Stillwater News Press

Arts & Entertainment

January 24, 2014

Cimarron songbird singing at concert series

Musician finds inspiration for songs 'all around me'

STILLWATER, Okla. — LOCAL MUSICIAN SPOTLIGHT

Name: Monica Taylor Johnson

Where from: Perkins, Oklahoma

Plays: As the Cimarron Songbird, she sings solo with acoustic guitar and in groups as the Cherokee Maidens including Jennifer Petterson and Robin Macy, founding member of the Dixie Chicks, and as the Monica Taylor Trio and Red Dirt Ramblers with Don Morris, Jared Tyler, Gene Williams, Nancy Kamm and others.

Year started: An Oklahoma farm girl, she became interested in singing old country tunes in middle school and realized someone put that together — the words and the music — so she began writing her own original songs. In college, she started picking more with local Red Dirt musicians around Oklahoma State University and debuted with Patrick Williams as the Farm Couple duo in 1996, collaborating together until 2008.

What kind of music: Her genre is hard to categorize but, when combined together, it’s Americana with a bent toward Red Dirt music — yet more folk roots oriented.

Favorite songs to play: She enjoys playing her own songs such as “Cotton Shirt – a real good moving song” and a new folk blues song, “Peaceful Evermore,” inspired by listening to an album by Sam Bush of New Grass Revival. She also loves to sing anything by John Hartford and Gordon Lightfoot.

Top notables: Garrison Keillor asked her to sing on his “Prairie Home Companion” radio show because of her unique singing style saying “Monica Taylor . . . a beautiful girl with a beautiful voice . . . singing a sweet, sad song that she wrote.” She has also recorded background vocals with Cross Canadian Ragweed, Bob Childers, Greg Jacobs, Tom Skinner and Don Morris who she performs with now. Monica recorded her latest CD “Cotton Shirt” in Tulsa at Soultree Studios with her longtime music friend and producer Jared Tyler, who plays dobro on all of her music and sings harmonies.

Favorite place to play: During the summer, she takes a mini tour to Montana, Wyoming, Idaho and the Great Northwest and plays with “a lot of really good pickers.” She loves to go out on the road and see favorite old places and take adventures to new places.

Artist quote: “I am known for my story telling — it’s part of my roots from the Cherokee and the Irish – always great story tellers. I find ideas all around me from old couples to dirt roads and fence posts. Songwriting is what the Valentine’s Showcase Feb. 15 is all about, too.”

HOW TO LISTEN

Where do we go to hear you next?

Saturday at 6:30 p.m., Oklahoma Territorial Plaza in Perkins

Feb. 1 at 7 p.m., Cushing Country Club in Cushing

Feb. 15 at 6:30 p.m., Old Church Center, 780 N. Main, in Perkins

Listen online and purchase CDs: monicataylormusic.com

Purchase CD’s in stores: Hastings, Hideaway, Daddy O’s in Stillwater and Sasser Antique Store in Perkins

To book: 405-612-3183 or mtaylorjok@yahoo.com

— Elizabeth Keys

 

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