Ever since I reviewed Taylor Tote’s eponymous EP back in 2015, she has continued to impress new fans and make great strides in the world of music. A native of Tinton Falls, NJ, Tote and her top-notch band have been taking the musical world by storm. Since I last covered her four-song project, Taylor has continued to perform many high-profile out of state shows including venues in NY, PA, MD, DE, TN, CA and potential upcoming shows to AZ and VA. Her audience continues to expand gaining exposure across the nation at each show.
Taylor has performed at the world’s most significant trade-only event for music products industry, NAMM, in both Nashville, TN and Anaheim, CA. This past Winter NAMM there was over 99,000 attendees from across the world. She performed at the 2017 Penn State THON for over 10,000 students and was recently named NYC Hard Rock Rising 2017 Division Champions.
Tote’s main influences include Amy Winehouse, Grace Potter, Adele, Maroon 5, Train, and Stevie Nicks. American Songwriter called Tote’s full-band performance as one of the highlights of the New Jersey Light of Day festival for her “wide, emotional vocal range and pop sensibilities.” The Asbury Park Press cites a “lilting twang in her voice that shades from corn-fed country to big pop and vampy jump blues.” I described Tote here at The Aquarian as an “artist that is dominating, empowering, strong, soft, sexy, and insanely fun. Her attitude and stage presence is smooth, sweet, and controlled. However, it can be flipped like a switch to a rock ‘n’ roll, hell-stomping diva. Her range is one of a rock ‘n’ roll vixen that will send your music senses on the ride of your life.”
Totes award-winning “Fighter” music video received three prestigious awards in 2017 from Garden State Film Festival, The Asbury Park Music and Film Festival and Los Angeles Movie Awards in Hollywood, CA. “Fighter” has had over 125,000 views and has been written up in numerous publications, including a national feature on Joan Lunden’s blog. The long-time host of Good Morning America called the song a “must download,” and Tote is even conscientious enough to contribute all proceeds from iTunes downloads to childhood cancer research through Infinite Love for Kids Fighting Cancer.
Between all the live work and videos that Tote handles, she also has found the time to work on new material with Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum engineer, and producer David Ivory. Ivory, who has worked with some of the music’s best performers such as Grammy-winning Halestorm, The Roots, Patti Labelle and much more. Ivory is in the process of getting ready to record a pair of live Taylor Tote band shows coming up in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
The band will also be utilizing the film crew of Right Stuff Studios (New Jersey) who will be on hand to capture performance and audience interaction with the group. Ivory will be putting the band through its paces on October 13 at the world-famous Stone Pony in Asbury Park and then at Puck, an intimate live music venue in Doylestown, PA on Oct. 21.
I had the recent opportunity to hear some of the new music, and while it is still unreleased, I can say that she is on the right track. Songs such as “Forever Young,” a mid-tempo country-flavored number featuring outstanding guitar work from Tom Briant. Clean and concise, his playing helps the song stand out in spades. Tote’s toned vocal skills are the guiding light on this sure fired hit and a highlight of what was sent to me. Other songs include “Plz Don’t Brk My Heart,” a poppy, jazzy feel over the top of Totes powerful pipes. Choruses pop where they should, as do the verse-work and bridges. Another song that is sure to turn heads and garner attention for the band.
They also sent me a song called “Mama.” Steeped in the traditions of R&B and blues, “Mama” lays in the pocket in just the right way. Tote and company prove they can rock ‘n’ roll but also find a different musical voice that works well for them in within a different format. Guitars are soulful and bark when needed. The middle-eight solo (performed by Tom Briant) is Clapton-inspired gold straight out of 1970. Drums and bass nail this bluesy gut-wrenching hit to the proverbial floor. The chorus for this song is my favorite out of all that I had the chance to listen to.
I can’t really discuss anything else about the yet to be titled record, but Taylor said songs would be unveiled at the live shows. The upcoming Stone Pony show will be a “hands-on” test of new material aimed at old and new fans alike. Tote utilizes a crack band of players which includes Tom Briant, Tote, Aaron Manzo, Anthony Flora and Nick Ryan.
Tickets for The Stone Pony show are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. There will be limited VIP tickets available for $40. That fee includes a meet-and-greet, a T-shirt, autographed poster and early entry. For advanced tickets and VIP packages contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Advanced tickets are also available at The Stone Pony Box Office.
The Doylestown, PA show will offer similar arrangements for the 10-21 date at Puck. For more information on Taylor Tote band, please go to their website, taylortote.com.