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Byron Keith Taylor: News and Forum

Update - February 12, 2016

Hi guys! It looks like my recording date has been pushed up a week later, but the new CD is definitely happening! Please keep coming back for further updates and a new entry is coming to the Fiction page very soon!:)BKT

Back In The Saddle Again - January 30, 2016

Hey there! Thank you for all of your support for my CD, "The Raven Trail." It is still available here or on Apple iTunes for purchase and review. I go back to the studio on March 3rd to start the follow-up CD, "Tales from Worldhaven." Hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will return soon with more Fiction to read and stories to share!:)BKT

Happy Holidays! - December 25, 2015

Merry Xmas to all of you and your families! BKT:)

Update - November 27, 2015

Hi! I hope everyone here had a great Thanksgiving! The music for the new CD is almost finished as far as the writing. I will still heavily promote "The Raven Trail" in the meantime:). Keep coming back for more updates! BKT:)

Writing New Material - November 3, 2015

As a writer, it is always imperative to stay fresh and keep busy. I'm writing new material for an EP I plan to release sometime next year so keep coming back for more info, surprises, and more original fiction in the SHORT STORIES section. Take care!:)BKT  

Spongy - October 16, 2015

Hello. Today is a very sad day for me because I just came from the vet with a heavy heart because my cat, Spongy, whom I've had for nine glorious years, just passed away this morning. The only comfort I have is that he is no longer suffering from his affliction. He was a dear friend, family member, and loving companion. He would sit on my lap while I was at the keyboard writing music and was always close by whenever I was in front of my laptop writing my stories and novels. I'm back home now and it seems emptier. He is in my Photo Gallery, so please take a look at this beautiful Mainecoon cat who gave me so many years of joy and love.Spongy will always be in my heart and mind forever. I miss him terrribly. BKT:(

Here's the Article! - October 14, 2015

Hello! I decided to show you the article that the Clinton Chronicle newspaper wrote about me and my latest efforts:

Byron Keith Taylor's Latest CD

Catching Up With A Busy Hell's Kitchen Artist

By Spoons, Saloon Columnist

Not long ago, back in the dog days of summer, I needed a quick cold one so I popped into Rudy's Bar and Grill at 44th and 9th, I mean, where else can you get a cold, refreshing Bud for just $3?

As I evaded the onset of heat prostration, I saw a familiar face at the bar, deep in conversation with several other people. Could it be? Was that...Byron? Yes it was and we greeted each other warmly. Had it really been over TEN YEARS since we wrote about Byron here in Clinton Chronicle? Yup! "So, uh, what you been up to?" I asked... "Not much,Byron said. "I just received my third Master's degree, which is in English and Creative Writing, from Southern New Hampshire University.I want to go for my PhD starting next year as well." 

"And you?" Byron asked. But your MUSIC, I said deftly changing the subject...I asked Byron about his music. Since Byron is a well-known Hell's Kitchen performer, he has been writing songs since the age of 12, I asked if anything was happening there.

And that's when I learned about the new CD "The Raven Trail." It sounded great! So I asked Byron to send me some info for the readers. Here's a rundown of the tracks:

(1) Beautiful: This song was written a few years ago as a homage to a man loving a woman without any hidden agendas or schemes. I wanted the song structure to be simple and the lyrics direct and concise.

(2) I Need You Now: I wrote this song when I was just 15 years old. Just like "Beautiful," I played all of the instruments on this one. In fact, I sang all of the vocals and arranged and produced every track on the entire EP.

(3) Come with Me: This song was fun to write and record. It's what I call Wagnerian Pop because the story is inspired by the Flying Dutchman legend where a sailor is doomed for eternity to roam the seas until he finds a woman who is willing to love him forever.I'm often inspired by myths and legends in my work.My first CD, "Castle of Dreams," was inspired by Arthurian legends and archetypes.

(4) Promises: This song is derived from the basic narrative of the second book I wrote which bears the same name as the title of the CD, "The Raven Trail,"which is the story of an African-American male who was raised by Cherokee Indians to become one of the last great chiefs during the latter part of the 19th century. it was an idea I had after reading the book, "Black Indians" by William Loren Katz. One of the great missing chapters in American history is the close relationship between African-Americans and Native Americans especially during the post Civil War years and this is my way of respecting that often-ignored fact.

(5) The Raven Trail: I'm very proud of this song because it's what prompted me to write the novel about my fictional character, Raven, or Kaw La Na (in Cherokee). It's unique in my catalogue of songs because the verse part is in 3/4 while the chorus part is in 4/4 time signature.

Bonus Tracks:

(1) The Little Things: Inspired by the book "Don't Sweat The Small Stuff" by Richard Carlson. (2) Christine Marie: Written for my girlfriend's recent birthday and is a sneak peek for the next project I plan to work on next year.

For info on this CD and everything else this human dynamo does, go to http://www.byronkeithtaylor.com. The visit will be rewarding!

