“Fifty years ago, James Taylor’s sister released her debut album, then promptly vanished from the scene. Now, decades after she traded rock stardom for life in a teepee, Kate Taylor is back.” —Rolling Stone
Kate Taylor, of the renowned Martha’s Vineyard via North Carolina musical clan that includes brothers James, Livingston, Alex and Hugh, is returning from a long hiatus with a new studio album, WHY WAIT!, which reunites her with many of the key players, including renowned session musicians Russ Kunkel, Danny Kortchmar, and Leland Skar, who backed her on her 1971 debut, SISTER KATE. Produced by music veteran Peter Asher, who was at the helm for the SISTER KATE sessions, the album marks the 50th anniversary of Kate’s foray into the music biz. The album will be released in late summer 2021 on Compass Records.
As on SISTER KATE, she covers some of her favorite songwriters and songs, including a version of her brother James’ “I Will Follow,” The Beatles’ “Good Day Sunshine” and Taj Mahal’s “He Caught the Katy,” the album’s lead-off single. Kate, who always had more of an R&B sound than her folk-leaning brothers James and Livingston, contributes two songs: the upbeat title track and “I Got a Message.” She also does a version of Little Feat’s “Long Distance Love” and the 1963 girl group hit by The Exciters, “Tell Him.”
If you haven’t heard much from Kate in the last half century, it’s because she gave up the rock life nearly as quickly as she started it, moving to Martha’s Vineyard where she married and raised her two children. They spent summers living in a tepee, later made jewelry from quahog shells and dug for scallops to earn a living, and lived a life out of the public eye.
The spark for this album was ignited at Kate’s 70th birthday party when her agent (who also manages Asher), brought up the fact that the key players who appeared on Sister Kate are still around and very active (most recently as members of The Immediate Family). Asher liked the idea and Kate was instantly on board, writing the title track and assembling a group of songs complemented by her bluesy, lived-in voice.
James Taylor told Rolling Stone: “For Kate to be doing this with Peter, and that both of them have this life experience that brings them back together, it’s really a moving thing. I think it’s so great that Kate will have this next iteration, you know, this next chance for people to hear her and pick up on her.”