The name of my column, Audio File, implies a focus on good sound and the science behind the obtaining of it. While this describes some of what I've written about, I also try to connect other facets of the music process together.

Artist spotlights, behind-the-scenes band tidbits and information from a player's perspective are a few things I hope to offer. Right now, we're near the end of an pretty nerdy discussion about natural stereo recording and the three-dimensional sound experience possible therein.

But on this CU graduation and Mother's Day weekend, I must instead take a break from the series and use the occasion write a few words about my musical mother and her major influence on my life and career.

Duncan Taylor’s mom, Karen, mans the mic with Taylor’s dad on piano.
Duncan Taylor's mom, Karen, mans the mic with Taylor's dad on piano. (Courtesy photo)

Born the eldest of five kids, my mom, Karen, was the trailblazer of the group. They all grew up in Kansas City, Mo., children of a well-loved doctor father and award-winning photographer mother.

Music was a constant in her family growing up, but art in general was the real king of the house. Most of her siblings became artists, painters or musicians professionally.

She met my classically trained, hippie musician dad while singing lead in the house band of a 20-somethings coffee shop hangout in south Florida in the '70s. Typically, my mom would sing to my dad and the band's accompaniment, but she may have also played an instrument here or there.


Mom has sung in nearly every choir my dad has assembled and directed — you need more than two hands to count at this point. Choral music is very important to her, and that passion is one that affected me. When I hear a good choir recording and everything is right, I still get weak in the knees.

But one of my favorite early memories of her is less choir and more lounge. I remember several occasions where she'd be next to the piano, belting out the bluegrass standard "Rocky Top" with one hand on the lid as my dad played backup and sang harmony.

To say she is a musician is an understatement. However, I think that the biggest musical gift she gave me was actually her sense of taste.

She's not the type to suffer pedestrian or boring artistic output. She has a passionate and informed opinion about nearly anything, and I inherited that, for sure.

Her brother, my uncle, once told me an illustrative memory from his youth. He was excited to have bought a few current pop records and brought them home to show his big sister. My mom took one look at them and told her brother he had bought a bunch of crap.

"You need to listen to this stuff," she said as she rummaged through her own stash. She gave him a couple Jimi Hendrix records and I think maybe one from Moby Grape.

I love it. I cherish my opinions on music and audio, and I'm so glad my mom guided me toward discernment. Thanks, Ma!

Hug your mom today, if you can.

Read more Taylor: coloradodaily.com/columnists. Stalk him: instagram.com/duncanxmusic.