Chip Taylor is a music legend. The American songwriter born James Wesley Voight is actor Jon Voight's younger brother and Angelina Jolie's uncle, but he's probably best known for writing the rock classic "Wild Thing." That song became monster hit for the Troggs in 1966 and was famously covered by the Jimi Hendrix Experience at the Monterey Pop Festival in the summer of '67. Taylor also penned "Angel In The Morning," a hit for Merrilee Rush in 1968, Juice Newton in 1981, and covered by the Pretenders in the '90s for the Friends soundtrack.
About this time you're probably thinking, "OK, but what does this grizzled old tunesmith have to do with new artists?" Rather than merely coast off his past glories and wait for his royalty checks to arrive in the mail, Taylor has dedicated his energy over the last decade to working with new artists. In 2001, he met fiddle-playing singer/songwriter Carrie Rodriguez at the South By Southwest festival in Austin, Texas. The pair went on to record several albums as a duo for Taylor's Train Wreck Records label and Taylor co-produced and wrote several of the songs on Seven Angels On A Bicycle, her 2006 solo debut.
Taylor's latest protégé is Kendel Carson, a 24-year-old singer/fiddle player from Canada, whose second album, Alright Dynamite, was recently released by Train Wreck. Check out her sizzling country soul in the video clip for "Belt Buckle," a track from Alright Dynamite, in which Carson seems as if she might be a wild thing.
In "Cowboy Boots," a melancholic number the album, Carson shows off her angelic voice and bittersweet fiddle playing. Look for a cameo in the video for the song by Taylor. He plays the mysterious stranger/stalker, who suggests she try on the black lace dress and leaves the shop with Carson only to get suckered into picking up the tab for several pairs of cowboy boots.
Lest anyone thinks that Carson is only capable of writing about belt buckles and cowboy boots, they should check out the song and video below for "I Don't Want To Live On A Street." While working on Alright Dynamite, Carson and Taylor wrote this song about the true story of a Polish immigrant named Robert Dziekanski, who traveled to North America in search of a better life. That dream turned into a nightmare when he became lost in the Vancouver airport and died after being tasered by police. The song didn't make the album, but Carson and Taylor released it with the accompanying video by the New York-based Bill Hurley. Watch the clip and look for Alright Dynamite. I think you'll agree that Carson is a talent well worth checking out.