Ann Driscoll was one of my very first friends upon enrolling at Berklee. We were both Nirvana and Beatles fiends, worked at the Groove (the Berklee student newspaper) together, and collaborated on a handful of tunes and projects. Oh, and also went to Egypt together. When she asked me to open for her ‘Pushpins’ EP Release, I was elated. She even got a shoutout on Billboard.com, including a listing of the opening acts (they said my name!), which is not a small deal for an independent artist. I played a very fun full-band show earlier this summer at Rockwood, but it’s a loud bar with drums and amps and people drinking and socializing; Ann had asked me to play solo, a real treat, particularly with such a lovely and attentive crowd.
The Creamery Recording Studio in Greenpoint is great for recording and also a fabulous listening room. I played five new tunes and one old one: “Go if You Must,” from my first EP, which was reviewed by none other than Ann Driscoll for none other than the Berklee Groove. I may have read this snippet aloud:
“Zac Taylor (*there used to be my MySpace link here, ha!) is the antidote to indie-rock’s substantive bankruptcy. A clean-cut Georgia boy, his debut LP, Salesman is straightforward guitar-driven pop/rock. No cut corners. Just expertly written songs with simple, effective production courtesy of Ben Gebert (one half of NINI+BEN [*now called Haerts]). This is a record for people craving meat-and-potatoes rock: great melodies, witty lyrics, chord progressions that take unexpected but logical turns.”
It got a pretty medium laugh. After my set, I got my front row seat for Ann’s full band show which was fabulous. Her new songs jump from pop to dark satire to grunge to lush melodic rock. I knew every word to her old tunes, which I used to hear back at TT The Bear’s and Tommy Doyle’s in Cambridge seven years ago. But I was particularly excited about the encore. Ann and I had cowritten this little ditty for Jimmy Kachulis’ Songwriting class way back when. The assignment was just that: a cowrite. Ann and I picked each other as partners instantly, and I had an idea for a tune: what if a guy and girl were both after the same person? That week we sat in a practice room and birthed a gem, and called it “We Both Like Girls.” I found that very Garageband file a few months ago on an old hard drive, and we dusted it off a bit arrangement-wise, but other than some minor tweaks, we played it exactly like we had written it all those years ago. The crowd went nuts, and sang along to a song that had never been performed before!
We may get around to recording it properly, at which point it will exist on the interwebs. In the meantime, it exists on my phone, and you’ll have to find me to hear it in person. Or who knows, maybe you’ll even catch it at the next ZT or Annie D show…