Julian Taylor has followed up his Juno-nominated album, The Ridge, with a new single
Juno nominee Julian Taylor released a band new single on Friday, the first since his most recent album, The Ridge, earned two Juno nods and a Canadian Folk Music Award for Solo Artist of the Year and was longlisted for the Polaris Prize.
The song is a cover of “100 Proof,” written by a friend of Julian’s, Toronto-based musician Tyler Ellis.
The single bridges the gap between The Ridge, and Julian’s next album, currently a work in progress.
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.
“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.”
It tips a hat to the legendary standard “Freight Train” by Elizabeth Cotton, and Julian delivers a beautiful rendition, produced by Tim Abraham with David Woodhead on bass and Jason Fowler on guitar.
“‘100 Proof’ was written in late May of 2020,” Tyler said. “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.”
Prior to the release of “100 Proof,” Julian had teamed up with director Kim Tarlo and producers Set Or Sail to create a video for the song “Ballad of a Young Troubadour” as a thanks to his many fans, who were so supportive of the The Ridge. The video features Julian performing the song at some of his favourite Toronto venues in his Danforth/East York neighbourhood – including the aforementioned Dora Keogh, Sauce, and The Linsmore Tavern.
Julian is currently hard at work on a new album, which is tentatively scheduled for release in the spring of 2022, and he’s extra excited 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.