Brit Taylor Makes Opry Debut
After being in Nashville more than a decade and releasing two critically acclaimed albums!
She sang two fiddle-driven songs, the starkly melancholy “Kentucky Blue,” the title song for her newest album, followed by another original song from the album, “Rich Little Girls,” a semi-autobiographical, upbeat anthem to working women.
“I am always asked about the coolest or most special thing that has happened to me since I moved to Nashville,” Taylor said. “There has been a lot, so it has always been a tough question to answer. Not anymore! Singing on the Grand Ole Opry is by far my greatest achievement to date.”
Holler, which named Taylor as one of the top 23 new artists for 2023, lauded “the rising bluegrass starlet” – a tip of the hat to her Kentucky Blue album, produced by Grammy winners Sturgill Simpson and David Ferguson, opening at No. 4 on the Billboard Bluegrass chart – for “lighting up the golden circle” on her Opry debut.
Her two-song set was followed by the traditional brief interview with emcee Kelly Sutton. They discussed Taylor’s first publishing deal and why she left it and about getting Simpson and Ferguson to produce her latest album.
Taylor also revealed a little more about her personal life, talking about her hometown of Hindman, Kentucky, with its two stop lights and one Dairy Queen. When asked whether she worked there, she said, “No, I taught karate lessons to kids” before revealing that she holds a black belt in karate.
The audience really enjoyed learning about her menagerie of animals – five pigmy goats– all named after country music stars, two miniature donkeys, three dogs, one cat and a bunch of chickens.
The original members of the goat family were a gift from her grandfather. “My Paw Paw gave me my first goats, my two donkeys and my newest puppy,” she said, waving to him. “He is 84-years-old and he actually got out of the Kentucky hills and made the trip to Tennessee! It’s probably been 40 or 50 years since he left the state of Kentucky, and he did it to come to the Opry and be here for me.”
The self-made singer, who admitted that “Nashville can be a tough town to figure out who you really are,” shared her thoughts about what she has learned and what she would go back today to tell her 23-year-old self just starting out. “I would tell her to take in everybody’s opinions and advice, then go sit in a quiet room and just try to listen to your heart and your head. Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself,” she concluded.
She received the invitation to debut on the Opry the same day Kentucky Blue was released.
“The record was released at midnight, so when I got up from not sleeping all night, it was already a special day,” she said. “Then the email popped in my Inbox inviting me to debut on the Opry.”
Her reaction when the email arrived? Tears of joy. Tears that continued on a regular basis right up to the night she walked on the stage, plugged in her guitar and began to sing.
It was a night she shared with the people she loves the most.
“I was surrounded by my family and friends, and I got to share the stage with my biggest champion, my husband Adam Chaffins,” she said. “I was standing side stage, just waiting, and I was feeling all the nerves creep in. My heart was pounding as they were just about to announce my name. Then I saw my husband standing on the stage with his stand-up bass, and he mouthed ‘I love you’ and the fears all faded away. I heard my name announced, and I walked out on stage, ready to sing.”
“Hearing my name introduced, walking out on that stage with all the lights and stepping into that circle was one of the most magical nights of my life,” Taylor said.
The Eastern Kentucky native sang on the Kentucky Opry stage from the time she was 7 until she graduated high school at 17.
“Ever since I first stepped foot on the Mountain Arts Center stage to play in the Kentucky Opry Junior Pros in Prestonsburg, Kentucky, I’ve prayed and dreamed about making it to the Grand Ole Opry stage,” Taylor said. “Actually doing it was everything I dreamed and hoped for – and more.”
Much like the lines she penned in “Rich Little Girls” – “Well everybody plays with the cards they’re dealt / Everybody’s gotta work it out for their self…” Taylor realizes it all happens when it does for a reason.
“Looking back through my journey on Nashville, I often wondered why things had been such a slow burn for me,” she said. “But I realized Wednesday night that I wouldn’t have wanted to play the Opry not even a day sooner than I did. It’s taken me a long time to figure out who I am, and I’m so glad this is the version of me who got to grace the Opry stage. I was so proud to present this version of me the Grand Ole Opry.”
Taylor will be hitting the road this week for a series of appearances across the Midwest, opening for Brett Cobb, before preparing for appearances at a host of summer music festivals, including the Key West Songwriters Festival, Schellraiser 2023 in Nevada, and Railbirds Music Festival in Kentucky.
