Early on, in a house full of talented musicians, Livingston Taylor discovered he had the knack for making people laugh. Anyone who has ever seen Taylor in concert can attest to the fact that he is thoroughly at home on any stage, from a classroom to a music club to a grand concert hall. Taylor wows the audience with his quizzical gazes and playful humor as he accompanies himself on acoustic guitar, piano, and banjo.
"Because I play acoustic instruments, it's easy to call me a folk singer," says Taylor at his home outside of Boston, where he lives with his wife and business manager Maggie. "But what I actually am is a pop musician and entertainer -- and I'm here to entertain," he says with a broad smile and twinkling eyes. "For some reason I'm funny. I don't know why. When I'm on stage, people laugh. I like making people feel good."
The second most well-known of the five Taylor children, Livingston was born in Boston and grew up in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. His father, Isaac, a physician, was dean of the medical school at the University of North Carolina. His mother Trudy was a classical singer who trained at the Music Conservatory of Boston.
The Taylor parents listened to Broadway show tunes, while their eldest son Alex introduced brothers James, Liv, and Hugh and sister Kate to '50s rock 'n roll and rhythm and blues. Alex and James fronted a group called the Corsairs that played fraternity parties in their hometown. None of the Taylor kids attended college, electing instead to pursue their own individual musical careers.
Liv Taylor's musical education began at age 13. "Both Alex and James were influential in my becoming a musician," explains Taylor. "They proved to me you could get paid for playing music. James was my first guitar teacher, though he was kind of reluctant. After a while of my playing something wrong, he would be driven so crazy he would show me how to do it right." After high school, Taylor headed to Boston where his formative years included gigs in coffeehouses, bars, and lounges.
Kid brother of a pop music icon is a road that few have navigated well. To his credit, Taylor has worked hard to carve out his own identity. He has won several awards from ASCAP for his songwriting over a career that spans 30 years and a dozen albums. In addition, he has received a Boston Music Award for Outstanding Folk/Acoustic Act.
Taylor's albums on the Chesky label, Good Friends (JD97), Bicycle (COCO147), and Ink (JD162) deliver not only some of his best songs, but several pop standards such as "Never Can Say Goodbye" and "Isn't She Lovely." Under Taylor's light touch, these songs reveal themselves as the gems they are, and his original tunes are perfect complements.
In addition to his busy performance schedule, Taylor teaches a Stage Performance course at Boston's Berklee College of Music. There, he shares his love of music and offers advice on everything from life on the road to dealing with hecklers. "I tell them your audience is the only reason for being on stage. I am concentrating on the audience all the time. Your music means nothing, except as it reaches an audience."
"Here's an acoustic treat from the other Taylor still active in pop music, It's easy listening and instantly creates a homey place to which we all return for sanity and shelter from the lyrically provoking." - Gavin, July 1996