Hailing from Siouxland, 35th and Taylor has gained national attention since it formed in 2011, and will be gracing the main stage this year at Saturday in the Park.
“I go every year,” says singer Anna Taylor. “Pretty much as long as I can remember I go and make a trip to [Saturday in the Park]. I think everyone does in the band. I come for the live music and for all the people who come to gather to watch the music. It’s awesome.”
The band, which consists of Taylor, guitarists Evan Kaler and Spencer Andreson, bassist Jack Osborn and drummer Max Miller, will be starting its set at 1 p.m., following Port Nocturnal.
Expect to hear a rich, bluesy rock sound with a twist of country paired alongside killer female vocals that seem to transport you to a different time in music history; a time where a song told a story and meant something while the listener could easily follow the song structure and melody.
There is an intense smoothness to Taylor’s voice. But when she wants, she can let out a perfectly gritty note. The sound recalls old Johnny Cash tunes, as well as more modern music such as The White Stripes and Imagine Dragons.
“We have been a band for almost seven years now,” says Taylor. “Before that I was in some local theater. Then I sang in a middle school talent show… by force… my parents made me.
“I did a song by Janis Joplin, ‘Me and Bobby McGee,’ and then this group of three boys was doing a jam band thing. They didn’t have a singer, and they played ‘Enter Sandman.’ They saw me and asked if I wanted to join, and that’s kind of how we began this whole process.
“We’ve been playing in bars and doing street dances and bigger gigs. We just got the coolest opportunity to open for Bon Jovi at the United Center (Chicago). It’s been a lot of fun.”
Taylor had a brush with fame on the sixth season of NBC’s “The Voice” when she became a contestant.
“I was 15 at the time and auditioned in New York City and didn’t think anything of it,” says Taylor. “I didn’t think I was going to make it. There were 10,000 other people in line. So, it was incredible to go through every step.
“There are many auditions you don’t see throughout the process. When I got to the point of blind auditions, I was sequestered in a hotel for about a month and met some really awesome people there -- including musicians and artists I’m still friends with today.
“I think I took a lot from that, especially after talking with the judges after my audition.”
The sound of 35th & Taylor lends itself to a wider audience, and the band is trying to do just that.
“I definitely want to make a career out of singing,” says Taylor. “But that kind of sounds like a pipe dream coming from most musicians. We want to become a national act and be able to make a career out of this. Not living in a van gig to gig. Playing bigger, better shows and getting to grow as musicians. I see myself, even if not a singer, being in the music business still.”
Gaining popularity in the music business sometimes presents artists with special opportunities for collaborations. Taylor’s dream collaboration would be with Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes.
“Brittany Howard, the lead singer of Alabama Shakes, has an incredible raw, deep, growly voice, so she’d probably be on the list. Also Grace Potter. She’s another of the singers that I really like. I’m so excited because Joss Stone is the headliner this time [at Saturday in the Park], and she’s one of my idols.”