Terry Scott Taylor (born May 24, 1950) is an American songwriter, record producer, writer and founding member of the bands Daniel Amos and the Swirling Eddies (credited as Camarillo Eddy). Taylor is also a member of the roots and alternative music group, Lost Dogs as well as being a member of the Rapsures,a gospel Rap group for kids. He is based in Orange County, California, USA.
Taylor is highly regarded for his songwriting skills. These often include allusions to and reworkings of material ranging from Elizabethan poets to modern authors. Foremost among Taylor's influences is William Blake. The Daniel Amos album title Fearful Symmetry was drawn from Blake's poem "The Tyger," and numerous songs across the The Alarma! Chronicles series of albums have Blake-inspired references. Some other poets who have influenced Taylor's work are T. S. Eliot and Christina Rossetti. Eliot's poetry inspired the song "Hollow Man" from the Doppelgänger album. "Where Dreams Come True" from Taylor's solo LP A Briefing for the Ascent draws heavily from Rosetti's poem "Echo."
The inspiration for many Daniel Amos and Taylor songs from the mid-1980's can be found in the book Behold, This Dreamer: Of Reverie, Night, Sleep, Dream, Love-Dreams, Nightmare, Death. This book, compiled by Walter de la Mare and published in 1939, contains poems and essays that appear in Taylor's songwriting. De la Mare is thanked in the liner notes of the final installment of The Alarma! Chronicles, Fearful Symmetry. References to contemporary authors also appear in Taylor's songs. One example is the song "Shape of Air" from the LP Darn Floor-Big Bite. The song explores the mystical musings of Annie Dillard found in her Pulitzer prize-winning book, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. The album is also heavily inspired by the works of Czesław Miłosz. This is especially evident in songs like "The Unattainable Earth" (which was named after one of Miłosz' books), "Safety Net", "Pictures of the Gone World", "Divine Instant", and "Half Light, Epoch, and Phase".
During the 1990s and into the new millennium, Taylor's songwriting for the Lost Dogs and on other projects turned away from more esoteric themes. The songs crafted during this phase of Taylor's career marked a shift toward "Americana" and, in some ways, a return to the country music sound of Daniel Amos in the early 1970s. The primary vehicle for this phase of Taylor's songwriting career is the Lost Dogs, with a number of noteworthy solo projects. The Lost Dogs began in 1991 as a one-time collaboration between vocalists and songwriters from four different bands at the behest of their label at that time. Taylor, Gene Eugene (of Adam Again), Derri Daugherty (of The Choir), and Michael Roe (of The 77s) have released several eclectic albums of traditional American music (country, folk, blues, rock) over the last decade.
After a number of years performing with local California bands and folk trios like Good Shepherd, Judge Rainbow and the Prophetic Trumpets, The Cardboard Scheme, and The Scarlet Staircase, Taylor formed Jubal's Last Band with Steve Baxter, Kenny Paxton, and Chuck Starnes in 1972. In 1974, the band recorded a demo tape together to shop around to record labels. Later that year, the band lost Paxton and Starnes, and added bassist Marty Dieckmeyer and guitarist Jerry Chamberlain to the line-up.
Sometime in the middle of 1975, Jubal's Last Band (minus Baxter) auditioned for Maranatha! Music and Calvary Chapel in hopes of signing a recording and performance contract. Another band at the meeting, led by Darrell Mansfield, had a similar name - Jubal. The two bands decided to change their names to avoid confusion. Mansfield renamed his band Gentle Faith, and Jubal's Last Band became Daniel Amos. Daniel Amos succeeded in landing a recording and performance contract, and quickly recorded their first song for the label, Taylor's "Ain't Gonna Fight It" featuring ace sessionplayer Michael Omartian (Steely Dan) on Rhodes. A full album, produced by Al Perkins, followed. Taylor and the members of Daniel Amos went on to record numerous albums and change musical styles with nearly every one of them, including the four part Alarma! Chronicles series in the 1980s.
In 1986, Taylor released his first solo album, Knowledge & Innocence, which included songs inspired by the death of his grandfather and the miscarriage of his and his wife's first child. The following year, Taylor released his second solo album, A Briefing for the Ascent, this time inspired by the loss of his grandmother. That year, Taylor also became the production director for Frontline Records and went on to produce many of the label's releases.
