Everything Sundry talks with Taylor Pie about her Songswarm Vol 1 release

Posted by admin on 12th August 2017 in Uncategorized

EVERYTHING SUNDRY by Kathy Sands-Boehmer
Introducing you to all kinds of great music

Here’s a new musical term for you to learn today: Songswarm. Taylor Pie (born Susan Taylor) has helped to coin the phrase and has introduced many a fascinating show along with courageous musicians who have to play along with each and every song whether they’ve heard it or not. Taylor had led the life of a troubadour and has shared the stage with many great musicians. She was inducted into America’s Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame. But right now she’s introducing the world-at-large to the concept of songswarming with a new Puff Bunny record release.

For more information about Taylor and her songswarm buddies, check out this website.

Here’s a video of a songswarm with Taylor Pie, Jeff Plankenhorn, and Michael O’Connor. They’re playing Taylor’s song “Oh, Mandolin.”

For those who aren’t familiar with the concept, could you explain what a songswarm is?

A songswarm is improvisational performance art for songwriter performers who are willing, confident enough, and able to accompany fellow songwriter performers on each other’s original songs. I prefer to have a trio of participants…that gives everyone more songs and for me, there’s magic in the number 3.

Does a songswarm differ from a song swap? Is it more challenging when musicians are gently coerced into actually participating and playing on songs that they might not know?

A major difference between a songswarm and a song swap is that each songwriter MUST sing, play, tap, whistle, hum, whatever on everyone else’s songs. It is definitely a test of how quickly one can musically respond to what the ear is hearing, perhaps for the first time. It’s also a fun opportunity to stretch out and be inventive! I started guitar at 9 and began playing in the school band in sixth grade as a percussionist/drummer; sometimes I just reach for a shaker or harmonica out of my toy box that accompanies my guitar case when I travel.

What’s the genesis behind the creation of Songswarm, Volume 1?

I came up with the idea of “songswarm” as a way for songwriter performers to share their work with peers and audiences in a relaxed, fun and embracing atmosphere. I’ve never encountered an audience that didn’t seem to pull for the performers, knowing that they may be meeting for the first time, and may have never heard the song they are about to play. The listener support seems to inspire us performers to step out of our boxes and take chances with arrangements.


How did you come to choose the musicians on this album?

I chose them for their great songs, quality musicianship and because hanging out with each and every one of them is pure pleasure!

How long did it take you to put this collection together?

It was a couple of years collecting the recordings and another year to find the right producer engineer to help me mix and sequence the final product. Ren Renfree of AREN Creative filled that position beautifully! All together it took over four years to bring to fruition the final product.

Tell us a little about each one:

George Ensle: George is a consummate Texas songwriter performer and storyteller. The first time I heard him was at a SWRFA conference and I was an instant fan of his work. He’s also a tireless promoter and gracious songswarmer.

Michael O’Connor: Michael hails from Corpus Christi, TX and the first time I listened to him via his Devil Stole the Moon CD, I was hooked. I invited him to come play my house concert series and we’ve been friends ever since. His guitar playing is well known in Texas and his songs are unforgettable!

Greg Whitfield: Greg is first of all, one of the kindest humans I’ve ever met and has been a sought after studio musician for years in the Austin area. The quality of his songs and guitar work made him a natural songswarmer.

Jack Saunders: I met Jack while on the 2014 Songswarm Tour with Michael & Jeff and when George and I were organizing a few songswarms, Jack helped us book McGonigel’s Mucky Duck in Houston, and agreed to come on board as part of our trio for that event. His song, “This Highway,” is one of my favorites on the album.

Jeff Plankenhorn: Jeff is originally from Ohio, but has made his mark in the Austin music scene not only as a valued band member, but also as a solo performer. When I first heard him perform, “Trouble Find Me,” I knew I wanted a chance to sit next to him on stage someday. His performance on that song on Songswarm Vol 1, is my favorite version.

I understand that you’re already planning on a Volume 2! Care to spill the beans about that project?

Ren and I are currently mixing the Bugle Boy Songswarm with Michael, Jeff and me. PuffBunny will be releasing it as the followup to Songswarm Vol 1. It’s a bit different from Vol 1 which to me is like an album of hits! The next release will be more intimate and represent what it feels like to attend an evening of songswarming.

