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Rachel Baiman & Taylor Ashton

With her 2017 debut Shame, Americana songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Rachel Baiman emerged as a fearless voice of the American female experience.

“Shame” was featured on NPR’s “Songs We Love”, called a “Rootsy Wake-up Call” by Folk Alley, and described by Vice’s “Noisey” as “flipping off authority one song at a time.” On her new full-length album Cycles, Baiman has found a grittier musical medium for her signature unabashed and defiant songwriting, employing a majority-female team including co-producer Olivia Hally, known as the front woman of Indie-pop band Oh Pep!

Cycles is a collection of songs encompassing the many ways that we destroy and rebuild as people, as families, and as a country. Songs about the cycle of life inspired by the birth of a nephew and the loss of a grandmother, songs about internal mental cycles of ambition and self-doubt, the cycle of progress and regression in our country’s political journey, and the cycles of growth and reinvention that relationships take on. At times heartbreaking, at times celebratory, the album is a reflection of a lot of life experienced in a relatively short amount of time, a desire to hold fast to the people we love in the wake of so much uncertainty, and an exploration of the immense and unique strength of women in the face of adversity.

Originally from Chicago, Baiman moved to Nashville at eighteen, and has spent the last decade working as a musician in a wide variety of roles, from session musician (Molly Tuttle, Kelsey Waldon, Caroline Spence), to live sidewoman (Kacey Musgraves, Amy Ray), to bandmate and producer. Fiddle music was her first love, and she is known in the bluegrass and old time world for her work with progressive acoustic duo 10 String Symphony with fiddle player Christian Sedelmyer. Her first solo album Shame, was produced by Andrew Marlin of Mandolin Orange, and established her role as part of a new generation of political songwriters. Since 2017, Baiman has toured her solo project internationally with appearances at the Kilkenny Roots Festival in Ireland, the Mullum Music Festival in Australia, and the Kennedy Center Millenium Stage in Washington, DC. She has also released a variety of small scale projects; her 2018 Free Dirt EP Thanksgiving, which read as a sort of epilogue to Shame, a duet project with singer Mike Wheeler, which is a more stripped down nod to her acoustic roots, and a 2020 single, Wrong Way Round, which shows more sonic experimentation and hints at musical direction of Cycles.

Inspired by the burgeoning grunge rock scene in Melbourne, Cycles was recorded in Australia in the glorified storage unit known as Purple Wayne Studios (Big Smoke) with engineer Alex O’Gorman (Angie McMahon). In addition to Hally on bass, piano and guitar, and Baiman on guitar, strings and banjo, other musicians include Melbourne drummer Bree Hartley, guitar players Cy Winstanley (Brandy Clarke) and Josh Oliver (Mandolin Orange), and guest vocalists Dan Parsons, Dan Watkins and Maggie Rigby (The Maes). The album was mixed by GRAMMY winning engineer Shani Gandhi, who is based in Nashville but originally from Australia as well.

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Taylor’s career began in Vancouver as frontman and songwriter for Fish & Bird. The Vancouver Folk Fest called them “Canada’s most unique folk-rock ensemble”, with reviewers taking note of Taylor’s “off-kilter lyrical excursions” (The Georgia Straight) and his “rich, compelling voice” (Exclaim!). From 2006 to 2014 they recorded 4 albums and exhaustively made the rounds of the festival and touring circuit of Canada, the U.S., and the UK.

The 12 new songs on Taylor’s solo debut chronicle leaving a relationship, a band, and Canada. He moved from Toronto to New York City, ready to take a break from the heavy touring schedule of Fish & Bird and to find himself in a new setting. He survived by singing and playing clawhammer banjo in the subway, turning heads with covers that leaned more Motown than hoedown. Over the years he also made a living as an illustrator, an audio book narrator, an occasional sideman for British country soul singer Yola, a songwriting teacher, and was even hired by the New York Times to write a song about the debt-ridden subway system. Fueled by $1 pizza slices and the intoxicating creative energy of his new home town, he wrote over 400 songs. “A lot of them were pretty dumb,” he said. “But some that I thought were dumb turned out to be good.” (See track eight on the album, “Everybody Used To Be A Baby”).

The first session for what would become The Romantic happened while Taylor was living above the old Mason Jar Music studio in Borough Park, Brooklyn, with engineer Jacob Blumberg. Playing clawhammer banjo through a guitar amp, Taylor played a few new songs live off the floor in duo formation with a drummer, and this unlikely combo forms the rhythmic backbone of the album. Over the next two years, recording occurred in stops and starts. Taylor rode between friends’ houses and studios on a yellow bike he built himself, recording instruments and vocals piece by piece. Slowly but surely, with no specific deadline.

In the meantime Taylor teamed up with fellow songwriter Courtney Hartman to record a spare duo album. 2018’s Been On Your Side was nominated for an Independent Music Award and earned praise in Rolling Stone, who said it “packs a punch in today’s mainstream.”

Some friends started to wonder when, if ever, the solo album would be finished. Eventually, Brooklyn producer Alec Spiegelman (Cuddle Magic, Ana Egge) helped finish the initial sessions and helmed the recording of 6 new ones at his studio. Jacob Blumberg, who engineered the first sessions, was brought back to do the final mix, and shares co-producer credit. The result is a love letter to this time of Taylor’s life; an ode to the devastating, ecstatic, gritty, sexy decade of his twenties, woven together through his 5- string banjo with the help of 18 different musicians from the Brooklyn music scene and all across the U.S. and Canada.

$12 adv. - $15 at the door | 7pm doors - 8pm show

Covid-19 Protocols:

We are very excited to be hosting live music shows again in our listening room. OLS is committed to providing a safe environment for all who work, listen, or perform live music in our venue. Because our venue is so small, we will require all staff, volunteers, performers, and patrons to show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 when they attend OLS events AND to wear masks indoors unless they are actively drinking, eating, or performing.

Proof of vaccine must come directly from the health care provider that performed the vaccination and can be a photo or physical copy of the vaccination card or record with an accompanying photo ID. Full vaccination means that the date of the performance you are attending is:

* at least 14 days after your second dose of an FDA or WHO authorized two dose COVID-19 vaccine, or

* at least 14 days after your single dose of an FDA or WHO authorized single dose COVID vaccine.

We hope we can ease these restrictions once further progress has been made reducing transmission of the virus. Until then we greatly appreciate your patience and cooperation.

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