Music has become a powerful catalyst for healing because it touches the very core of our souls. The emotional, mental and spiritual ties it has to the health of our physical bodies and mental health is one that every man, woman and child can relate to, and when singer-songwriter/guitarist, Joe Taylor set foot into The Rivington House, a healthcare facility in New York City, which provides interactive and holistic services to patients living with HIV/Aids, his voice and solid finger strumming resonated throughout the three floors he visited. The patients flocked from their rooms into the hallways to hear the sounds coming from a musician who has dedicated his time to patients, so that they can immerse themselves into a world where discrimination does not exist. As stated in an in-depth interview by The Examiner, “music has been sewn into the core of Joe Taylor’s personal tapestry and it has become as imperative as air, food and water. Music is the phenomenon of which has taken him whole. It has separated him and at the same time fastened him in to the experiences and feelings in a world that he has created for himself. It is the essence of life itself which compels him as a musician to strive to create and share his passions with the universe. And as big as the universe may same, Joe Taylor’s passionate, resonating voice will carry him to the end and back.”
Taylor recently joined forces with Musicians On Call, a not-for-profit organization, based in New York City, which recruits musicians on a voluntary basis to bring music to patients in hospitals who need it the most.
While accompanied by his agent, Sandy and Jerry, volunteer guides for Musicians On Call, Taylor filled the air with holiday tunes, such as “Winter Wonderland,” Jingle Bell Rock” and “Frosty the Snowman.” The most requested songs from the patients were for The Rolling Stones and The Beatles. Taylor also treated a patient to “Possible,” an original song off of his CD, Anything’s Possible. Just goes to show rock and roll is just as alive today as it ever was. The patient’s smiles were endless as they clapped and danced from their wheelchairs and beds. Taylor’s rendition of “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey, was the perfect way to end the evening as Taylor’s voice took those bed-bound patients on a journey. A journey without ever having to physically move their bodies, patients whose eyes remained closed, they were able to visualize places never imagined and for those whose bodies were physically there but there state of being was elsewhere, the music penetrated deep within their bones.
That night Taylor’s singing and guitar playing allowed these patients to take control of their health by stirring up their innermost feelings and senses and tapping into parts unlike anything else. It was an energy that moved some to tears and perhaps sparked a memory.
The magic of music that was created by Taylor that night was never complex or compromising. After having spent two and a half hours at the facility, Joe emotionally states, “There was something very special last night when I walked into Rivington House. I wasn’t sure what I’d find and who I would meet, but it turned out to be a magical experience. Singing for a crowd who I knew were suffering from a pandemic that was debilitating them from the inside out. To see the happiness in their eyes made me feel very good. As time passed that night, we walked up to different floors and I just wanted to keep singing. This experience has given spark to my perspective. The perspective of the great gift we all have been given…it’s called LIFE.”
We live in an age where medicine is depending more on science and technology. Visually, healing should look like quarter notes and treble clefs. Not molecular or empirical structures. Modern medicine has yet to fully comprehend the healing power music has. It treats the whole person, not just the body.
For Joe Taylor it was about making a difference for the fifty five patients at The Rivington House he visited, who live in isolation and pain. He took them to a level of comfort, dependence and empowerment. His music makes it possibly the world’s most powerful tool. You can have a medicine cabinet overflowing with small, round solid masses of unpleasant tastes, which target a specific problem. A musical medicine cabinet is filled with a variety of cures with tastes that will satisfy any patient.
We love musicians that can make us want to move, to dance and to feel alive through the motions in our bodies. It matters not who or what is in fashion or who won for Best Actor; all that is important is the fact there exists music which is, inspiring, calming, invigorating, life-affirming, positive, beautiful, healing, awakening and therapeutic and based upon the affirmation of love as an effective foundation within every note and expression as they cut through the hearing and enter the human experiences. When we are stirred to the core of our being and paralyzed as a result; when we reach a musical cleansing, no matter what our taste or genre we desire, but one which brings to us the euphoria of a musical turning point, where we are elevated to infinite tears, we are experiencing music of a healing nature, and it's musicians like Joe Taylor and organizations like Musicians On Call that make it possible.