Local Musician Spotlight – Steven Taylor-Ramirez
Raised in Berkeley California, where he still lives, it took a life changing event to solidify Taylor-Ramirez’s path in music. Although he had a guitar for years and played it on and off, it wasn’t until 2001 when he was diagnosed with cancer and was told doctors weren’t sure how much longer he would live. It was then he decided “If I’m ever going to learn how to play guitar, now should be the time.” Starting to get more serious about music and songwriting, he connected with a mentor, J. Poet and the two began writing.
Roll the clock forward 15 years and Taylor-Ramirez is still alive and playing, and doing more and more shows, including the Sonoma Valley Regional Library on Saturday, Nov. 5, at 2 p.m. when he will be laying down music that crosses the boundaries of folk-rock, Latin, Americana and blues.
We asked Taylor-Ramirez the usual six questions. Lets get to know him a little.
1) Many musicians in our generation cite the Beatles on Ed Sullivan as that moment when they knew music was what they wanted to do. When and what was it that made you realize you wanted to be a musician?
STR > I Saw Elvis on the Ed Sullivan show indeed, but it was Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode” on the radio that really did it for me. Early Bob Dylan was also an inspiration, seeing how music can really send a message. Seeing those two and I just thought, that looks like a great thing to do.
2) That first instrument you owned. What was it and do you still have it?
STR> I do still have it, was a guitar that my dad bought me in Mexico for $25 dollars. I still play it all the time. It has some great tone.
3) Who are you’re primary influences in your music?
STR > Well, it all started out with Chuck Berry and bluesmen like John Lee Hooker. I think Dylan may have been the largest, and maybe some “British Invasion” bands, but even country folks like Merle Haggard, Buck Owens and Johnny Cash
4) What CD or playlist is in your car or your iPod?
STR > Likely to be the local classical music channel in my car, or maybe even some middle eastern music. In the house probably contemporary classical and even some of the new techno. My musical tastes vary a lot.
5) Tell us about your current acts.
STR > I mainly play solo unless the venue wants a larger act, then I have people I assemble and we can play as a trio or even a whole band. a
6) If you could have written one song, which one would it be and why?
STR > Hmm. Would definitely be a Dylan song. Maybe “Times of Freedom” for me that was the high point of Dylan’s career, his message and creativity really spoke to my generation.
Set List – The Rundown
Annex Wine Bar, 865 W. Napa St. Sonoma, 938-7779
Tonight, Nov. 4: Hooper and Sloss. 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 5: Matt Gabriel 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 6: “Decompression Sunday” with Sonoma Sound Syndicate. 6 p.m.
Cannon School of Music, 17109 Sonoma Hwy., Sonoma, 400-3786
Saturday, Nov. 5: Blues Jam and student performances. 2 p.m.
Friday Farmers Market, Depot Park, 270 First St W. Sonoma
Today, Nov. 4: Stewart Degner. 9:30 a.m.
HopMonk Tavern, 691 Broadway Sonoma, 935-9100
Tonight, Nov. 4: Matt Gabriel. 8 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 5: Hilary Scott. 8 p.m.
Kivelstadt Cellars, 13750 Arnold Dr, Glen Ellen, 938.7001
Tonight, Nov. 4: 20 People with Connor Ross and 20 People. 6 p.m.
Murphy’s Irish Pub, 464 First St. E. Sonoma, 935-0660
Tonight, Nov. 4: Timothy O’Neil Band. 8 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 5: Sean Carscadden Trio. 8 p.m.
Olde Sonoma Public House, 18615 Sonoma Hwy. Boyes Hot Springs, 938-7587
Saturday, Nov. 5: Karaoke. 7:30 p.m.
Sonoma Speakeasy and American Music Hall, 452 First St. E. ste. G. Sonoma, 996-1364
Tonight, Nov. 4: Ryan Tatarian. 6:30 p.m. the No Buenos. 8 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 5: Full Circle. 5 p.m. T Luke and the Tight Suits. 8 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 6: “Open Mic and Mimosas.” 1 to 7 p.m. Acrosonics. 5 p.m. Blues Jam. 8 p.m.
Sonoma Springs Brewery, 19499 Riverside Dr., Sonoma, 938-7422
Saturday, Nov. 5: Bedrock Radio, and the Blues Burners. 1 p.m.
Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, 551 Broadway, Sonoma, 939-7862
Saturday, Nov. 5: Rich Little and Hanlin and Jones. 5:30 p.m.
Sonoma Valley Regional Library, 755 W. Napa St. Sonoma, 996-5217
Saturday, Nov. 5: Steven Taylor-Ramirez. 2 p.m.
The Starling Bar, 19380 Sonoma Hwy. Sonoma, 996-3055
Tonight, Nov. 4: Salt Suns and Mikayla McVey. 8 p.m.
If your gig isn’t in my column, you didn’t tell me about it. email@example.com