The last time Eric Taylor played in Belfast he was the opening act for Guy Clark at the Elmwood Hall. Those who were there will recall that he received a standing ovation from the crowd. Not the normal response associated with being a support artist.
Eric Taylor was born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1950. Throughout his High School years he played bass in numerous bands working the colleges and fraternity houses. "We would do a set of soul and rhythm and blues music, then a set of white boy music." As his teen years came to an end Eric headed for a life on the road.
"Living Legend" is an overworked cliche in the music business, but in the case of Eric Taylor, the description actually fits. For over two decades he's been known as one of the finest singer-songwriters to emerge from Texas and his presence and influence have left their mark.
Emerging from Houston's folk scene of the 70's along with Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt and Jerry Jeff Walker, Taylor has influenced such artists as Nanci Griffith and Lyle Lovett. Eric was married to Griffith and for a long time worked as a member of her band and produced her second album "Poet In My Window". Both Lovett and Griffith have repaid this influence by performing and recording Eric's songs. June Tabor and Joan Baez also rank among Eric's fans having both recorded his songs.
Perhaps surprisingly for someone who is held in such high regard, Eric Taylor has only released three albums, his 1982 debut "Shameless Love" did not have an immediate follow up as Eric, on the eve of his first European tour in 1984, entered a rehabilitation programme. In the years that followed Eric worked in a halfway house as a counsellor while studying for a professional qualification.
Eric Taylor's most recent release "Resurrect" was released in 1998. Showcasing eleven new songs, this album like it's predecessor was recorded in Houston with a small group of top-drawer players, allowing the narrative of the songs to come through.
"Eric Taylor - a very gifted songwriter. It was a high point for me performing with him at the Newport Festival. Hope to work with him more." - Joan Baez
"I'm always the opening act when I'm around Eric. I love his voice, and he has a great narrative quality and sense of detail. It's good writing, no matter how you cut it, like Springsteen on Nebraska." - Lyle Lovett
"Eric Taylor's work always garners praise from me. Resurrect is eleven songs of marvellous integrity in timeless storytelling." - Nanci Griffith
"Eric Taylor, a big man with a bigger talent." - The New York Post