Growing up in a town with one radio station was the best musical experience that Franklin Taggart could have asked for, not to mention that his mother, Betsy Taggart is an accomplished classical pianist who practiced every night as Franklin was going to sleep. What he didn't learn by the constantly turned on radio, he's certain to have picked up by osmosis. That lone radio station played everything. Top 40, Classic Country, Easy Listening...everything from Patsy Cline to Alice Cooper. Franklin caught the music bug at an early age, taking piano from his mom at age 4, picking up trumpet and later the baritone in school bands, and finally begging his parents for a guitar until they relented on Christmas 1975. He wrote his first songs on piano at age 8, playing them constantly until everyone in the family told him to learn something new.
He left Wyoming in 1983 to finish school at a little church school in Anderson, Indiana. Anderson College(now University) was one of the few schools at that time who offered a music business degree. After a successful audition for the jazz band, he was offered enough of a scholarship to entice him away from his beloved Mountain West. While he held a variety of day jobs during and after school, music still was his passionate endeavor. In college he was fortunate to play with a number of exceptional musicians, including Bobby Shew, Maynard Ferguson, and Dizzy Gillespie. He also was a session player at many of the recording studios throughout Central Indiana.
In 1996 he began spending more time than not in Nashville, haunting songwriter nights, learning to co-write, building up his repertoire and confidence as a solo performer. Through the help of people like Ralph Murphy at ASCAP and Debi Champion, the host of several writers nights, he found a community of creators that both nurtured and challenged his craft. Lean financial times opened the door to a possibility that would have never been considered before and he pulled up stakes again and moved to Takoma Park, MD on the Northeast corner of Washington, DC.
DCs position in the folk scene and its proximity to other East Coast cities made it possible for Franklin to do something he'd not done before, working full time in music. He got off to a good start in the DC area after landing a part time job at the House of Musical Traditions in Takoma Park. HMT is a popular landmark and institution in the folk music world, and it gave Franklin the opportunity to meet many of the people he'd come to admire through the years, Robin Bullock, Al Petteway, Norman Blake, Robin Kessinger and many others lent another layer of influence on Franklin's playing and writing. He had a constant flow of guitar students and new opportunities to record and produce. He was also the guitarist and harmony vocalist with Mary Sue Twohy, and wrote and performed with Dulcie Taylor. He played in an Irish band, an old time country band called Liberty Dawne and the Overhaulers, as well as church orchestras and a couple of ongoing pickup jazz groups. The best of times.
In 2001 Franklin released his first and only(to date) solo CD project, Falling All The Way. Produced and engineered by Tom Espinola, Falling All The Way featured songs from Franklin's time in Nashville and his first couple of years in DC. The album was nominated for Wammie Awards by the Washington Area Music Association in several categories in 2001, including Record Design(by SueEllen Lawton), Debut Recording, and Traditional Folk Recording. Franklin was also nominated in the Traditional Folk Vocalist, Songwriter of the Year, New Artist, and Song of the Year(for The Risk Involved with Mary Sue Twohy). He won the Wammie Award for Traditional Folk Instrumentalist.
Beginning in 2002 Franklin's musical direction was shifted dramatically by a series of life events that made it nearly impossible to perform. A debilitating case of tendonitis in his arms, wrists and hands made playing the guitar unbearable. The birth and death of Sarah Grace, Franklin and his wife Monica's first child, happened in 2003. The joyous birth of son Bodhi came about in 2005. Then a long term mystery illness left him hospitalized several times between 2008 and 2010. While he wasn't able to play full length concerts during these years, Franklin kept his fingers busy at the mixing board on CD projects for friends Jane Hurst(Now or Never), Rick and Audrey(Imagine That), Eliza Newlin Carney(Love Flows Down) and hundreds of song demos and spoken word recordings.
With the improvement of his health in 2010-11, Franklin was able to return to the stage with a comeback performance at the 2011 Washington Folk Festival. During his health crisis he had the pressing realization that it was time to "go home", back to the West. In the fall of 2011 he and his family relocated from Maryland to Northern Colorado. In a series of seven house concerts his diverse community of friends in the DC area sent him off to new opportunities in the Mountain States. Now that he can perform again, that's all he wants to do. He hit the ground running in Colorado, starting a guitar society in Loveland, and creating a multi venue concert series in various Front Range locations, along with getting busy booking himself into new territory. There's no time to waste. He's got some playing to do.
As for Taggart, his release "Falling All the Way," has a more rootsy and jaunty sound, flavored by guitars, mandolin, banjo and dobro...Taggart is a smart, economical songwriter. He also has a knack for getting right to the troubled heart of a matter, as the CD's title track and "What Tomorrow Will Be Missing" reveal. All is not sorrow and anguish, though. In a calm, somewhat husky voice that occasionally brings John Hartford to mind, Taggart conjures other moods as well, with a thoroughly smitten love song ("County Fair/Apple Blossom") and a vivid portrait of a first and lasting impression ("Missing You All My Life)."
- Mike Joyce, The Washington Post
- Franklin Taggart, Singer-Songwriter