Meagan Taylor: Keeping Chet’s Music Alive

Discussion in 'Fred's Barcalounge' started by Synchro, Oct 10, 2021.

  1. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Tucson
    Admin Post
    Meagan Taylor is, as I understand it, Chet Atkins’ Great Niece, and has caught my attention after seeing a YouTube video of her performing. Now, the world is full of people that play Chet’s style, including yours truly, but Meagan Taylor strikes me as having an attribute to her playing that is not all that common among Chet pickers; she has the evenness that her Great Uncle had.

    Chet always came across as being in absolute control of his guitar and the sound coming therefrom, and I always felt that contributed greatly to his appeal, as a player. Meagan Taylor has this same control and it sets her apart.

    I also noticed that when she was playing, there was a look of concentration on her face that makes it apparent that she is 100% mentally present when she plays. I came away with the impression that she has a deep understanding of what she is playing, and is not merely copying the playing, but also has the comprehension of how and why these arrangements work.

    She has recorded with Jason Coleman, who is Floyd Cramer’s grandson. I guess this prove that lightning can strike twice, because the pairing works just as well for their generation as it did when Chet and Floyd were making music, back in the ‘60s.

    Just to make it more amazing, she has three children to care for, so it’s not like she can spend her every moment practicing. I was really pleased to discover that there is a member of Chet’s family that is following in his footsteps. Judging by her playing and the expression on her face when plays, it seems likely that she would be an interesting player to talk to.
     
  2. Mogg

    Mogg Electromatic

    15
    Apr 9, 2016
    UK
    Meagan's Facebook channel is the very definition of wholesome family entertainment - picking parties from the back porch, behind the scenes clips of work in the studio, her kids front & centre getting involved in the whole musical process, and an impressive roster of guest musicians & pickers. It's extremely refreshing. If you can tolerate the fact it's hosted on Facebook ;)

    I see what you mean about her playing - very smooth, relaxed and in complete command, just like her uncle. I'm sure he's looking down, very proud.
     
    Jeff67 likes this.
  3. thunder58

    thunder58 Super Moderator Staff Member

    Age:
    62
    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
    Admin Post
    Just watched a few videos of her playing , fantastic
     
  4. nasonm

    nasonm Gretschie

    480
    Nov 3, 2010
    New England, USA
    I've enjoyed her music since I first heard her album with Jason.

    There's a bunch of great young Chet-style players including Bella Speelman and Katelyn Prieboy.
     
  5. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Tucson
    Admin Post
    5-6 years ago, I got to spend some time with Bella Speelman, at a friend’s music store in metro Denver. I think that she was about 16 years old at a time. Her playing was quite impressive, and she was very open to learning. She seemed to be very dedicated and full of good ideas.
     
  6. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Tucson
    Admin Post
    That’s interesting. Chet always struck me as a very down to earth person whom just happened to be Mr. Guitar. That was my impression of him when I was a kid, and now having spoken to a number of people that had met him, or even worked with him, that impression appears to be completely validated. He was the real thing.

    Chet didn’t seek adulation and didn’t want a fan club. He would participate in the Chet Atkins Appreciation Society events, so you could rub elbows with Chet. He was very gracious to the people who took the time to show their appreciation. He was very humble and, while he acknowledged that he had played a role in developing his style, he never came across as arrogant.

    Watching Meagan Taylor play, I came away with the impression that she is sincere and down to earth. Actually, that impressed me every bit as much as her playing. For me, music is at its best when it brings people together, and her approach strikes me as epitomizing this. When she did that set with Katelyn Prieboy, she was gracious, welcoming and free with her compliments.

    To my mind, this is the power of music. It converts strangers into friends. It bridges cultural backgrounds and generations. It’s a dimension of social interaction that functions on many levels.

    Music brings listeners together and creates shared experience. Generations of young people formed bonds, because in many places, there were limited numbers of AM stations to hear, and the young people of a given town were likely listening to the same songs, at the same time.