I hope that you agree with him that my site is rewarding and I hope you come back for more music, fiction, and news!BKT:)

The Clinton Chronicle - October 10, 2015

Hello! I'm honored and privileged to be featured in NYC's Hell Kitchen paper, The Clinton Chronicle, this month! I will upload the article for those outside of the NYC area to read.Keep coming back for an update!:)BKT

The Raven Trail Novella - September 27, 2015

Hey guys! My last entry was about the mythology behind the CD, but what about the book I wrote with the same name? As far as I'm concerned, the novella is a natural extension of the song and CD because I felt that more background was necessary for my fictional characters. The Raven, or Kaw La Na as he was called in actual Cherokee, was an African-American man who was raised by Cherokee Indians from my made-up Yona(Bear) tribe. This group originated from the tribe that avoided the Indian Removal in the 1830's and was led by the legendary leader, Yonaguska, head of the Eastern Band of Indians. Yonaguska actually existed and led the North Carolina Cherokee who evaded US soldiers.My fictionalization is from the first four letters of his name and I made it into a tribe that followed his legacy. My Raven character's father was named Chinmay, which in Cherokee, means wisdom. He was mentioned a few times in the song but never by name. Maybe in the back of my mind, I did that on purpose because I wanted people to find out more about the characters in another form. In the book, Raven, like his foster father, received a Christian education from an Irish priest, Father Doyle, who traveled to Indian reservations to spread the gospel. Doyle's name comes from an author whom I admire, Roddy Doyle, who wrote the Barrytown Trilogy of books which include "The Commitments." (which, of course, was made into a popular movie). There are other real life characters that show up in the book like Senator Dawes who was famous for the Dawes Act of 1887 (the year in which my story takes place) that offered Indians US citizenship if they renounced their tribes and accept assimilation into modern society, and Bass Reeves, possibly the first African-American sheriff and perhaps the finest lawman ever.Then, of course, the book talks about the real premise of the Raven's Trail, which is t protect the lost treasure from one of Columbus' ships (actually, one of his famous ships did sink during a voyage).Well, I hope that you enjoyed my blog. If you did, please check out some of the chapters from my book that I would like to be published in the near future in the SHORT STORIES section of this website. thanks for reading!:) BKT

The Mythology behind "The Raven Trail" - September 26, 2015

Hello everyone! I decided to re-post an entry I made a while ago which helps explain the genesis of my current project since many people ask me about the true meaning of the songs, so here goes:

I thought I'd take this moment and share with you some of the background behind the songs on my new EP, The Raven Trail. The first two songs, Beautiful and I Need You Now are simple, basic love songs that I have had in my 400+ song catalog that I have written over the years. I was happy to dust them off and breathe new life into them for this project.

As for the third song, Come With Me, it is the direct product of my desire to write a song that is loosely based upon the Flying Dutchman legend. I'm a huge Wagner fan (the music, not the man) and I've always loved Der Fliegender Hollander (The Flying Dutchman in German) as an opera. it was the true beginning of Wagner's maturation as a composer and the music is simply beautiful. I was introduced to it while I was studying composition and orchestration under my great teacher and former Nadia Boulanger student, Thea Musgrave, who is very well-known in today's Classical music world.

Anyway, I've always wanted to write a Pop song that was based upon the Dutchman, so I wrote a new version of the legend where a magician actually placed a curse upon the sailor because of an indiscretion with his wife, so he was doomed to sail aimlessly on the oceans of the world until he learned the true meaning of love. Since I also write fantasy novels, it was a natural transition for me to construct a story for the song which leads me to the remaining two songs, Promises and The Raven Trail.

I wrote the title song first (which started the whole project) after talking to someone about how I wanted to write a song about the connection between African-Americans and Native Americans well after the Civil War in America. Then, as if it were God-sent (which I believe it was), I heard the first verses in my head and immediately wrote them down. I went home and finished the entire song in 20 minutes. Talk about inspiration! I wound up creating the Raven character as a personification of my idea and crafted this story around him as a Black child raised by Indians. I was so inspired by the song that I decided to take it a step further and wrote a novel with the same title. Currently, I'm revising it for a final draft (if there ever is such a thing in writing fiction :)).

Finally, the song, Promises, is a direct musical representation of a scene from the novel where Kaw La Na (which means Raven in Cherokee) is making a speech to a tribe for more unity. The Raven in Native American folklore  is a powerful symbol. It is a bird that stands for metamorphosis and self-revelation. My character in both the songs and the upcoming book stands for the same things. Please feel free to comment on anything I have said in this post; I welcome your input and thanks for letting me share with you my vision:) BKT

Happy Labor Day! - September 7, 2015

I want to wish everyone a happy Labor Day and keep coming back because I have quite a few things up my sleeve!:)

The Fiction Page - July 19, 2015

Hey gang! While I work on the few surprises I have in store, please don't forget the SHORT STORIES section in the site where I have excerpts from novels I have written as well as, well, short stories!:) There are, for example, samples from my book, "The Raven Trail," which were initially inspired by the song of the same name, so check it out!:)BKT

A few surprises in the works - June 23, 2015

Hello everyone! Thanks for visiting my site again; I have a few surprises to unleash in the coming weeks, so stick around!They're going to be fun!BKT:)

