I just met someone who thought what I do is some kind of paid hobby, just a bit of fun… so I need to explain something about how my life as a musician really works and what music means to me in a deeper way….
I’ve been playing the guitar for 53 years, I’ve been playing professionally for 40 years. As a child, music was the only thing I understood and could relate to. I didn’t understand anything else except music. As a child people used to talk to me and I couldn’t understand what they were saying, I couldn’t understand the words, it sounded like a strange foreign language to me, but I totally understood music when I heard it. I thought in sounds and music, not words… and still do. I immediately wanted to start playing music as it was the only means of communication for me.
I was fortunate that my father was a musician, he encouraged me in my love of music.
I left school when I was 15. Having no academic qualifications meant I had nothing to fall back on, I had to just do it. I joined the band on the QE2 in 1973 and sailed from England to America.
When I came back home I fell in love with a girl from Glasgow when I was 17, we got married when we were 19, we became parents at 20, we’re still happily married.
Our elder son James has been my manager for about 15 years, but sadly we lost our younger son Stewart in 2005 when he was 21. Losing Stewart almost destroyed me, I was very ill for almost 3 years. For quite a while I couldn’t play the guitar, and had to start all over again. During that time I had what I can only describe as a spiritual experience, which led me to follow a spiritual path, and I started to play the guitar again.
I’ve been so fortunate to have known and work with musicians that inspired me right from the beginning. The first music I heard as a child was early recordings of Django Reinhardt & Stephane Grappelli. In 1976 I met Stephane for the first time, then he asked me to join his band, and I toured with him from 1979 to 1990. I made 20 albums with Stephane. Those years were such an important part of my life.
Other musicians that inspired me that I got to know and work with were Barney Kessel, Herb Ellis, Charlie Byrd, Tal Farlow, Mundell Lowe, Joe Pass…. many, many more.
When you start to explore the language of music it becomes very deep. For me, the great joy of performing is when I get into that deep zone of music, I cannot explain it, but anyone that knows what that is will tell you it is a truly magical place to be. That’s where I am when I’m on stage.
I feel very blessed that I am able to travel all over the world playing the music that I love and am very grateful to everyone that shows up at my gigs and gives me the opportunity to get into that wonderful musical zone… I thank you all!
This is not a hobby… this is deep stuff.
(first published on Martin Taylor’s Facebook page on 6th May 2013)