Thursday, February 5, 2009

It’s not often that you see a star on the rise. Sometimes you get lucky and you score $5 tickets to Riverstages where some guy named John Mayer performs at 2 pm on a Thursday for about 100 people. Or a friend drags you to the pre-preshow, in a venue parking lot no less, of a guy named Marc Broussard. But most of the time, the artists that you see are being shoved down your throat by a killer promotions team on super overdrive. (Think Katy Perry. We get it. You kissed a girl. You liked it. Now will you PLEASE stop talking about it?) You don’t know where they came from. You just know that they’re here.

But sometimes things align as they should and you have an “I remember when” moment with an artist. As in, “I remember when I saw John Mayer at Riverstages in Nashville before he was JOHN MAYER.” Last weekend I (Tia) had what was sure to be an “I remember when moment” when I saw Angel Taylor at Eddie’s Attic in Atlanta.

With the radio waves inundating us with songs about temporarily lesbians, divas, and womanizing, Angel Taylor is the breath of innocence that a lot of us need. A down to earth Cali girl, Angel sings songs with no pretense. There’s a realness about her and the songs that she sings that hasn’t been spoiled by the cynicisms of life. Every song is a mini-biography, a glimpse into the life of a normal girl who’s had normal love, normal heartaches, and normal healing. And while you may think that all of this normalcy would be boring, it is instead the opposite. It is, in fact, endearing. You want to root for her as she tells the story of being courageous enough to talk to the “beautiful boy.” And you ache a little when he doesn't even acknowledge her. You cheer for her when, years later, he asks for her number. And you’re happy that she’s found her “Mr. Perfect.”

Her authenticity comes across in word and song. The stories that she tells before the songs are almost as good as the songs themselves. Angel has managed to do what a lot of people can’t: she draws you in before AND during the song. You almost forget that she’s performing. It’s as if your best friend wrote the soundtrack to your life. But instead of the awkwardness that sometimes comes with self-revelation there’s a camaraderie that develops because, hey, you’ve been there too.

Angel is currently on tour with Brett Dennen. Her EP is available through iTunes. And the full cd is set to release April 7. She is without question worth the price of admission. And she will definitely have you saying, “I remember when I saw Angel Taylor before she was ANGEL TAYLOR.”

And Angel, if you’re reading, my Josh’s name was Caleb.

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