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FRIDAY JAM: Rising country artist Cole Taylor plans hometown show

Universal songwriter comes home to Randolph County for first full concert performance

Cuthbert native Cole Taylor, who signed last year with Universal Publishing Group in Nashville, will headline his first full concert Aug. 23 at the former Randolph Southern football field in Shellman. (Special photo)

Cuthbert native Cole Taylor, who signed last year with Universal Publishing Group in Nashville, will headline his first full concert Aug. 23 at the former Randolph Southern football field in Shellman. (Special photo)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A little less than a year ago, Cuthbert native Cole Taylor signed a songwriting contract with Universal Publishing Group, joining a staff of some of the most prolific hit-makers in modern music.

On Aug. 23, Taylor will step behind the microphone, coming home to Randolph County for the first full concert appearance of his budding career.

Spearheaded by his brother, volunteer Shellman firefighter B.J. Taylor, the rising country artist will join fellow Georgia native and Music City transplant Faren Rachels for a benefit show at the former Randolph Southern football field. Proceeds from the show will go to the Shellman Volunteer Fire Department.

“I’ve played a lot of shows at bars and opening for other people, but this will be my first full, 1 1/2-hour concert,” said Taylor, whose work in Nashville since signing with Universal includes the song “Livin’ In It” on country star Rodney Atkins’ latest album. “It’s kinda scary, but this show is a perfect kickoff for the Peach State Pride Tour, which I’ll be part of this year. We’ll do shows all over Georgia starting Sept. 25.

“I get an opportunity to go out and play my stuff about once a month, and one of the things I’ve started doing is honing my performance skills. I’ve also started writing songs for myself, not just other artists.”

Taylor said in a phone call from his Nashville home that he’s close to having two of his songs finished by “some really big names,” but he’s not in a position to discuss those works at this time.

“It’s going really great up here,” he said. “It’s actually going much better than I’d even hoped for. Universal is treating me great, and I’m able to do shows once a month or so to make a little extra money and to keep my name out there among the fan base I established in Georgia, Florida and Alabama.”

Taylor said he had no choice in agreeing to the Oct. 23 benefit show — “B.J. called me up and said, ‘Everything’s set, we’re doing it,’” he laughed. Gates for the concert will open at 5 p.m., and Rachels will take the stage around 7. Tickets are $10 and are available in advance by calling B.J. Taylor at (229) 869-3450. A cooler fee of $5 will also apply, and kids 12-under will be allowed free entry. A 50-50 raffle is planned.

“This is an exciting chance for me to reconnect with the people of my hometown, and I can’t wait to see who all turns out,” Taylor said. “It’s also going to be an excellent opportunity for Faren to make some new fans.

“I love what I’m doing with Universal; it’s exciting. But my ultimate goal is to make it as a performer. This is a big step for me.”