It’s always exciting to discover new talent, especially among young people, which is just what happed at the IBMA World of Bluegrass when Jaelyn Taylor & 21 South poked their heads into the media room during the weekend’s Bluegrass Live! festival.
The band was looking for a place to warm up before a performance, and we welcomed them in to use our space. Over the course of the next 30 minutes or so, we recognized something unique in their 14 year old mandolinist and lead vocalist, Jaelyn Taylor, and the band of skilled musicians alongside her.
21 South is managed by Jaelyn’s dad, Zac, guitarist with the group, who has been taking his daughter along to jam and sing since she was only eight. She began to take it really seriously when winning second place at the Galax Old Fiddler’s Convention in 2021, and she and Zac started putting together a band earlier this year.
Taylor the elder is the band’s primary songwriter, and he has composed their just-released debut single, Just One More Day. A police officer in his day job, Zac says that it tells of a lonely widow in West Virginia coal country, and why her deceased spouse was willing to work far underground to provide for her and their children.
“The song speaks of her husband’s desire to work deep in the mine to support his family despite the everyday risk that miners face when ‘they crawl their way into that hole.’ Then the nightmare unfolds that every coal miner’s spouse worries about, and she’s left all alone after losing her husband to the mine.
Just One More Day is a song for and about the blue collar people of America who put their life on the line to keep this great country the greatest, and to the ones who wish they still had Just One More Day with those we’ve lost.”
Jaelyn and Zac are supported by David Chrisley on bass, who has toured with Junior Sisk and Jeff Parker; Adam McPeak on mandolin, son of Mike from the legendary McPeak Brothers; Nikki Wright on fiddle and tenor vocals, who has worked for some time with Johnny & Jeanette Williams; and Carter Lester (what a bluegrass name!) on banjo, who at 16 is already a skilled picker.
Have a listen and see if you agree that this 14 year singer has a bright future in bluegrass.
Just One More Day is available for streaming now in Apple Music, and should be available soon from other services as well. Radio programmers interested in playing the single can reach out to the band by email.