© 2018 The Grass Roots Cultural and Performing Arts Center

SONYA RAE TAYLOR

Sonya Rae Taylor has the Bonnie Raitt influence down pat. She's a gunslinger with a guitar and a smooth set of pipes to deliver some well written songs. The blues world embraced women at the front of the stage more as equals than intruders partly because were it not for women like Bessie Smith, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Elizabeth Cotton et. al., blues might still be simply something southern juke-joints blasted on Saturday nights. Those women were the first "celebrities" of blues music...they blazed the path. Sonya Rae is part of the next generation of powerful female front-women following in the footsteps of Ana Popovic, Samantha Fish, Cassie Taylor, Susan Tedeschi and a host of other accomplished guitarists but where she strays from that pack is the line drawn at "the blues." Sonya Rae Taylor wanders more into the pop world as a songwriter and musician as opposed to just staying in the "blues broad" lane. Her songs are more personal lyrically and a bit more adventurous when it comes to melodic structure than just 12 bars, shred, shred some more...boom! She CAN do that, rest assured, but this is more interesting to watch develop. It makes for a more diverse evening of music as well.

Armed with a stellar cast of musicians to accompany her, including partner Ryan Taylor on guitar, Jesse Williams on bass, Jordan Gravel on Hammond B3 and Wurli and Lee Fish on drums, Sonya Rae Taylor and her band rumbled through a set of cool originals and some very tasty covers ranging from a breezy tip of the cap to Lowell George on "Sailin' Shoes' to a beautifully arranged version of "Bennie and the Jets." Cover songs, for the sake of 'audience familiarity' is not their thing...re-interpreting classic songs can be a rough and tumble endeavor, always riding the line between cool and cheeze-whiz and often leaving the final judgement up to the listener, well...that takes skill. All in all, Sonya Rae Taylor is young, learning, skilled, dedicated and hard working with a hard emphasis on 'learning.' That's where Jesse Williams is such a prized musician, not only in this band, but in the Boston area in general...he's played with everyone and imparts professionalism, focus and wisdom from decades in the trenches on a host of young musicians he mentors in one way or another. Under his tutelage she will be a force to be reckoned with even more than she is now with a few more years under her belt. We were glad to have her and she delivered a really good night of music which, in the end, is what it's all about.
 

SONYA RAE TAYLOR BAND

Sonya Rae Taylor - guitar, vocals

Ryan Taylor - guitar

Jesse Williams - bass

Jordan Gravel - Hammond B3, Wurlitzer

Lee Fish - drums

Bethany Beatrice - backing vocals

The Session Crew

Produced and edited by:
Bill Hurley

Cameras:
Maribeth Arena

Bill Hurley
H. Nat Stevens
Joanne Craig

Audio:
Eric Nordstrom
Connor Quigley

Mixed by:
Connor Quigley

Lighting/Special Effects:
Rick Smith

Stage Production:
Gerry Earabino

Photos:
Dan Busler Photography