Julian Taylor @ The Musician Venue, Leicester, UK.

Cambridge Folk Festival Folk Artist of the Year Julian Taylor on Vinyl


Roots Folk SInger Julian Taylor

It’s the 12th February and I’m about to meet Julian in Leicester on the last day of his UK tour. Julian Taylor is a Canadian, a Canadian of Mohawk and Caribbean descent. By his own description he is a mongrel, yet conversely with his dreadlocks and Fedora, exudes more presence, character and pedigree than 99% of people I've met.

From Toronto, Julian tells me his influences, like his own music, are wide and diverse. He points to some photographs on the wall of our surrundings - music royalty - the likes of Hendrix, REM, Buena Vista Social Club, Peter Green,and  Richie Havens. 

Elodie’s question: The Beatles or Stones?

My 8-year-old daughter has asked me to ask him the classic question. He describes the Stones as a freight train of chemistry, everlasting rock but ultimately The Beatles were more innovative and had a much bigger impact in a short amount of time. His deep theology starts to appear as he talks about how The Beatles tapped into a spirituality that was bigger than themselves, along with Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Cat Stevens, Bill Withers and Jim Croce.

As always I asked my guest for his 5 albums to save in the event of an escapable apocalypse:

Beats, Rhymes and Life – A Tribe Called Quest.

In a Silent Way – Miles Davis.

 Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee – Eponymous.

 Pirate’s choice – Orchestra Baobob

 TIED - Exile on MainStreet/Communique – Stones/Dire Straits.

I wasn’t too familiar with the latter choices but I concur they are fantastic albums, go check them out.

His off-radar recommendations to check out are: William Prince, Lydia Persaud and Ron Hynes who was huge in Canada but lesser known across the pond.

Before he takes to the stage he finishes his glass of wine and talks about how he is the product of 1,000 years of love and how grateful and privileged he is to do what he does. A humble and reflective man.

Review: Julian Taylor at The Musician, Leicester.

If you’ve ever seen Bruce Springsteen performing his Broadway show on Netflix (and if you haven’t do it) then watching Julian Taylor takes you on a similar journey. A voice just as impressive as The Boss and a tale to tell before each song that makes it more of an experience than a gig and right up my street.

Folk-rock to many but his brand, if you were to give him one, is as a Roots singer.

From the traditional Ridge, a nostalgic and whimsical narrative of times gone by to the powerful, soulful and beautifully sung Seeds, an incredibly beautiful story inspired by the tragic discovery of the remains of 215 indigenous children at a school in Canada. Julian’s performance is full of soul and his musicianship is a marriage made in heaven to his beautiful Taylor (of course) acoustic guitar. Wide Awake is another exceptionally personal and authentic song, Desert Star is another straight from the heart - they all are. This, so far, is 'A' grade folk rock roots music but he has a cheekier more fun side too with the Bright and Bluesy Sweeter, the sexy Bobbi Champagne, the sunny almost surf style Just a Little Bit and the funky Why would you do that?


The thing is, Bruce Springsteen by his own admission wrote a lot using his imagination and putting himself into the shoes of others. Julian Taylor is more personal, more authentic and as a result has become one of Canada's most important singer songwriters.

Strangely I felt quite affected and reflective after the gig. He’d quoted the Stoic philosopher Zeno who said we have 2 ears and one mouth and all need to listen more, and he also said being judgemental is an act of lateral violence. That stuck with me. I’ve gradually learnt to be less judgemental the older I’ve got and it’s brought me peace. It’s good to know there are musicians out there spreading this kind of message through rock ‘n’ roll. I haven’t even mentioned my favourite song of his 100 Proof.

Needless to say he performs with such aplomb that he now has several Juno Award nominations under his belt.

Julian Taylor - Beyond The Reservoir VinylIf you ever get the chance to see him then go, you will not regret it, and you may just feel a little bit better about life afterwards.

Edit: Julian is currently racking up millions of listens on Spotify and is getting bigger and bigger. He is currently on his tour of Europe but will be back in the UK on 27th -30th July 2023 at the Cambridge Folk Festival.  

 His latest album Beyond The Reservoir is out now on vinyl and can be purchased here at River Soar Records.  

Older Post Newer Post