Nicknamed “The Cimmaron Songbird” by Jimmy LaFave and Bob Childers, Monica Taylor is a stalwart of the Oklahoma music scene. She has been performing annually at The Woody Guthrie Folk Festival since its second year in 1998. She has performed with Garrison Keillor on the Prairie Home Companion show, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Sam Baker, Keith Carradine, Ellis Paul and Tom Skinner, among others. She also hosts the Cimarron Breeze Concert Series in a old church near her farm in Perkins, Oklahoma.
‘Train Take Me Away’ is, naturally, a railroad song tapping into that mood of freedom and escape but with something of a twist as it is concerned not just with leaving, but with coming back. Monica Taylor explains it all: “This is my homage to my older family members who took to the trains during the Great Depression to find work… and the coming home, not ever wanting to leave home again. Jimmy Lafave called me one day years ago and asked if I had a song for a Children’s album. I said I’d think about it and decided to write a song with states and things that they are known for, with a Woody Guthrie spin on it, as I have written songs before. The album he had heard about had all the songs it needed before he even suggested it, so I just started to play it at home.
One night I was staying at the beautiful old railroad depot that someone had donated to [founding member of the Dixie Chicks] Robin Macy, a Bartlett arboretum in Belle Plaine, KS, south of Wichita, where she and her husband Kenny White live.
We had gigs the next week and so the whole band met there to travel.She had a little guest room in the old depot.What a magical place the arboretum was to call my second home!I walked around by myself in the depot, strumming the guitar and started singing the childrens song I had written, thinking-it really needs something to make a song worthy of a set list for my own band, The Red Dirt Ramblers.It needed a chorus.A change from the verses in a big way. So I went down to a minor chord which usually help spark the writing senses. I came up with chorus right there late one night in the old depot! I scrubbed on that chorus a a bit that night and the next morning before we loaded up, I played it for Robin. She loved it! So I finished another of my train songs in an old train depot, the train tracks right there blowin’ throughout the night, shaking the timbers of the building.”
‘Train Take Me Away‘ comes from the new album ‘Trains, Rivers, & Trails‘ which features Monica Taylor on acoustic guitars, Travis Fite on acoustic guitar, electric guitar, dobro, mandolin, and harmonies, Jared Tyler on acoustic guitars, electric guitars, dobro, banjo, Weissenborne guitar and harmonies, John Fullbright on piano, Hammond B-3 organ, Wurlitzer, and accordion and lead vocals on ‘Minor Key’, Jake Lynn on drums and percussion, Casey van Beek on electric bass, Luke Bulla on fiddles and mandolin, and Roger Ray on pedal steel guitars. The album was produced by Travis Fite, Jared Tyler, & Monica Taylor Fite, engineered by Travis Fite, with mix engineer Jared Tyler.