Through it all, Brit Taylor will stay true to herself and her music.
March 18 South Main Sounds Memphis, Tenn.
March 22 The Grand Ole Opry Nashville, Tenn.
March 28 In Support of Brent Cobb Oklahoma, Okla.
March 29 In Support of Brent Cobb Fayetteville, Ark.
March 30 In Support of Brent Cobb St. Louis, Mo.
April 13 In Support of Brent Cobb McMinnville, Tenn.
April 14 In Support of Brent Cobb Wilson, Ark.
May 3 – 7 Key West Songwriters Festival Key West, FL
May 19 Sleeping in the Woods Songwriter Festival 2023 Monticello, Ky.
June 1 Schellraiser 2023 Mcgill, Nevada
June 3 Railbird Music Festival 2023 Lexington, Ky.
July 9 Laurel Cove Music Festival 2023 Pineville, Ky.
July 14 Master Musicians Festival 2023 Somerset, Ky.
About Brit Taylor
With the critically acclaimed release of her sophomore album, Kentucky Blue, singer-songwriter Brit Taylor is striding positively into her future. The Kentucky native – with her captivating lyrics and arresting vocals – is stepping boldly ahead with one foot firmly grounded in her Appalachian roots and the other plowing through new ground. It is rewarding, but it hasn’t been easy.
Kentucky Blue, produced by Grammy winners Sturgill Simpson and David Ferguson and released in 2023, is a happy, upbeat record that is feisty, funky and pure country and reflective of her life today. Its success – debuting No. 4 on Billboard’s Bluegrass Albums and climbing to No. 18 on Americana Music’s album chart – follows the success of Brit’s 2021 debut album Real Me and its complement, Real Me Deluxe, which chronicled her self-reflective journey from the depths of despair to honest self-awareness. The highly acclaimed Real Me opened as the highest-ranking debut album on the AMA/CDX Radio Chart at No. 37 and garnered positive reviews from American Songwriter, Rolling Stone, NPR’s World Cafe and others. The 2022 AMERICANAFEST featured her at an official artist showcase, and she headlined The Burl’s 2022 official after-party for Kentucky Rising, an all-star concert in to raise money for East Kentucky flood victims. Taylor’s list of recent live performances includes opening for Dwight Yoakam, Ian Noe, Alabama and Robert Earl Keen and touring in support of both Kelsey Waldon and Blackberry Smoke. PBS featured her on “The Caverns Sessions”, a musical series from deep within a subterranean amphitheater in Tennessee’s Cumberland Mountains. She has released new music with Dee White, Mike and the Moonshines and others. She will tour in support of Brent Cobb this spring.
Born where the famed Country Music Highway 23 slices through Kentucky, life was good for the young singer who spent her childhood years on the Kentucky Opry. Because she was singing before she could read or write, songwriting came later. It took the end of a teenage puppy love to lure her to put pen to paper and words to her emotions. Her first lyrics were born, and her love for songwriting was unleashed. High school graduation was followed by a move to Nashville, a college degree, a music deal, marriage, and a mini-farm. And then it all went bad. A husband gone AWOL, a band that dissolved, a beloved dog that died, a music deal gone sour and a bank that wanted her home made for a winter of despair. After a brief wallow in self-pity, Brit went to work, determined to be true to herself and to make music her way. Tired and broken hearted by the “new Nashville,” she walked away from her song writing deal. Declaring she’d rather “clean toilets than write shitty songs any longer,” Brit cleaned houses to pay the bills, successfully turning her side hustle into a bona-fide small business. At the same time, she served as “general contractor” for her self-financed Real Me, pulling together a cast of professionals to co-write and play with her, all while recording on her own newly created record label, Cut A Shine Records.
Life is good again. She signed a collaborative deal between Cut A Shine Records and Thirty Tigers and a publishing contract with Reservoir and One Riot. Wasserman Music serves as her booking agent. She has a new love and marriage and two new miniature donkeys and a rescue dog added to her zoo of one cat, two dogs, five goats and a bunch of chickens. Today, Brit is bravely standing out as her own self. It isn’t an easy path to navigate, but Brit learned that the best GPS is her inner self. She remains true to the honesty of her lyrics and the timelessness of her sound. The power of her lyrics and her music is that they are refreshingly simple yet surprisingly complex. Always true to herself, Brit Taylor continues to tells stories which manage – whether they are dramatic, humorous or heartfelt – to be downright honest. It is who she is.