Christine Marie - June 16, 2015

Hey folks! As promised, I've included a new song. It's called "Christine Marie," and it's named after my girlfriend who just celebrated her birthday. You can go to the Music page and check it out. I hope you like it!:)BKT

Does any artist truly like getting reviewed? - June 16, 2015

I read my first review of my CD, "The Raven Trail," and of course, I have mixed feelings. Of course, it is probably any artist's wish for people to like everything that is in one's work, but that is, unfortunately, an impossible task. I smiled and winced at some of the things that were said about my music (even though the CD can be considered a past work since it was released last year) and it only reminded me that I consider songs to be my children especially since I don't have any biological ones of my own. Overall, I was pleased with the review which stated that there was some good writing, production, and musicianship all around. As for new material, I have a treat for you who have stuck with me through thick and thin: I wrote a new song for my girlfriend's birthday and I will include it in the website very soon. It's the beginning of a new project that I will be working on throughout the year into the next one and it will be unlike anything I've ever done before. Most of the music is already written.For the current CD, check out the review with this link: http://skopemag.com/2015/06/08/byron-keith-taylor-the-raven-trail-ep-review.

New Chapter in the Fiction page - May 24, 2015

Hello! I've just added Chapter 3 from my novella, "The Raven Trail," to the SHORT STORIES section of my website. I hope you enjoy it!:)BKT

Returning to New York - May 15, 2015

Hi folks! I'm just having a blast in Germany singing, performing, and of course drinking plenty of beer! I'll be back in the States by next Tuesday, so look for more content, stories, and surprises!:)BKT

Partnership with Skope Magazine - May 2, 2015

Hello Ravenites! I have some exciting news! I'm partnering with the e-mag Skope Magazine for an aggressive campaign for my EP, "The Raven Trail," so keep coming back for more news and updates! Also, thanks must go to the readers of my Fiction page which contains my short stories and excerpts from my second novel, "The Raven Trail." There will be another chapter coming very soon!:)BKT

Heading to Germany - May 1, 2015

Hello! I've been so busy lately planning my activities and getting ready for my trip to Germany. I love going there because  of the friendly people, lovely sights, and of course, the beer!:) Keep coming back for more info about the promo drive for "The Raven Trail," more chapters from the book I wrote with the same title, and a few surprises!:)BKT 

The Raven Trail Novella- Chapter 2 - April 7, 2015

Hi gang! while I'm gearing up for what's ahead for me this year, I thought I would share with you another excerpt from the novella I wrote that shares the name of my latest CD, "The Raven Trail." Just go to the SHORT STORIES section and check it out!:)BKT

Not an April Fool's Joke - March 31, 2015

Hi Ravenites!  This is not an upcoming April Fool's joke; effective tomorrow, I will graduate with my THIRD Master's degree! It's an MA in English and Creative Writing:). In addition to working on my new EP, The Raven Trail, I studied online like a maniac trying to become a better writer, so now I'm getting this degree!:) April is my birthday month, so this is a very special time for me; come back for more news! Chapter 2 of "The Raven Trail" book is coming exclusively here very soon!:)BKT

Never Giving Up... - March 29, 2015

Hi gang! I have bittersweet feelings at the moment. I was being considered for a nomination for the 24th Annual Independent Music Awards, but unfortunately, I didn't get it. Oh well. There's always next year!:) Anyway, there are other developments in the works as well as new stories and poems I'm working on for the SHORT STORIES section, so keep coming back!:)BKT

Skope Magazine - March 24, 2015

Hey gang! I'm happy to report that a popular e-magazine, Skopemag.com, will feature my music on what they call Skope Radio which is an internet radio station for independent artists! I'm honored and thrilled. The song, "I Need You Now", will be in rotation there, so check it out! BKT:)

Submissions - March 23, 2015

Hey folks! I've been busy sending the new CD to Internet radio stations and e-magazines for review, so come back for more info regarding my release"The Raven Trail"! In addition, keep your eyes peeled for a new entry in my SHORT STORIES section: Music and Fiction are related after all!:)BKT

Bass Reeves: An Unsung American Hero - March 15, 2015

Hello! Thanks for coming back to my website. For those who have come to my sight before, you know that my new CD, The Raven Trail, is inspired by a fictional character I created who lived in the latter part of the 19th Century in the  American Wild West. This week's entry, which can be found in my SHORT STORIES section, is about a man that actually existed named Bass Reeves. It is unfortunate that many people have never heard of him, but he was the first African American appointed as a sheriff in the West. I wrote a short story that is loosely based upon one of his many adventures. It is also a little known fact that his arrest record FAR EXCEEDED Wyatt Earp's with over 5,000 fugitives apprehended. Also, he rode a white horse at times, had an Indian scout, wore disguises, and left behind silver coins as his trademark. Sound familiar? Most historians and scholars agree that he may very well be the prototype and inspiration for the fictional character, The Lone Ranger! Mr. Reeves was also an expert shot and spoke many Indian dialects. One of these days, I will write a song about him, but for now, I've included an original story in tribute to this extraordinary individual who not only deserves a well-made movie about his life, but far more public exposure. Once again, check out the story in the SHORT STORIES section! BKT :)

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