    But there’s another level on which music functions as a social bonding agent. Just as listening can be a shared experience, playing music is a shared experience and can form very strong bonds. A couple of weeks ago, an old friend (who was also one of my instructors) and I spent several hours on the phone, trading ideas and basically just hanging out with our guitars, just like we did 40+ years ago.

    Playing music, and facing the same musical challenges brings people together. I’ve played music with any number of people over the years, and those bonds remain. I have fond memories of students and really enjoy hearing a student that has learned to express themselves musically. This is the adhesive which binds us, as a community, here are G-T.

    I appreciate Meagan Taylor’s playing, but I also appreciate that she understands the significance of her Great Uncle’s music. It looks like Chet’s music is safe for at least another generation.
     
    ishtar likes this.
  7. Archtops

    Archtops Country Gent

    Mar 4, 2021
    SoCal
    Big Chet fan. I will have to check her out. Thanks!
     
  8. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Tucson
    Admin Post
    I’m not much of a Facebook guy, but her page is indeed, extremely refreshing.

    Chet’s music wouldn’t have been the same if he had the personality of Nigel Tufnel; it was the whole package that made work. Chet had a serene beauty to his playing that came from his understated personality. He was soft spoken, but worth listening to, and that was reflected in his music.

    The same holds true for Meagan Taylor. She’s got the music, but everything on her Facebook page tells me that this music is an extension of who she is. To expand upon on earlier comment I made, she doesn’t simply copy Chet’s playing, she a seems to connect with the music at a deeper level. Seeing pictures of her kids, whom she obviously loves, her husband, and even her famous uncle, really adds to all of this.

    I’ve been a fan of Chet, and of various Jazz guitarists almost all of my life. Among all of the famed Jazz players, I always admired Tal Farlow, because he managed to live a normal life, yet still kept up his playing. Even though Tal had played with such greats as Red Norvo and had a Gibson signature model, he spent much of his life working as a sign painter, and playing gigs on weekends. He lived in Seabright, NJ, where the Manhattan skyline was visible on a clear day, but far enough away that he could live a small town life.

    Some Jazz fans were puzzled by this, and there were calls for Tal to return to the limelight, but Tal himself knew what he wanted from life and insisted upon keeping control of his career, as opposed to having his music career control the rest of his life. He recorded and released the occasional album, played gigs as he saw fit and painted signs. He was a frighteningly good player, but chose to make his day-to-day living as a skilled tradesman, and kept music as a sideline.

    While Chet Atkins was a major artist, he too, had a day job, albeit as a producer for RCA, holding the position as Vice President of A&R for their Nashville presence. Chet had a home, a family and a job that anchored him in Nashville, and played concerts on the side. He had found his balance between his music and the rest of life.

    Seeing this young lady post pictures of her family and parts of her life that go beyond music gives me the impression that she, too, has found a balance which allows her to be true to her music, while maintaining the rest of her life.

    This is an issue which is close to my heart. In my early 20s, I wanted to be a professional musician, but found that I didn’t care for the life. I hated playing bars and didn’t care for the late hours required. While my musical skills were at their best, I felt that everything else in my life was suffering for the sake of my music. The question became one of finding a way to retain my musical skills while finding a way to make a living that was compatible with being a serious player. I left music as a business and didn’t look back.

    I’ve been known to take on the occasional student since then and I play gigs occasionally. My skills are different than they were, back in those days. I’ve developed as a musician since then and have become much more versatile than I was in my “pro” days. I’ve lost a bit of the edge I had back when I had a guitar in my hands several hours a day, but I can easily recapture it if I woodshed for a while.

    Music can be a wonderful addition to one’s life, or it can detract from one’s life. Everyone has to find the balance which works for them. It’s nice to see that it’s possible for someone to have a good family life and a good musical life, without sacrificing the quality of either aspect of life.
     
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