Carol Taylor of West Chester, PA began singing as a typical little girl in her room with a hairbrush “microphone” in her hand to her 45 rpm records on her stereo. Although her musical “training” was actually from 9 years of playing flute and piccolo, singing was always her real passion. Although she didn’t perform vocally in front of a large audience until her 8th grade talent show, in the tenth grade she got her first paid singing “gig” as the soloist at her friend’s older sister’s wedding. It wasn’t until high school that Carol got a tiny taste of being the lead singer in a “garage” band,…. that never played outside the garage! During High School Carol also toured Europe with “American Music Abroad” playing patriot American music on flute and piccolo.
Once she was old enough to get into bars, Carol began to pursue singing in public via the “karaoke circuit”. Eventually, the experience gained by performing karaoke lead to local and national vocal competitions. She won third place in WSTW 93.7’s National Anthem contest in 2002. After submitting a demo CD, Carol was chosen out of hundreds of entrants to compete in the City of Philadelphia’s 2003 “One Great Voice” competition. Singing Martina McBride’s rendition of “Over The Rainbow” acapella, Carol won first place to perform a televised solo at the Philadelphia Flower Show’s opening for their 35th Anniversary Celebration.
Also in 2003, Carol won regional sponsorship to compete in the Talent Quest Karaoke Nationals in Las Vegas, NV, finishing in the top 20 of the Female Country Vocalist category. Shortly thereafter, Carol started singing Contemporary Christian music with the Worship Team with her church band in West Chester. Eventually she received two exciting phone calls. She was requested to sing and record a new theme song for the City of Philadelphia, and was requested to audition for a popular local performing band called “Mr. Green Jeans”.
Reluctantly, Carol had to turn down both opportunities since she was moving to West Palm Beach, Florida. It was there that Carol entered a local radio vocal competition and met Shar Lobsinger, and within a few months, Carol and Shar decided to form a new Country/Rock band named “Steel Pony”. The female co-lead singers and musicians of “Steel Pony” took South Florida by storm. One of Steel Pony’s favorite gigs was a 3-night gig at “Cowboy Bills” in Key West. Carol and Shar’s most exciting vocal duo performance came in performing a harmonic acapella rendition of the National Anthem for two training seasons of the Florida Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Florida.
Another Steel Pony favorite gigs was when Mike Pinera, of “Blues Image” and “Iron Butterfly”, who resides in Jupiter, would frequently perform his hits “Ride Captain Ride” and “Ina Gadda Da Vida” with “Steel Pony” and tell them, “ ‘Iron Butterfly and Steel Pony!’ I like how those names sound together!” Mike Pinera later invited Carol to sing with him on the live video recording of his trial Television Pilot, “What Are Rock Stars Are Doing Now?”. Although the pilot did not get off the ground, it was an intense and exciting moment to sing an acoustic version of “Bring On the Rain” with this celebrity guitarist, one of the very songs he had played with the original recording artist, Jo Dee Messina.
Continuing to challenge herself, Carol entered and won the “South Florida Country Music Association’s” Female Country Vocalist of the year in 2005. While in Florida, Carol took professional vocal lessons from singer, songwriter, and vocal coach Lane Cura Meng. Carol is quoted and referenced in Lane’s recently published book titled “The Top 20 Secrets of Great Singers”, which can be purchased on Amazon.com. They were also able to collaborate and copyright two original songs that were performed by “Steel Pony” and well-received by their local “groupies”.
Carol is very excited to join “forces” again with John Derk after performing together for a couple of years in the band “Haphazard.” After recently leaving the band “Now and Then”, Carol is very excited to get out singing and having fun with the audience again!
John has been part of the Pennsylvania music scene for many years. Growing up in the Susquehanna Valley, he had the opportunity to play in many of the areas local bands. He has played keyboards for local favorites, Jaysenn Grand, Jesse, Full Circle, Topaz, Bryce Canyon, Haphazard, the McKabes and the Jesse Wade Gang. John has shared the stage with national acts such as Lee Greenwood, Tracy Byrd, Jerry Reed, Ricochet, Jason Michael Carroll, and Montgomery Gentry. He has also played keyboards for Marie Levin, a national touring Reba McEntire impersonator, and has had the privilege to play keyboards with Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert.
After working with Carol in Haphazard, John and Carol decided they wanted to form the acoustic duo “For Play”. In addition to keyboards, John also plays guitar, mandolin, flute, harmonica, bass, and drums. John plays all the instruments that For Play uses for their backing tracks.