Submitted by Don Graham
Kindness! Sounds so simple and easy but is not as common as you would think, or as it should be, in today’s world. Award-winning Canadian artist Julian Taylor has released a new single that speaks right to that issue. The song “100 Proof,” was written by Julian’s good friend and occasional co-writer Tyler Ellis. Julian first met Tyler while performing at various open stages around Toronto. In 2016, both musicians took over the hosting duties at Dora Keogh Irish Pub’s “Riverboat Mondays” until Julian’s exodus a few years ago. During the pandemic, the open stage continued online.
Check out “100 Proof” by Julian Taylor on YouTube here: https://youtu.be/qwb3ygDP6o0
Julian is a mega talent and crosses over to different genres with ease and grace, his highly acclaimed 2020 LP The Ridge earned him eight nominations in 2020 and 2021, including those for two JUNO Awards, the Polaris Long List, and two Canadian Folk Music Awards, in which he won Solo Artist of the Year. The single “100 Proof” will bridge the gap between albums as Julian finishes and fine tunes his next project.
On the song “100 Proof”, Julian delivers a beautiful vocal on a great production by Tim Abraham with David Woodhead on bass and Jason Fowler on guitar. Fowler gives a tip of the hat to Elizabeth Cotton’s Freight Train with superb finger picking. Julian and Jason have a connection Julian was unaware of. “I was playing an event with Jason and he said my Mom wants to meet you. I walked over to her and realized Jason’s Mom was my Gym teacher in school. Small world.”
For a talented songwriter like Julian to cover a song by another writer, you know that song is special. “I attended one of the live-stream events,” Julian said. “I first heard this song when Tyler played it for everyone from his kitchen via Zoom, and I instantly fell in love with it and had to cover it.”
Tyler says of the song, “‘100 Proof” was written in late May of 2020.The news was not good. In fact, it was shocking, as Black Lives Matter protests of George Floyd’s murder were escalating and images and stories of cruelty and hatred and evil were everywhere. Oh, and the potential of being killed by an invisible enemy was also on the menu, along with the social isolation that that threat brought us all… So this song for me was a bit of an antidote to all that and a bit of a guide for somehow managing it all. . It says, essentially, that telling the truth about how you feel is ok; asking for help is ok; oh, and like Jackie DeShannon said, let “kindness be your guide.”
The song is a reminder that it’s OK to not be OK and the solution to the problem is within you. Slow down and ask for help if you need it. It’s not a sign of weakness.
Before the release of “100 Proof,” Julian and director Kim Tarlo teamed up with producers Set Or Sail to create a video for Julian’s song “Ballad of a Young Troubadour” from The Ridge as an acknowledgement to his many fans, who were so supportive of The Ridge. The video features Julian performing the song at some of his favourite Toronto venues in his Danforth/East York neighbourhood – including Dora Keogh, Sauce, and The Linsmore Tavern.
Check out “Ballad of a Young Troubadour” on YouTube here: https://youtu.be/dn_rFBQYWfE
“The point I hope I made in the video is we’re coming back. No more empty seats ” says Julian. ” and come see us on Thursday, November 18 @ 8:00 pm, Kitchener’s Centre in the Square Celebrates its 40th Anniversary w/ Julian Taylor & Friends.”
Julian is currently crafting his follow up album to The Ridge tentatively set for release in the spring of 2022, and he’s getting stoked preparing for Glasgow’s annual folk, roots and world music festival Celtic Connections which marks his first live performance across the pond, with a subsequent tour of the U.K.
Julian Taylor is a bright light that is shining through the fog of the past 18 months. Head for the light my friends and be kind.
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