TAYLOR JOHN WILLIAMS HAS HIS UPSTROKE DOWN

NBC's The Voice sensation, Taylor John Williams and 80s rockstar Billy Rancher have something in common.

NBC's The Voice sensation, Taylor John Williams and 80s rockstar Billy Rancher have something in common.

There is something about the rich, moist, and broody "rainscape" of the Pacific NW that makes creativity a little bolder, a little wilder and harder to prune back. 

Many moons ago, back in 1983, Portland had a "rock star" named Billy Rancher. He was a NW original. Billy was the definition of soulful: deep, profound, fervent, heartfelt, sincere, and passionate. He passed away way too soon, at the age of 25. As I watched Taylor John Williams sing The Beatles' classic, Come Together on NBC's The Voice, I saw something so beautiful and familiar. Our fertile Pacific NW region, known for the complexity of its Pinot Noirs (It's Willamette, dammit), mastery of  hand-crafted beers, and active lifestyle (shout out to Nike, Lulu Melon, and BurnCycle) had done it once again. It had produce another rich, authentic, and deeply talented spirit, impossible to ignore. While in tone, vibe, and looks Billy and Taylor are virtual opposites (both are just as tall but Rancher was blonde, blue-eyed, and pale while Williams is a dark brunette with dark eyes) Williams possesses the same mesmerizing embodiment of confidence on stage that Billy had. No matter the song choice, Williams always delivers with his own sense of originality and authenticity.

The judges on The Voice Season 7 (especially that other tall drink of water, Blake Shelton) say that Williams has a "dark thing" that always shows up. But here in the Pacific NW we know it as an "original thing" because this is where you head west and make it your own way. I titled my blog after Billy Rancher's song: Upstroke Down. His lyrics go something like this: "we have a little record we want to show around...HEY you Hollywood producers, we have the upstroke down..." Taylor John Williams, you are an original. Keep your upstroke down. Thad Grace, thank you for sharing Taylor's song with me, "Too Pretty For The Nerds" 3 years ago. I told you then he was a star.