In the early 1990s, Taylor teamed up with Adam Again's Gene Eugene, The Choir's Derri Daugherty and The 77s' Mike Roe to form the alt-country/roots band, Lost Dogs. Although it began as a "one time" arrangement, the band soon took on a life of its own and has continued to tour and make albums to this day.
In 1995, Taylor began a creative partnership with animator Doug TenNapel by scoring two of TenNapel's projects. The first was a cartoon series for CBS called Project G.e.e.K.e.R. and the second was a popular PC CD-ROM video game entitled The Neverhood. That soundtrack earned many awards and critical acclaim and continues to sell well on CD. Taylor went on to score two more video games for TenNapel, 1998's Skullmonkeys and 1999's Boombots. Both games were created for Sony's PlayStation video game console. The best known track from Skullmonkeys is the "Li'l Bonus Room" track, regarded by many in the video game industry as the single funniest track ever written for a video game.
In 1997, Taylor became the head of West Coast A&R for the Killen Music Group (KMG Records), a Nashville-based record label. The following year Taylor's third solo album, John Wayne, was released at the Cornerstone Festival. In 1999, a number of artists and fans of Taylor's came together to create When Worlds Collide: A Tribute to Daniel Amos. The album contained nearly 20 songs written by Taylor and performed by other artists, including The 77s, Randy Stonehill, Phil Madeira, Starflyer59, Jimmy Abegg, Larry Norman, The Throes and others. The project was completed and released in the summer of 2000, along with Taylor's fourth solo project, the acoustic Avocado Faultline. Two years later, Taylor returned with an EP entitled, LITTLE, big.
In 2005, Taylor composed the soundtrack to another TenNapel cartoon series (this time, for the Nickelodeon network) called Catscratch.
Taylor produced a number of albums over the years with singer/songwriter Randy Stonehill, including Equator (which included the Stonehill concert favorite "Shut De Do"), the dreamy Wonderama, and the 2001 Children's album Uncle Stonehill's Hat, which also featured Taylor's daughter Noelle contributing her voice to the story. Throughout his entire career, Taylor has produced albums for countless bands and artists including Randy Stonehill, Riki Michele, Tom Howard, The Altar Boys, Crystal Lewis and Wild Blue Yonder, Jacob's Trouble, Scaterd Few, Deliverance, Mercy River, Starflyer 59's Leave Here a Stranger, Fine China's You Make Me Hate Music, Mortal, Poor Old Lu, Tourniquet, Rich Young Ruler, Derri Daugherty, an assortment of children's records including the MegaMouth series and the Harry Whodunit? series. He also wrote and produced a tribute to surf music entitled Surfonic Water Revival, which featured performances by Phil Keaggy, Smalltown Poets, Chuck Girard, Paul Johnson, Havalina Rail Co., Rick Altizer, Plumb, The Supertones, All Star United, Skillet, Silage, Rebecca St. James, The Insyderz, and others.
Taylor's work has received recognition and praise in USA Today, The Door, Time Magazine, and numerous national and regional newspapers and magazines, yet his career has essentially flown under the radar outside of the music industry. Taylors music , both as a member of Daniel Amos and through his solo work, has been a major influence within the music industry. Aside from the obvious influence on artists that Taylor has worked with over the years, numerous notable people have named Taylor and DA as musical heroes over the years including artists like The Ocean Blue, Randy Stonehill, The 77s, Phil Keaggy, Steve Taylor, Jimmy Abegg, Phil Madeira, Crystal Lewis, This Train, Carolyn Arends (Arends actually used to perform DA songs in one of her early bands), Ventriloquist Terry Fator, Brian Healy, The Throes, The Choir, Mortal, Larry Norman, Animator and Musician Doug TenNapel, Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, Isaac Air Freight, Deliverance, Starflyer59, Jonathan Coulton, and others. Collective Soul, which released several successful alternative rock singles during the 1990s and early 2000s, cite Daniel Amos as a major inspiration for their work. Taylor's work on Dreamworks videogame soundtracks and Nickelodeon animated series have been used as backing music for Olympic performances and become a favorite of other soundtrack composers like Bill Brown, Actor Ben Afleck, comedian Drew Carey, and other celebrities.