Not too far down South Broadway lies Herman’s Hideaway, and on a beautiful 70-degree day in the month of February, nothing like a good show fits the mood of the city better. Jackson Taylor and the Sinners headlined a lush lineup of country-rock-punk and transported Denver to the world of Jack, and not just Jack Daniels.
By Veronica Lee
In the basement greenroom of the venue sits Jackson Taylor, though surrounded by people, he was in his own thoughts. Plucking away at the stings of the Gibson he’s been favoring lately, he dons the familiar brown leather boots and cowboy hat to match. Upstairs swirls couples on the dance floor and rowdy conversation over opening bands, but this doesn’t touch Taylor and his calm energy. He’s deep in thought and conversation, thinking back on the career that’s brought him to this moment.
Touring consistently, Taylor has lived in Highlands Ranch since 2009 but has spent 200 days of each year since then on the road. Loving the touring life over the last 15 years, countless cities and recollections of nights in hotels, this may actually be just the right time to slow things down a bit. It seems like an interesting choice for the artist who has released two albums in 2016, The Whiskey Sessions 10th Anniversary Edition as well as a brand new EP Which Way Is Up, which reached #47 on Billboard Country Album of 2016. And yet, this is exactly in alignment with his life path. Taking a step back, re-evaluating everything he thought was true and sure, and adjusting what needs to be tweaked. He tells stories of growing up, how his Dad encouraged him not to practice a particular faith or ideology, but to educate himself. A year was spent reading history books and traditional literature of theology, this is what shaped his concept of the world and how it works. It developed in him a sense of values and morals, or lack thereof even, and allowed him the freedom to discover what and who he is.
Taylor pursued the medical field originally, even going to college in Seattle to study medicine, but one day he found himself questioning if this was actually the right path. Originally intending to drive home during a break in classes, instead he found himself in New York and set forth on a journey of music and self-discovery. The lyrics of his music lead one’s imagination to walk that journey with him; songs of love and loss, whiskey and cocaine and even songs questioning and challenging the intentions of family and conversation. And, if that doesn’t give you enough insight to his thoughts, Twitter also lends a current platform that he often shares opinions and ideas much to the chagrin of some of his followers.
Viewed hypocritical, he can’t be boxed in to a neat category of a set of standard philosophies. An open-minded and progressive artist with liberal tendencies that identifies with conservative concepts. Just like the music he writes, nothing about him can be neatly categorized into something that’s easy to digest. A “bad boy” country star with a heart for humanity; is this a contradiction? Does he need to be one or the other? He was able to wipe the slate clean of an image from the past without anything more than an inkling that the trouble didn’t seem worth the consequences anymore. Is it supposed to be just that easy?
Being a rebel wasn’t serving him well anymore, and just like taking a detour from medical school, Taylor was ready to focus on other things. Slashing road time in half this coming year and spending time at home in Highlands Ranch so his wife (who is also manager, merchandise specialist and graphic designer for the band) can get her realtors license feels like the right next step. Planning and executing a marketing strategy so that the band is more purposeful in the next steps and direction it’s headed. Conversations of starting a new adventure in media is also in the works and Taylor seems excited about finding another adventure in exploration. These all don’t seem in alignment with the previous Jackson Taylor, but that’s the new detour.
Jackson Taylor and the Sinners show their veteran status in the music making business by continuously adapting and pursuing growth in more ways than just in their music. What an exciting and interesting time to be Taylor, and along with his band of Sinners, 2017 couldn’t look more promising.
SLIDESHOW COMING SOON!
Check out Archives of when Jackson Taylor & The Sinners played at Tailgate Tavern in Parker back in May 2014.