Taylor Knox, Delaware native and graduate of Indian River High School and Berklee College of Music, is one diamond from the diamond state you don’t want to miss out on seeing shine this upcoming season. Taylor, 26, currently lives in Millville, DE and and has been playing in the area for 5 years now, with an uptick in Ocean City appearances in the last few years leading to frequent appearances on the strip for upcoming the spring and summer months of 2016. I was fortunate to see Taylor play at Smitty McGee’s on Wednesday, March 23, and was treated to quite the solo performance along with a very pleasant sit down, following his set, where I caught up with the talented musician to discuss his performances, summer dates, and future music plans.
I took my seat at the bar shortly after Taylor’s second set had begun to enjoy a favorite cordial of mine, Dewars on the rocks, and Taylor appropriately accompanied my beverage selection with a very impressive, personified version of the Bob Dylan started, Old Crow Medicine Show finished, Darius Rucker emulated “Wagon Wheel”. What had caught my ear, beginning with this song and becoming a theme, was the way Taylor was able to apply his own little touches to the iconic chords without disturbing the original in anyway. I gained a true appreciation for his skills as a guitarist as he would seamlessly transfer into each song with his own little jam session sprinkled in, almost teasing the patrons.
The crowd all seemed to be enjoying the sound Taylor was throwing down and I noted how he was able to remain interactive with people and play a wide range of genres while not monopolizing the dinner conversations or the overall atmosphere. I enjoyed this because it allowed for those who wanted to rock out a bit to experience that aspect of the night while those who wanted to eat and enjoy a few kind words with one another to do so.
As Taylor was wrapping up an upbeat version of the Cash classic “Ring of Fire” a request had been made for Taylor to play Alan Jackson’s little ditty “ Chattahoochee”, which became clear was a song Taylor was less than familiar with. Nonetheless within a minute Taylor had, from memory, gotten the chords and progressions down, along with the somewhat complicated lyrics and was able to oblige the request of the young man, who for the record was born well after the original song was released. I thought this was a pretty cool element to his set and asked him what his thoughts were on song requests,
“Yea I accept requests, I mean as long as I can actually play, and I actually know the song, yea I definitely will play requests, I enjoy the challenge.” Taylor said of request policy.
The night continued on and as I was starting off my RaR Nanticoke Nectar, a beer I highly recommend giving a whirl, Taylor began playing one of my all-time personal favorites, “All Along The Watchtower”, a song written and performed originally by Bob Dylan and then mastered by Jimi Hendrix. Taylor chose to play the Hendrix version but, because of the acoustic guitar and mastery of the loop pedal, was able to produce a hybrid of the two equally enjoyable versions and have a unique sound come to fruition.
When not receiving requests it was evident that Taylor was a rocker through and through, with songs such as “Semi-Charmed Kind of Life”, “What I Got”, and “Ironman” making appearances, but he showed a wide range in playing Rebelution’s “Feeling Alright” and concluding his set with the Grateful Dead’s “Shakedown Street”. The change-up in styles led to a very balanced performance and allowed for each kind of ear to hear what they like to hear.
Taylor will be at Smitty McGee’s every Wednesday from 6 p.m.-10 p.m. and at Hooked Up in Ocean View, DE every Friday from 4 p.m. – 7 p.m. and I suggest taking a trip up north to visit one of the two great restaurants and listen to some great music, but if not Taylor will be making several appearances in Ocean City this year including an upcoming radio appearance with his newly formed band, Human Connection. Below is a list of his scheduled appearances:
April 19th – Ocean 98.1 Live Links (Human Connection)
April 23rd- Beach Barrels
April 29th – WBOC’s Delmarva Life – (Human Connection)
May 1st – Bourbon Street
May 8th – Coconut’s with Old School OC
May 20th- Beach Barrels (Human Connection)
May 22nd- Coconut’s with Old School OC
May 30th – Beach Barrels
June 5th- Bourbon Street (Open Jam)
June 26th- Coconut’s with Old School OC
July 1st – Beach Barrels
July 3rd – Bourbon Street
July 4th- Beach Barrels
July 23rd – Coconuts with Old School OC