Now it’s time to talk about you and your fascinating musical history. How did growing up in East Texas influence your musical taste?

My mother had three sisters and they all sang. Harmony was a given because the church we attended didn’t use musical instruments, only voices. I was hearing four-part singing from the cradle on. Our family moved to the Tulsa, OK area my first grade year in school and at 9 I began guitar lessons with Dick Gordon. Dick put me on stage before I was 10 playing and singing my favorite Elvis songs. Back then radio wasn’t segregated, you would hear Dean Martin and then Chuck Berry followed by Doris Day! Perhaps that’s why I became so eclectic in my musical tastes which has always influenced my songwriting.

You were a founding member of the Pozo Seco Singers in the 1960s and had a hit record “Time” that charted for over a year. How much of an impact did that have on your life?

It changed my life forever. There I was a 19 year-old kid with a hit record. Not only that, but we ended up being managed by Albert Grossman who also managed Bob Dylan, Odetta, The Band, Janis Joplin, Richie Havens, and many more. It took me a few years to get my feet back on the ground.

You and bandmate, Don Williams, have been honored by country and traditional music associations because of your contributions to the music. When you were first starting out with Don way back in the 60s, did you ever imagine that you’d be honored in such a way several decades later?

Honestly? It never occurred to me. I just felt I’d found my place in the world of music and continued pursuing my quest to become a good song poet and musician.

What’s been the most rewarding facet of your storied career?

Meeting people via the traveling troubadour way of life. I’ve got friends all over the world now because of music.

When you’re not playing or listening to your friends playing music, what do you like to do?

I like to take walks along the creek where I live on a 20 acre, more or less, farm in the foothills of the Cumberland Mountains! In the summer, you’ll usually find me floating in the creek daydreaming. I’ve lived in the same house now for almost 30 years and love my community of transplants, farmers and neighbors.

Peace within,



Posted in Americana music, country music, Folk Music, live music, Old-time music, performance, singer-songwriter, traditional music and tagged Albert Grossman, Bob Dylan, Dick Gordon, Don Williams, George Ensle, Greg Whitfield, Jack Saunders, Janis Joplin, Jeff Plankenorn, Michael O’Connor, Odetta, Pozo Seco Singers, Richie Havens, songswarm, Taylor Pie on June 23, 2017.

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National Traditional Country Music Association inducts Taylor Pie into Hall of Fame

Posted by admin on 17th August 2015 in Uncategorized

National Traditional Country Music Assn.

P.O. Box 492, Anita, Iowa, 50020

712-762-4363       www.ntcma.net

April 20, 2015
Hello Pie:


As President of the National Traditional Country Music Association, it is my extreme pleasure to inform you that Jerre Haskew has nominated you to be inducted into America’s Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame.  The Board of Directors of the NTCMA have confirmed your nomination and induction.
Ceremonies will take place during the 40th Annual National Traditional Country/Bluegrass/Folk/Gospel Festival and Convention, held at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds in Le Mars, Iowa. Dates for this year’s event are August 31 through September 6, 2015.
After reviewing your credentials, I am personally very happy to see this take place. If you are able to be with us, you can select any day the festival is being held. Please take note that the event itself is an acoustic music event with some ten stages and over 600 acoustic music makers.  We will arrange an acoustic backing band and have a guitar standing by for you if you need one.
The National Traditional Country Music Association is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation devoted to the preservation, perpetuation, and performance of America’s older and more traditional and classic genres of music that might fall under the umbrella term, ‘country’ music.  We have been established since 1976.
Thank you Pie for your contributions to the music we care about, and if it be the case, thank you for allowing us to honor you with this award.
Bob Everhart, President since 1976

National Traditional Country Music Association


September 5th in LaMars, Iowa, I was inducted into the National Traditional Country Music Assn Hall of Fame, and performed on stage that evening with old friend Jerre Haskew, formerly of The Cumberland Trio, who received a Lifetime Achievement award from the association.  His wife, Barbara was with us to accept folk album of the year for the family’s “Songs From the Fiery Gizzard.”  What an honor on all fronts!

