If you go
What: B.E. Taylor Christmas Concert
When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday
Where: The Clay Center
Cost: $28.50 to $48.50
Info: www.theclaycenter.org or 304-561-3570
B.E. Taylor knows his fans have certain expectations for his annual Christmas show.
So he walks a careful line between offering something fresh and not messing with tradition.
"There are certain songs I cannot take out of the show, or you'd be hearing about how B.E. was held down when they shaved his head," he said, laughing. "What we do is a tweak here and a tweak there. I love that kind of change."
It's the very thing that started Taylor's Christmas career in the early 1990s when his remake of "Silent Night" for a radio station went viral.
For Wednesday's concert at the Clay Center, Taylor will feature releases from his third CD, "B.E. Taylor Christmas 3."
"This year we've added some new things, and they're quite obvious — these aren't little tweaks," he said.
Let the fans know: This means change.
"You can't just keep adding without taking out or you'd have a Bruce Springsteen concert that lasts three or four hours," Taylor said. What stays in, of course, are those songs fans come to expect each year, including "Silent Night."
Taylor's arrangements are informed by his broad musical interests. He enjoys going to concerts when he has time and the last couple of years says he's seen Paul McCartney, Sade, Diana Krall and Bryan Adams.
"I was going to see Bonnie Raitt at Heinz Hall (in Pittsburgh), but I couldn't get there," he said. "I try to go to various shows. There are so many talented people. I listen to a lot of music — I'm not stuck in one bag.
"And that's just like the Christmas albums. I may do 'Angels We Have Heard On High' with a Middle Eastern feel or 'Mary's Boy Child' in a calypso style."
Taylor, who grew up listening to Motown and Beatles, says he stays tuned to contemporary stars as well.
"As far as my favorite singers today, I think Adele is amazing. Bruno Mars is one of the newest exciting singers for me. I've always tuned into vocalists," he said.
The Christmas tour began Dec. 5 in Taylor's home state of Pennsylvania and continues through Dec. 21. West Virginia shows take place in Morgantown, Wheeling and Charleston, where Taylor said he's looking forward to a return trip to the Clay Center.
"That's a beautiful venue. We played it for the first time last year," he said. "From the stage, seeing all those boxes, I feel like I'm at Carnegie Music Hall."
Contact writer Monica Orosz at mon...@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-4830.