Home Feature Pat Chessell talks to Julian Taylor ahead of his Edmonton Folk Music...

Pat Chessell talks to Julian Taylor ahead of his Edmonton Folk Music Festival appearance

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Julian Taylor.

I discover a good amount of new music through listening to the CBC every morning. One artist I discovered through that channel is Julian Taylor.

A song of his, “Just a Little Bit,” was getting a lot of airplay a few years back; it was catchy enough to make me want to learn more about who was singing it.

I became hooked on Julian’s music and have been following his career ever since.

His single “100 Proof” was nominated for a 2023 Canadian Folk Music Award.

He is currently on tour in the UK but I was able to have a quick phone chat with him and discuss his upcoming appearance at the Edmonton Folk Festival.

Julian Taylor’s musical career has spanned more than 25 years. When asked what drew him to a life in music, he cites the mysticism behind the stories in songs; he had a keen interest in exploring them and the musicians who created them.

One thing I particularly enjoy about Julian is that when listening to his music, one can tell there are many styles that influence his sound.

I was curious if there was a single musician or two that was a big influence for his music.

“I wouldn’t say there’s certain musicians I’m influenced by. I’m influenced by everyone I encounter,” he told me.

I found that answer very intriguing. If you listen to his music, you’ll understand what he means. Julian Taylor’s music tells the stories of everyday people in a variety of styles.

I’m always curious about the approach a songwriter takes. Julian told me how he used to begin to craft a song by writing the melody and chords but how that has changed.

“As time goes by, I’ve also started with the lyrics,” he said. “Sometimes people send me lyrics to set to music, too.”

Overall, it seems he takes different approaches depending on the song.

I always like to ask songwriters what other acts they are currently listening to.

“I’d recommend Michele Stodart and the Moulettes to your readers,” Julian told me. Both acts are available on digital streaming platforms.

We also had a quick discussion on the problems facing the music industry these days. Both of us were in agreement that musicians need to be properly valued for what they contribute to society.

“A lot of artists live under the poverty line and that’s not right,” he said.

Moving forward, musicians need to be paid acceptably for their performances and recorded work.

In his spare time, Julian can be found fishing, hiking, and spending time in nature. He also enjoys hitting the ice.

“I played a lot of hockey, so I was grateful to have the opportunity to play in the Juno Cup,” he said of the charity game leading up to the Juno Awards, in which musicians and athletes come together to raise money for MusiCounts.

Other musicians involved included Jim Cuddy, Aysanabee, and Ryan Gullen (The Sheepdogs).

Dare I say, Julian Taylor is one of my favourite acts on the Canadian folk music scene right now. If you’re going to the Edmonton Folk Music Festival, be sure to check out his set. If you’re unable to make it there, keep an eye out for him appearing at a venue near you soon.

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