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Arlington's Jesse Taylor becomes ‘Singing Cowboy’ in Hawaii
ARLINGTON — Jesse Taylor still considers himself an Arlington cowboy through and through, but in his quest to become a country musician the 23-year-old has made a name and a new home for himself in a place that’s about as far removed from the rainy Puget Sound region as he can get without leaving the United States.
Since August of last year Taylor has worked as a wrangler at the Koele Stables on the island of Lanai, which is part of Hawaii. Taylor was playing his guitar in a little bar just east of Kalispell, Mont. in July of last year when he caught the ear of the wife of the manager of the Koele Stables.
“This woman just came up to me and told me she liked my music,” Taylor said. “We talked for a while and I gave her my information.”
A few weeks later, the Koele Stables manager himself called Taylor on the phone to offer him a chance to ride horses and play music in Hawaii. Taylor thought it was a joke at first, but two weeks later he was boarding a plane to Lanai.
“I’ve met a lot of new people out here,” Taylor said. “All the locals call me the ‘Singing Cowboy.’”
Taylor’s Cinderella success story represents the culmination of a year and a half of hard work and lean living on his part, starting after he was laid off from his job in January of 2009. He recorded a CD of 10 songs that he’d written in his mother’s kitchen, and then traveled back and forth across the continental United States from May through August of that year to promote his music.
“I was sleeping in my truck and selling CDs from Washington state all the way to Georgia,” Taylor said.
Taylor took a break from his musical career to do construction work at his home in Arlington during the winter, then set off on the road again during the summer of 2010. His music is now available on iTunes.
“I’m working hard to make it in the music business and to represent Arlington well,” Taylor said. “Music is something I grew up around. I can be myself and express things through songs that I normally can’t tell people.”
Taylor admitted the months he spent traveling to try and get his musical career off the ground were difficult, since he missed being back in Arlington. At the same time, those difficulties have given him some perspective on the challenges that he’s faced since then.
“It was hard being the center of attention at some bar with everyone loving what I was doing, and then going back to my truck that night alone to sleep in some parking lot somewhere, wondering if it would all pay off one day,” Taylor said. “It was a lot of highs and lows in one day.”
According to Taylor, the money has never mattered as much as using his music to help others get through their own tough times.