch Duo
The Cool Cricket
216 Burlington Street Fieldsboro
Fri. 9 p.m. Karaoke
Sat. 8:30 p.m.Unleashed
34 North Main Street New Hope, PA
Sun. 3 p.m. "Traditional Irish Session"
The Five Four Bar & Grill
8919 New Falls Road Levittown, PA
Sat. 9 p.m. The Bambu Weasels
The Morrisville Tavern
376 West Trenton Avenue Morrisville, PA
Mon. 7 p.m. "Country Night"
The Sticky Wicket
2465 South Broad Street Hamilton
Fri. 8 p.m. "In My House"
Sat. 8 p.m. "In My House Saturdays" $20
The Sycamore Grill
255 North Sycamore Street Newtown, PA
Fri. 8 p.m. Lisa Bouchelle
Sat. 8 p.m. Stage Left
702 Pine Street Trenton
Sat. 10 p.m. "Buzzed Saturdays"
449 South Broad Street Trenton
Thurs. 5 p.m. "Happy Hour Throwback Thursday" w/ Jay Kountree
Mon. 6 p.m. "Monday Night Karaoke" Hosted by Sweets
Triumph Brewing Company
(New Hope, Pa. Location)
400 Union Square New Hope, Pa.
Thurs. 8 p.m. Trivia
Sun. 7 p.m. Open Stage
All shows 21+
Water's Edge Gastropub and Lounge
1067 Totem Road Bensalem, PA
Thurs. 7 p.m. Cornhole "Blind Draw." $10
Sat. 7 p.m. "Comedy on the Crick"
Sun. 12 p.m. Drag Brunch
Wed.7 p.m. Drag Bingo & Karaoke
Working Dog Winery
610 Windsor Perrineville Road Hightstown
Sat. 12:30 p.m. Chris Giakas
Sun. 1 p.m. Kevin McGowan
WWFM 89.1 FM HD2 Radio
MCCC Old Trenton Road West Windsor
Mon. 7 p.m. "Danny Coleman's Got The Blues"
Danny Coleman is a veteran musician and writer from central New Jersey. He hosts a weekly radio program entitled “Rock On Radio” airing Sunday evenings at 7:000pm EST on multiple internet radio outlets where he features indie/original bands and solo artists.