Submitted by Sandy Graham
Award-winning, Toronto-based singer-songwriter Julian Taylor is set to release his next album, the powerful and engaging Beyond the Reservoir, on October 14, 2022, via his Howling Turtle, Inc. label, with distribution via Warner Music/ADA. For more information please visit any of the links below or Taylor’s website: https://juliantaylormusic.ca/
Beyond the Reservoir’s name is grounded in a specific geographical touchstone Taylor recalls from the days of his teenage youth in Toronto. “I used to hang out at a place called the St. Clair Reservoir,” he says. “If my last album, The Ridge, was a childhood record in a lot of ways, Beyond the Reservoir is an adolescence record – a coming-of-age story – about moving into adulthood. It addresses identity, loss, sadness, hope, and redemption, and the themes of resilience, courage, and strength. It has this infinite sadness to it, but it also has this infinite hope to it as well.”
In May, Taylor shared a performance video for one of the album’s songs, “Murder 13” – that features a starkly restless narrative – in which he played it solo, onstage at the renowned El Mocambo club in Toronto. It was released to coincide with the 2022 Folk Alliance International conference in Kansas City. He then released the first official single from Beyond the Reservoir, “S.E.E.D.S,” a song with the thought-provoking key line – inspired by the murder of George Floyd and the widespread news of residential school abuses in Canada – “They tried to bury us, but they didn’t know we were seeds.” The song premiered at PopMatters, and a planned music video will be released soon. The no-holds-barred reclamation declarations of “Stolen Lands” continues the theme,along with the freedom and wisdom celebrated in “I Am a Tree.”
Moving forward, “Wide Awake,” a bittersweet beauty of a song, about embracing one’s ingrained familial experiences, with the catchiest chorus that Taylor has yet written, will be released on Aug. 12, premiering at Glide magazine. “Opening the Sky,” written as a treatise for his pre-teen daughter to champion the idea of how you can do anything, no matter what the universe throws at you, will follow as single three, with a scheduled release date of Sept. 16. “Murder 13,” a touching account of the tragic loss of a dear friend of his youth, will then officially be released as a single in tandem with the album release on Oct. 14.
“I really enjoyed writing and producing this new album,” Taylor says. “I dug down deep. It’s extremely personal like my last record, and I’ve taken that to heart. It took me longer to write this piece of art, and I think that I was learning and teaching myself so many things along the way. I’ve realized that by sharing my personal truth and the stories of my life, as they are and were, is a real gift to myself and to others. It’s not easy to love ourselves, and it’s not easy to love in general. I have a difficult time with it, and as I shed my own skin to reveal that kind of vulnerability, I find it connects me to the human experience in a more meaningful way.”
“Ultimately, I hope my work helps people relate to their own humanity,” says Taylor.
Toronto-based singer-songwriter Julian Taylor has been part of the musical fabric and landscape in Canada for two decades. Taylor enjoyed a breakthrough year in 2020, when his second solo acoustic album, The Ridge, earned more than five million plays on Spotify, praise from press worldwide, and airplay from Canada and the U.S. to Australia and the U.K. Loaded with soulful Americana and country twang, the album was produced by Taylor himself and Saam Hashemi, and was recorded at The Woodshed in Toronto. In addition to winning Taylor Solo Artist of the Year at the Canadian Folk Music Awards, The Ridge was also nominated for: two JUNO Awards (Contemporary Folk Album of The Year, Indigenous Artist or Group of the Year), the Polaris Prize Long List, a Summer Solstice Indigenous Award (Contemporary Folk Album of the Year), a Canadian Music Week INDIES Award (Indigenous Artist of the Year), and an additional Canadian Folk Music Awards nomination in the English Songwriter of the Year category. The nominations and awards kept coming in 2022, with Taylor winning Best Male Artist in the International Acoustic Music Awards, and scoring five Native American Music Award nominations.
Taylor is conscious and proud of his mixed Black and Mohawk heritage. “I come from two strong oral traditions and cultures,” he says. “One was stolen from their land and brought here and the other had their land stolen. It’s been an uphill battle ever since and the fight is far from over… I did not grow up on a reservation. I have strong roots in Kahnawake, which is a reservation in Québec, Canada. I have family there and I’ve been visiting since I could crawl.“