Women of Substance Radio selects “So Little Has Changed” for Americana playlist!!

Posted by admin on 21st April 2013 in Uncategorized

“So Little Has Changed”, was added to the playlist on the Americana segment each week, Oct.-Dec. 2012 on Women of Substance radio show! PuffBunny congratulates both Taylor Pie for being chosen by this wonderful online radio station and Woman of Substance for recognizing her depth and quality as a songpoet and PuffBunny recording artist. Their Americana show airs on Mondays from 3-4pm Pacific time and from 6-7pm Eastern time. Tune in and let them know of your support!

“The Music Never Dies” Les Marcott inView/Scene4 Magazine

Posted by admin on 17th January 2013 in Uncategorized

  Les Marcott

Taylor Pie – The Music Never Dies

inView/ Scene4  Magazine

The Pozo- Seco Singers were one of the groups I had a strong affinity for when I “discovered” folk music in the late 80’s, and early 90’s. Sure it was some twenty odd years after the great folk scare was over, but I was much too young to experience it first hand. And while punk and grunge may have been the predominate movements at the time, I felt more comfortable strapping on an acoustic guitar and wailing on my Hohner harmonica. (still do) I took it all in – from the protest music of Woody Guthrie, Phil Ochs, Pete Seeger, and early Bob Dylan to the traditional mountain music of the Carter Family, Doc Watson and on to the more introspective folk stylings of Tim Hardin, Fred Neil, Leonard Cohen, Ian and Sylvia, and Gordon Lightfoot. At about that same time, a New Folk Movement was brewing and featured a new breed of articulate folk artists like John Gorka, Shawn Colvin, Suzanne Vega, and Tracy Chapman. The faces may have changed, but the great folk tradition lived on.

I remember the first time I picked up a Pozo- Seco album. It was in one of those quaint little used record stores that don’t exist anymore. The cover comprised a photo of the trio that made up Pozo- Seco: Don Williams, Lofton Kline, and the fetching blonde in the center – Susan Taylor. As it turned out, Taylor had the heavenly voice to match the angelic visage. She teamed up with Williams and Kline in Corpus Christi, Texas in 1964 and helped propel the group to national fame. The song that provided the spark the group needed was Time, written by a wise beyond his years Michael Merchant. Merchant was a friend of Taylor’s and immediately impressed her with the words and melody. The song was a bittersweet rumination on what else…time. The song would rise to the top of the charts in the influential Los Angeles, Chicago and Boston radio markets. This success garnered attention from the promotion team at Columbia records. The trio were signed to a record deal and later managed by the legendary, influential folk impresario Albert Grossman. One cannot over-emphasize the importance of the Grossman connection. He did not waste his time on the untalented and the undedicated. His roster over time also included Dylan, Peter, Paul & Mary, Ian & Sylvia, Lightfoot, The Band, and Janis Joplin. Kline would later leave the group and was replaced by Ron Shaw (he of the Hillside Singers I’d Like to Teach The World To Sing fame).

The Pozos disbanded in 1970, but the individual members went on to productive musical endeavors. Williams catapulted to country music superstardom in the 70’s and 80’s. Kline and Shaw would stay engaged with musical projects. And Susan Taylor? Well, as it turns out, she didn’t do so shabby herself. Now performing as Taylor Pie (her friends just call her Pie), it seems the music never died. These days she is just as busy as she ever was. It was a thrill to catch up with her recently and discuss life after The Pozo-Seco Singers.

We started off by discussing the imminent release of Finally Getting Home on her own label Puff Bunny Records. Susan-Taylor-crIt’s a company started with the help of old high school chums Kathy Harrison, and Eben Wood. It was her first solo effort after the breakup of Pozo-Seco. Produced by the highly regarded Allen Reynolds, the album was originally released in 1972 but didn’t receive a fair shake due to disagreement about how to market it. It didn’t fit into a nice and neat category. Rooted in folk, the songs veer toward country, blues, and pop as well. We would call it Americana now but in 1972 that format didn’t exist. And back then radio was the be all and end all for a record’s success. What should have been one of the best albums of 1972 is poised to become one of the best albums of 2012. It sounds as fresh today as it did back forty years ago. Standout tracks include Looking Through The Looking Glass, Sand Mountain Blues, and a cover of Dolly Parton’s Blue Ridge Mountain Boy. It is with Blue Ridge Mountain Boy that Pie takes the song to a place where Parton was afraid to go. Ignoring an up-tempo shift in the middle of Parton’s version, Pie lays out that beautiful voice of hers and wrings out every bit of emotion laden in those heartbreaking lyrics. While Parton may have seen a sliver of hope, Pie makes no pretensions and that makes her version that much more powerful. Also coming in January is a rerelease of Pozo-Seco material called Shades of Time by Real Gone music.

