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Kurth & Taylor at Mountain State Apple Harvest Festival

October 14, 1997

By TERI JOHNSON

Staff Writer

If you think the lives of country music partners Wally Kurth and Christian Taylor are like something you'd see on a soap opera, you're right.

They made their first record in Taylor's bedroom, and they turned Kurth's garage into a recording studio.

Two thousand miles now separate the duo billed as Kurth & Taylor, but they've been going the distance for years.

On Monday Kurth was at home in Los Angeles, and Taylor was at his new place in Nashville, Tenn., but when Friday rolls around, they'll be together in Martinsburg, W.Va., for a starring role at Mountain State Apple Harvest Festival.

The two will appear at the Queen's Reception at the Holiday Inn Friday night, and they'll be celebrity grand marshals in the Grand Feature Parade Saturday. Saturday night the two acoustic guitar players and songwriters will fill in during breaks in Rick K and the All Nighters' performance at the Soroptimist Grand Ball.

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The guitarist in their band, Pat McCormack, will join them Sunday for an acoustic performance at West Virginia Air National Guard base.

Weekends on the road have become their way of life.

Kurth portrays Ned Ashton in the ABC soap opera "General Hospital," which keeps him busy filming three or four days a week.

"On weekends I go out and do the band thing," Kurth said.

Kurth, who said he's in his 30s but feels like he's 17, has been with "General Hospital" for six years and also has appeared on "Days of Our Lives."

Kurth & Taylor already was a working band when the producers of "General Hospital" asked the two to appear on the show as Eddie Maine and the Idle Rich.

Kurth said his character no longer has the alter ego of Eddie Maine, a rockin' role in which black leather pants figured prominently.

Taylor said his role as Gene, the band's lead singer until Ned/Eddie came along and unseated him, was trial by fire.

"I'm a bad actor. It wasn't pretty," said Taylor, 36.

As Eddie Maine and the Idle Rich, they gave more than 40 performances for the show's 6 million viewers. Many of those fans now are watching Kurth & Taylor aim for country success.

"A lot of soap fans listen to country music," Kurth said.

They released their fourth album, "Nashville," last month. They produced the album and are marketing it themselves, as they did with their other works, "Sea of Peace," "Kurth & Taylor" and "Half & Half."

In December they will receive an award from the Ryan White Foundation for their Kurth & Taylor Tour for Kids, a concert series that raised $110,000 for the foundation and pediatric AIDS charities.

Both sing lead, and they describe themselves as a harmony-driven, country rock band. They have a production deal with MCA, and Taylor said they hope to release their first album on a label in the next six to eight months.

Taylor, who appeared on "General Hospital" for about three years, said he has no further plans to act.

"I have always been a musician; that's my passion," he said.

Taylor's love of music is shared by his wife of six months, Alicia Taylor, who also is a country singer. The couple moved to Nashville a few weeks ago.

Kurth's wife, actress Rena Sofer, played the popular character Lois on "General Hospital." She now stays at home to care for their two daughters, Meghann, 11, and Rosabel, 1.

Kurth and Taylor's Martinsburg show will include songs that "General Hospital" fans will recognize, including "The Seventh Son" and "The Only One I Love."

Taylor credits country music's popularity to the huge audience disillusioned by today's rock.

"They want songs with good melodies and good lyrics, and country music seems to have all that," he said.

Besides Taylor, Kurth and McCormack, the band includes bassist Lee Beverly, drummer Jim Bloodgood and keyboardist Nick Chetkovich. Taylor said they have had a number of bands over the years and have played together since high school.

"Some guys have a bowling league - we have a band," he said.

***

Kurth & Taylor's albums "Kurth & Taylor," "Half & Half" and "Nashville" are produced independently and are available by calling 1-900-GET-KTNOW.

Cassettes are $9, and CDs are $12.

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