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Artist Updates: Sessions & Confessions
The Taylor artist roster has been growing at a record clip in 2023, and our family of players, songwriters and producers has never been more exciting and diverse. Our video team has been working hard to capture exclusive performances and interviews with our multi-genre lineup—here’s a rundown of the latest and greatest. Remember to check out Taylor’s YouTube channel for the full library of videos.
Manchester Orchestra have been pumping out their cinematic brand of indie rock since 2005, and they’re going stronger than ever today. Between a record of Christmas songs released in 2021, a handful of poignant singles in 2022, and this year’s The Valley of Vision EP, the band — led by singer, songwriter and guitarist Andy Hull — continues to hold its place as a fixture in modern indie rock.
In addition to his considerable talents as a songwriter, Hull is also an accomplished guitar player who feels particularly at home on an acoustic guitar and enjoys exploring the unique sonic colors and textures of different models in search of fresh inspiration. So it should come as no surprise that he’s been actively exploring different “alternative” acoustic flavors across our line, including our Builder’s Edition 816ce (with its soundport cutaway), nylon and baritone models, and our 12-strings. And when Taylor content producer Jay Parkin recently put a 12-string 552ce in his hands, Hull instantly connected with it.
Hull was kind enough to share a recent solo performance on the guitar for Taylor fans from a longer set recorded for Manchester Orchestra’s Patreon, which allows fans to provide direct financial support to the artists they love. You can see the full set as a Patreon member. Enjoy this intimate rendition of “The Maze” which he wrote for his daughter, Mayzie. The song was originally released on The Black Mile Demos in 2018.
The Struts have been a reliable source of classic rock vibes and big riffs since 2012. The UK-based group recently joined us at Los Angeles’ legendary EastWest Studios—where several of their main influences also recorded throughout the last sixty years—to film an episode of Vinyl Confessions. For this performance, The Struts broke expectations by selecting “Stranger in Moscow” by Michael Jackson.
On the singer-songwriter front, Autumn Nicholas recently joined the fold, bringing their lyrically potent, melodically inspiring sound to the Taylor family on an episode of the Acoustic Sessions. The Nashville-based songwriter has built a following around their fiery, yet poetic writing style, complemented with influences from country, rock and soul. Autumn performed their song “Baggage” on a Taylor 417e.
After a four-year span that saw them release two new albums and an EP, highly influential emo/rock act Tigers Jaw has recently joined the Taylor family thanks to founding member and guitarist Ben Walsh. We met up with Ben at the legendary Russo Music in Philadelphia, where we filmed him sharing a solo acoustic rendition of “Hesitation” on a Taylor AD27e.
A self-taught guitarist and songwriter who began his music career at the age of 30, Detroit-born Al Bettis has been making regular appearances on festival stages and solo events across the Midwest. We joined forces with Al to record a performance of his track “See You Again” from his 2019 EP The Listening Sessions.
Country singer-songwriter Bre Kennedy is making a name for herself in the hallowed ground of Nashville, where she’s been selling out shoes and recording with household names like Sheryl Crow. She recently joined us to film an Acoustic Sessions episode, playing her single “Retrospect” on a Taylor 322e 12-Fret.
Wife-and-husband duo Kat & Alex are picking up listeners across borders with their Latin-inflected country style that blends English and Spanish lyrics. The pair played “I Want It All” and “Cowboys Need Sunsets” for an episode of Taylor Soundcheck.
Veering back into rock ‘n’ roll territory, British band King Nun has been reviving the indie sound with their brash, grunge-inflected sound since their 2019 debut album, Mass. Their youthful post-punk vibes and sharp lyrics are putting King Nun at the center of the conversation in the rock world, and we were excited to snag time with members Theo Polyzoides and James Upton for a Taylor Soundcheck episode where they played “Lamb” and “But We Live On the Beach” from their new album.
In August, Vancouver-based folk-pop songwriter and Taylor player Joshua Hyslop joined us in the studio in partnership with Denon to record a performance for Vinyl Confessions. Joshua’s selection was “Kathy’s Song” by Simon & Garfunkel, a gorgeous piece that Joshua says helped him fall in love with music and pushed him to write songs of his own.