It was about the time of the initial Finally Getting Home recording that Pie decided to head out for New York and began to hone her skills as a songwriter. She played at venerable folk clubs like Folk City and The Bottom Line. These clubs, essential to the spread of the earlier folk movement began to transition to singer/songwriter venues in the 70’s in order to survive. Pie told me the story about the night Bette Midler wandered into Folk City and heard her play. Pie offered to buy Midler a drink but Bette replied “I need to buy you a drink, this place is a dump”. By that time, Mike Porco who was always a champion of the folk crowd had allowed his establishment to become unkempt and dissolve into a sad state of disrepair. Midler would go on to use one of Pie’s songs in her Clams on the Half Shell Review.

In the 80’s Pie hung out with Arlo Guthrie and others ensconced in an energized folk scene happening in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts. She played there and made a decent living until that scene eventually fizzled out. But no matter where Pie called home, she always made it back to Nashville twice a year to write – often with Reynolds and Dickey Lee. Her songs were covered by popular country artists Mickey Gilley, Tanya Tucker, the Forester Sisters, John Conlee and her once former band mate Don Williams to name a few. In 1986, she bought a 20 acre farm in Liberty, Tennessee which she still calls home today. It is there that she presides as music director at the Liberty Arts Center where she is engaged in promoting house concerts. Visiting musicians play in an intimate setting that the center provides.

Once you talk to Taylor Pie, you can’t help but be impressed by her exuberance and positive vibe. That having been said, one cannot dismiss all of the hardships, disappointments, and frustration she has endured in a long career. Just some of the obstacles she encountered include: record and publishing deals promised but never materialized, being a woman and trying to break into the good ol’ boy 70’s Nashville songwriter’s clique, and staying true to her folk roots when going mainstream would have been more advantageous for her career. But through all of those trials and tribulations, Pie never gave up. It always came down to the music and that marvelous voice. And Pie made it clear to me that having Allen Reynolds in her corner as friend, mentor, and encourager didn’t hurt either. Perhaps one of the last true gentleman in the music business, he was an old school guy who could seal deals with just a handshake.

In order to get a glimpse into Pie’s songwriting process, I asked her about a song she had written and recorded in 2007 called So Little Has Changed. Written after watching a news report about war torn Afghanistan, the sentiments expressed hearken back to Pete Seeger’s classic anti-war song Where Have All The Flowers Gone. Within the song’s lyrics, Pie skillfully evokes the imagery of her father who was a distinguished WWII fighter pilot. Upon returning home, he threw all of his medals away becoming disheartened and disillusioned with what he had experienced in battle. As she so aptly puts it, they killed so many, we killed so many more. …So little has changed. As a writer of songs myself, I began to calculate in my mind the time and energy required to create such a brilliant song. I concluded that it evolved into a lengthy process perhaps requiring weeks. Pie disabused me of that conclusion almost immediately. “It basically wrote itself”, she replied. It was finished in most of one day.

I also asked Pie about the role social media has had on her career and music. Without hesitating she told me “It’s been a savior”. It has reinvigorated and rejuvenated a fan base that was always there but didn’t know where to find her. Now they know, and the response has been overwhelming. I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask her about the possibility of a Pozo-Seco reunion, but according to Pie that doesn’t appear to be in the offing anytime soon.

Sometimes success can’t be measured in purely monetary terms. It comes down to being able to do things on your own terms. And by that yardstick, Taylor Pie has been hugely successful. The music never dies.

