When Jesse Taylor was just a little boy, he used to like to sit around the campfire and sing songs with his father who was a rodeo champion. Little did he know then, that his voice would take him all the way to Dubai to sing for those stationed aboard the USS John C. Stennis.
“It all happened through a very random set of events,” said Taylor, 25, of Arlington, Wash. “I guess the stars aligned just right.”
Taylor will perform while the ship is in port at Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates in mid March. He leaves Arlington Monday to fly commercial airlines to Dubai.
The events that led him to the sailors began when he was working as a trail rider at the Ko’ele Lodge in Lana’i, Hawaii last summer.
“I was leading trail rides and singing in a Four Seasons Hotel,” he said. “The commander of the ship (U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Troy M. Shoemaker) heard me sing and asked me if I’d play for the men and women on his ship.”
Of course his answer was “Yes,” and that led to his visit to Dubai.
Taylor, a 2005 graduate of Arlington High School, has always liked music. And the rodeo. He wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a rodeo star. So he took up team roping and bull riding. But soon, the music took over.
“That makes my mom happy,” he said. “Bull riding is kinda dangerous.”
He kept singing after high school while he worked construction and a stint in a bail bonds office. Taylor then took off on a cross-country journey in 2010, playing in bars from Washington state to Georgia. On the way back, while playing in Montana, he was asked to take the job in Hawaii.
“I’d just walk in any old bar with my guitar and ask if anybody wanted to hear a song,” he said. “I’d play the old country songs and some of my own, too.”
He had a CD that he recorded in his mother’s kitchen at home in Arlington. But after two years playing in Hawaii, he got the opportunity to record a CD, “Out Here in the Country,” in Nashville, at the Blackbird Studio, which is owned by country music star Martina McBride. That CD has 11 songs on it, nine he wrote and two that his father wrote.
His favorite is “Talkin’ About Girls.”
“I was leading this trail ride in Hawaii, and most everybody on it didn’t speak English,” he said. “I just got to thinking about how back in high school my buddy and I use to sit by the (Stillaguamish) river and talk about girls. What came out of that was this song.”
His other favorite is “Rodeo in my Soul,” written by his father.
“I always wanted to record that song,” he said. “Each song on the CD has a story, but this one is special because it’s about my Dad.”
His trip to Dubai is his first time out of the country.
“I’m excited to see the city -- something different from the beach where I’ve been the past two years,” he said. “And I’m excited to play for a new crowd. I want to entertain the servicemen and women as a way of saying thanks for all that they do for us.”
Following the visit to Dubai, Taylor will be back home in Arlington for his CD release party March 23 at Skookum Brewery. The national release of the CD is set for March 26.
He plans a summer tour following the rodeo circuit across the country.
Taylor’s website is www.JesseTaylorMusic.com and his title track is available on iTunes.
The Stennis deployed from Bremerton in August 2012 and is expected back home in late Spring.