Folk-pop musician Livingston Taylor comes to the Loft in Oak Bluffs with special guest Alisa Amador on Saturday, August 28. Taylor returns to the Island, continuing his 50-plus-year musical career.
Taylor has been coming to the Island since 1956, and has performed every summer here (except for 2020) since 1972. Taylor said the Loft has developed a reputation for being “a very good place to play,” so Taylor “got right on that” when they asked his agent if he’d like to perform there.
Taylor is also confident of Amador’s addition to the performance. She will be bringing “youth and beauty to the performance,” assets being brought by a “wonderful talent,” according to Taylor.
The musical journey began for Taylor in Chapel Hill, N.C., where he was born and raised. Born to a physicist academic father and a musically trained mother, Taylor and his siblings took up music to enrich their lives. His gifted siblings include singer-songwriters Kate Taylor and Alex Taylor, innkeeper of Outermost Inn in Aquinnah and singer Hugh Taylor, and six-time Grammy award winner James Taylor.
Livingston Taylor has loved music since he was in elementary school, and picked up the guitar for the first time when he was 13 years old. “I started practicing the guitar with real ferocity at the age of 16, and by the age of 17 I was a very good guitar player,” said Taylor. “It was something that I was good at, and it was something I loved to do … there was enough of an audience to make it possible to earn a living. Those are the ingredients for having a career.”
Taylor’s love of music and his career were also inspired by various musicians and genres. While he is known to be a folk-pop singer, he is also adroit in gospel and jazz. Musicians he listened to as a child were particularly instrumental in his musical career: folk musicians such as Peter, Paul and Mary and the Kingston Trio, Broadway songs written by Oscar Hammerstein, and R&B performers Ray Charles and Bobby “Blue” Bland. He also listened to pop radio to figure out how a song worked and why it was successful, even if he didn’t personally like the tune.
During his more than 50 years in music, Taylor usually maintains a schedule of around 100 shows a year. He has more than 20 albums in his discography, and songs that have reached the top 40 rankings in the Billboard charts — 1979’s “I’ll Come Running” and 1980’s “First Time Love,” among others. He also worked with and opened for other successful musicians, such as 11-time Grammy award winner Linda Ronstadt and the rock band Jethro Tull.
Throughout the pandemic, Taylor livestreamed half-hour segments of music, tales, and tidbits called the “Livingston Taylor Show” for his Patreon patrons.
Outside his musical career, Taylor has also performed on “Late Night with David Letterman” and voiced the character Thomas Edison in the 2015 children’s show “Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab.” Taylor has also taught music for the past 31 years, and currently teaches a course in “Stage Performance” at Berklee College of Music in Boston, using a book he wrote of the same name, saying it was “something that I’m delighted to do.”
“I believe being a good performer is very important to a career, so I’m delighted to have taught it over the years,” said Taylor.
Taylor is also a motorcycle enthusiast and an amateur pilot. He owns and drives BMW motorcycles, and flies a 1964 Cessna 205 prop plane.
Maintaining a sustainable and successful career in the music industry is no small feat, and Taylor has a piece of wisdom to share about it:“One of the important ingredients to be given by a loving universe is to be given the gift of ferocious curiosity. Ferocious curiosity … that makes for a life that is interesting each and every day.”
Livingston Taylor’s performance with Alisa Amador at the Loft in Oak Bluffs will be on Saturday, August 28, at 4 pm and at 8 pm. Tickets for each of these events can be purchased on ticketmaster.