SEVEN DAYS: In the press material for the new album, you wrote about how you had briefly forgotten that, for you, music and family cannot exist without each other. What did you mean by that?M.C. TAYLOR: My music is most successful when it's addressing themes of family and what our obligations become as we grow up. When I'm in that thematic zone is when I'm writing in my most compelling way.
SD: You've been doing music for a long time. But you weren't always a family man. At what point did that revelation occur?MT: I made a record called Bad Debt in 2010 and it was right after my son was born. I found myself in a different headspace, as most people do when they have their first child.
SD: I've heard that happens.MT: I'm definitely not unique in that way. But it just so happens that I'm also a songwriter. Being a parent is very joyful, but there is also a lot of anxiety that comes with it. And it felt like channeling those emotions into song was a good way to articulate what I'm feeling.
SD: Interestingly, you chose to devote yourself to music full time after becoming a parent, a time when many people would be looking for more stability or financial security than the music industry is known for. What was the reaction from your friends and family to that choice?MT: They were very supportive. They were happy. And so was I. I feel like I've been given the opportunity to do the thing that I've been put on this Earth to do, which is to play music for people. I love what I do. And my kids get to see that, which is a unique thing.
SD: I gather you're a fan of Creston Electric guitars.MT: I have a couple of Creston's guitars, in fact. He made me one last year that I've been using a lot. I have it with me on this tour.
SD: I'm pretty sure there's an unwritten rule that you can't be an electric guitarist in Burlington without owning at least one Creston.MT: [Laughs] Is that true? I have no idea what his reputation is there.
SD: We love him and his guitars.MT: I love his guitars. I think he's done incredible work.
SD: Did you know he's an author?MT: I did! I think we've talked more about writers than we've talked about anything else.
SD: You essentially released two albums at once. So I guess you didn't get the memo that albums are dead?MT: [Laughs] No, I guess not. I'm always recording and grouping songs into little families. I still believe in the album as a very succinct mode of artistic expression. They're the perfect length. I love a 38-minute album.
SD: You've said that you spent 20 years trying to make a record that sounds like Heart Like a Levee. Now that you have, what do you now?MT: That's a good question. I think just keep working that vein. I've always wanted to make a record that felt confident and un-self-conscious, which is a very hard thing to do. And I feel like I'm getting to a point where I can do that.
SD: Your music is heavily rooted in southern musical culture. But I was surprised to learn you're actually from southern California. Where does your fascination with the South come from?MT: I don't really know. But a lot of my favorite stuff seems to come from the South or has roots in the South. American music writ large, certainly there is a serious argument to be made that it comes from the South.