Finally, worship and R&B singer-songwriter DOE made an appearance on the Acoustic Sessions, showing off her silky vocals and intricate fingerpicking style. DOE began her music career at a young age with her family’s band, Forever Jones, which was nominated for two GRAMMY awards. She played her song “Hey You” in the Taylor studio, which appears on her 2022 album Clarity.
Taylor in the Wild
Elsewhere, Taylor guitars continue to appear on the world’s biggest stages.
Absurdly talented singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and bandleader Jacob Collier recently teamed up with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra for a performance at the Hollywood Bowl. Prior to the event, the multiple Grammy winner took his custom-designed five-string Taylor acoustic to the Bowl to film a rendition of his song “The Sun Is in Your Eyes,” pairing his rich baritone vocals with a distinctive fingerpicking style that’s as expressive as his voice.
Pop megastar Taylor Swift has been providing a one-woman boost to local economies during her sold-out Eras Tour, where she’s playing a pair of custom-built Taylor guitars for some of her older songs. Taylor’s own Megan Younce from our Sales team was in Los Angeles for one of the shows and sent in photos of Taylor with her Taylors.
Supporting Swift on tour has been MUNA, whose shimmering synth-rock vibes have been making waves and gathering up millions of fans in the process. Over the summer, MUNA was featured on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert series, playing stripped-down versions of three tracks for the popular YouTube show. Guitarist and singer Katie Gavin used two Taylor acoustic guitars for the performance, which has racked up nearly a half-million views.
Rounding up a handful of other appearances: Congolese Taylor player Niwel Tsumbu has been on tour with folk artist Rhiannon Giddens, including a performance on CBS Saturday Sessions where he used a T5z. Tsumbu has played an older Taylor NS32ce with award-winning orchestras and artists for years, including on the GRAMMY-winning album They’re Calling Me Home by Giddens and Francesco Turrisi….Country songstress Kelsea Ballerini appeared on the Taylor Show to perform her song “Heartfirst,” playing a Taylor GT Blacktop alongside her guitarist, who played a 562ce….New to the Taylor fold, OWENN has seen his star rise thanks to an eight-show stint opening for Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour, where he played an AD17e Blacktop. OWENN’s guitar accompanist, Vin Landolfi, is also a Taylor artist, and has been playing an 814ce for the shows….Hailing from North London, singer-songwriter and guitarist SOLOMON recently released a video for his song “do you want my love,” which appears on his 2023 EP FOR STARTERS….Swedish duo First Aid Kit played at the Lowlands Festival in the Netherlands, with guitarist Klara Söderberg playing a Taylor AD12e-SB….Latin superstar Camilo performed at the legendary Puerta de Alcalá in Madrid, including a gorgeous performance of “Tutu” on a Taylor K21e….Taylor player Sebastian Yatra is currently reparing for a tour that will take him to 23 countries around the world….Catalan singer-songwriter Sara Roy released a new single, “Tocar el cel,” which she has followed up with several tour dates around the Iberian Peninsula.
An Encore at the Latin Alternative Music Conference
From July 11-15, the most important alternative music conference in the U.S. Latin Market, the Latin Alternative Music Conference (LAMC), took place in New York City. With its largest turnout to date, more than 900 attendees filled the Hilton Hotel Convention Center in the heart of Manhattan for the exciting four-day event. For the second straight year, Taylor Guitars could not be missed with a show-stopping room filled with the sights and sounds of Taylor guitars. Members of our artist relations and content team, including Latin America rep Juan Lopera, were busy engaging with artists throughout the event. With a unique photo display, we told a visual story of the path of one of our guitars from tree to final product.
Additionally, our small but popular stage provided just the right atmosphere for some enthusiastic and crowd-pleasing performances by artists including Ramona, Usted Señalemelo (a 2023 Latin Grammy Nominee), Conexion Divina (also a Latin Grammy Nominee), Circo and Black Guayaba. Columbian megastar Juanes played an impromptu acoustic set with our instruments at the Taylor Artist Lounge. The intimate setting stood in stark contrast to the Juanes concert that LAMC presented at SummerStage in Central Park during the event — the show had to be canceled during his second song due to excessive crowds after an additional 12,000 fans show up outside the gates of the venue’s capacity 5,000-person crowd.
These small acoustic shows in the Taylor lounge drew large crowds from both fans and journalists alike. Without a doubt, LAMC 2023 was a great exhibition window for Taylor, and we are excited to build on this momentum in 2024 and support the Latin music community in the United States.