December 2012

Lucky Boyd @ My Texas Music Review of “So Little Has Changed”

Posted by admin on 8th October 2012 in Uncategorized

©2007 Puff Bunny Records MTM267801
Review by Lucky Boyd, Co-Founder,  MyTexasMusic.com 

“Now and again, one can feel like a latecomer to the party.  It can be so obvious that something wonderful has been missed.  It might invoke the question, “Where have I been.”  And, while enlightening, it can be almost embarrassing that you didn’t arrive on time.  Take that feeling into listening to an album called SO LITTLE HAS CHANGED.  Realize now that the pickers on the album have been around long enough for you to know who they are.  You’ve probably even heard their work before, but yet, you might not know any of them by name.  Name or not, you will now know them by their music.  Their fearless leader, Taylor Pie, is not a newcomer to this scene.  None of the pickers are up-and-coming, guitar shredding, next-new-thing slingers, either.  No, this bunch has seen some great times in some great places and recorded with some great folks.  But now, here they are, together again, and guess what.. so little has changed.  Veterans for sure, but once you bite into this music, you will realize that Taylor Pie can hold her own vocally with anyone singing today.  She can stand lyrically next to any writer you can name, and these musicians, often with just ad lib noodles, have been able to record one of the most masterfully orchestrated studio pieces around.  I experienced the disc through headphones, which I might suggest, is an awesome way to listen to this record.  The engineering is genius through out, taking simple, tasteful performances and sitting you right in the middle of them.  Each instrumentation, each fill, each solo, is another object, seemingly floating at you as if in an underwater sea of beauty; methodical, enlivening, and perfect in form.  A good number of co-writes and covers are peppered in with Taylor Pie’s offerings, and the list of pickers is certainly known by those who know, but it’s time that music fans get a taste of what’s been behind the curtain for so long.  Introduce yourself to Taylor Pie.  Once you know that so little has changed, you will wish you had arrived at the party much earlier.”

Folk singer performs songs from the heart: Finger Lake Times

Posted by admin on 18th June 2011 in Uncategorized

Finger Lake Times

Folk singer performs songs from the heart

By Emily McFaul

Nashville-based folk star Taylor Pie will take the stage this week to sing not only beloved favorites, but also new songs from the heart with fellow folk singer and friend Jim Clare.

Clare, a Canandaigua resident, arranged the dates for Pie, whom he first heard in the 1960’s when she was performing with the Pozo-Seco Singers as Susan Taylor.  The group’s song, “Time,” a wistful ballad about the fleetingness of life, was a hit both in the Pozo’s hometown of Corpus Christi, Texas and at radio stations in major cities.

“They were a pretty well known group,” recalls Clare.

It was a song that Clare- a folk aficionado since college- often played with his friends in performances at bars and parties during their down time from Naval training near Corpus Christi.

“They sang all of our songs at beach parties,” says Pie, who connected with Clare a few years ago on Facebook.  “We might have even been partying next to each other on the beach!”

These days, Clare has returned to songwriting and performing, releasing an album called, “Old Empty Hall” in 2009.  Last year, he joined Pie for a gig in Pennsylvania, and he’s looking forward to performing with her again.

Not only is Pie an accomplished guitar finger-picker, says Clare, but her voice, songwriting skills and stage presence hit home with her audience.

“She has a very compelling voice and way of singing the songs,” says Clare.  “She has a real way of connecting with local folks.”

For her part- despite a busy schedule that includes a stop at WXXI for a chat with “Open Tuning” show host Scott Regan – Pie is hoping for a chance to sit down and collaborate with Clare.

I totally admire his songwriting style, because he’s a storyteller,” says Pie.  “For me, songs were always something that evolved from life itself, as we live it in the emotional body.  I don’t know how to write anything unless it comes from the heart – I have to feel the feeling first.”

For instance, Pie’s song, “When All That’s Left To Say is Good-bye,” grew out of watching a close friend die of cancer.  It took two years after her friend’s passing to be able to perform the song in public -but for Pie, putting her heart and soul into her work and her performances is a kind of emotional catharsis.

If I can write a song, then it’s like exorcising that feeling out of me,” she says.  “I can just move on.”

Fans are similarly touched by those heartfelt emotions – and another song Pie released in 2007 called, “So Little Has Changed,” also strikes a chord with many listeners.

