The opening title track on Taylor Kropp’s Coming Up For Air is definitive, guitar-driven all-American anthemic rock that sounds like it’s been around since the mid-1970s. “I’m coming up for air now, I don’t have a choice/ I’ll say one more prayer now, cause I have found my voice,” Kropp belts out with an edge of upbeat Springsteen-meets-Petty and stadium rock energy.
Released on Sept. 15, the album debuted at No. 63 on iTunes singer-songwriter albums chart. It marks Kropp’s full-length debut and a new chapter of his life in Nashville.
The 26-year-old guitar wiz, born in Carmel Valley and raised in Prunedale, dedicated his life to music long before moving to Tennessee two years back. Many of Monterey’s younger generation of musicians know Kropp, and many jammed with him during the beloved LIVE from the BASSment sessions at Cannery Row Brewing Company.
Kropp admits he had some fear that his talent could be overshadowed in a city like Nashville, bursting with some of the best musicians in the world. But his anxiety subsided once he arrived.
“From a musical standpoint, I feel like I’ve gotten so much better since I moved,” Kropp says. “I’m playing with the best musicians I’ve ever played with—Nashville has made me more confident in who I am as a musician.
“The [music] community seems to really look out for each other.”
During his first week in Nashville, Kropp visited one of the many killer local mom-and-pop guitar shops, Rock Block Guitars. Overwhelmed by the infinite rows of glistening vintage rarities, he ended up grabbing an old-school Fender Telecaster, closing his eyes and plucking out some improvised blues licks.
An impressed employee approached. It turns out Nashville guitar store staffers can work as gatekeepers throughout the music scene. Today Kropp says every good gig he’s landed in Nashville since that day traces back to the Rock Block Guitars dude, who’s now a good friend.
Over the last two years, Kropp’s found work as a sideman guitarist, performing with the likes of Tanya Tucker, Kristen Kelly and Josh Dorr. He’s assembled a band of talented musicians to join him Saturday when he returns home to celebrate the release of Coming Up For Air at East Village.
Local rootsy rockers American Trashbird and longtime singer-songwriter Linda Arceo kick off the festivities.
Taylor Kropp CD Release Show, American Trashbird and Linda Arceo 7pm Saturday, Sept. 23. East Village Coffee Lounge, 498 Washington St., Monterey. $5. eastvillagecoffeelounge.com.