While some label it an antiwar song, Pie likes to call it a peace song.  Inspired by the memory of her father, a decorated World War II pilot, telling her about the uselessness of war, the song came together when Pie saw a new report on yet another group of soldiers killed in Afghanistan.

“It took me back to the days of Vietnam, when I lost quite a few friends,” says Pie.  “And I thought, ‘Here we go again!  For all of our progress technologically, so little has changed.”

With a wellspring of emotions to draw from, and the music of antiwar folk songwriter Tom Paxton as inspiration, Pie says the song was an easy one to write.

“The words just came,” she recalls.  “The song just poured right out.”

Those catching one of Pie’s local performances can expect to hear some of her more recent songs, as well as several of Clare’s works.  His song “Old Empty Hall” actually pays tribute to one of the venues – Fatzinger Hall at the Waterloo Library, a well-known boyhood stop for Clare.

“The first thing I had in my little plastic alligator wallet was a Waterloo library card,” recalls Clare, who grew up on a farm in Waterloo that’s now the site of a housing development.

Of course, audience members can also expect to hear “Time,” still considered Pie’s biggest hit.

“They won’t let me get away with not singing it,” she laughs.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Taylor Pie joins other Texas artists for KFAN Radio’s Windows on Texas

Posted by admin on 21st January 2011 in Uncategorized

Taylor Pie performs for Texas Rebel Radio’s Windows on Texas 9th season!

Windows: Totally Texas    by Phil Houseal


What started as a spark of an idea in 2002 has become an event that lights up January with the blazing talent   of Texas music. This weekend marks the 9th season of Windows on Texas, a showcase for music that is totally Texas.

“This event is about and for music,” said Dawn Dale, Program Director of founding sponsor KFAN radio.      “It is supporting the Texas music industry, bringing independent Texas artists to the forefront. We go to great effort to bring in the music industry and     acquaint them with artists we believe in.”

Jayson and Jan Fritz of Fritz Broadcasting first put together the mid-winter event at the urging of Ernie Loeffler of the Fredericksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau. One original goal was to add an event to draw visitors to Fredericksburg during a traditionally slower time of year.

It has grown to include 17 musical acts performing at 10 venues over four nights, according to Dale. It is also more than that.

“The whole point with Windows is not that we are featuring bars; we are featuring everything Texas,” Dale said. “We are trying to highlight all of the beautiful industries of the area, as well as venues that support these artists.”

This year, some of those artists include Bad Rodeo (“We couldn’t be more excited about that one – those guys are incredible and they are a KFAN core artist”), Taylor Pie, Melissa Ludwig, and Charlie Montague.

Another goal is to put Texas artists in front of music promoters and record labels. According to Dale, this interaction has benefited both artist and the music business.

“Often, just our booking a group for Windows leads to activity before they get here. By July and August as we are beginning to release the names of people to be included, quite often the industry has reached out to these artists.”

So what exactly is Texas music?

Dale laughed and quoted the icon of Texas Music – Willie Nelson. “He said, it’s music out of Texas, then he shrugged and raised an eyebrow.”

Of course that now encompasses everything from country to blues, rock, swing, light jazz, and Americana. “We have something for everybody,” Dale said.

The event now also garners national attention. Texas music is hot everywhere, and Dale notes there are people from outside state of Texas who have made this their annual vacation past several years.

“They come seek us out,” she said.

Music fans are still surprised that every performance is free. This largesse is thanks to generous support from underwriters and sponsors.

“There are expenses, but everything is still free,” Dale confirmed. “That’s due to a huge thanks to our sponsors; without them we can’t do it. It has become a year round project.”

The “Fabulous Sunday Night Wrap-Up Show” will be held for the first time at The Crossroads in Fredericksburg, from 5-10pm. It features Elliot Park, Madison Monroe, and Bad Rodeo. It is also free, but due to the limited venue guests must pick up tickets at any of the other venues.

Dale urges music fans to get out to at least one of the Windows on Texas events.

“I think the Hill Country enjoys a tremendous opportunity to have music brought to them year round,” Dale said. “I really thank our fans for this being our ninth year. They fill every venue, and it is their enthusiasm and their energy that helps bring these artists who bless our lives every day.”

Jan 12, 2011