Julian Taylor Set To Release Retrospective Album, ‘Anthology Vol. 1’, on October 20
Julian Taylor Set To Release Retrospective Album, Anthology Vol. 1, on October 20, 2023
Collection mines Taylor’s musical past and includes 18 total tracks, three of which are new recordings
Photo credit: Travis Silverman
(For immediate release) – Award-winning, Toronto-based Americana/folk singer-songwriter Julian Taylor plans to share a new retrospective album on October 20, 2023. Entitled Anthology Vol. 1, it will be released via Taylor’s custom Howling Turtle, Inc. label, with distribution via Warner Music/ADA, on all major digital platforms; a limited double-vinyl edition is expected to follow later in the year.
In addition to the 15 vintage tracks he’s curated here, Taylor has added a trio of all-new songs exclusive to Anthology Vol. 1 that serve to bridge the gap between those historical roots of yore and the forward-leaning songwriting template he forged during the making of his two most recent solo LPs, 2020’s highly acclaimed The Ridge (which garnered Taylor’s anointing as Solo Artist of the Year at the Canadian Folk Music Awards) and 2022’s equally lauded Beyond the Reservoir. Each of these three new tracks — the reflective singalong drive of ‘Georgia Moon‘, the transient travelogue that is ‘City Song‘, and the plaintive acceptance of ‘Long Time Ago’ — confirm Taylor’s ever-upward creative trajectory.
Tracking the full arc of his career from the formative days as a member of Staggered Crossing to the genesis of his own Julian Taylor Band collective to his ultimate transformation into a soothsaying solo artiste of the highest caliber, the album explores Taylor’s visceral storytelling, which has long been a primary focus for him as a songwriter. “With my words, I’ve always attempted to make sure that what people are hearing, they can also see,” he explains. “That’s how I write most of my lyrics. The main things I focus on as a songwriter are visual lyrics and life lessons. I write a lot about heartbreak and love. I try to write mostly about the human condition because I think that’s my job.”
Taylor plans three singles from Anthology Vol. 1, all of which are the newly recorded tracks. ‘Georgia Moon’ was already released as the first single from the collection on July 26th. Says Taylor of the song, “This is one of the first songs that I wrote when I was still in high school and my band was starting to do some shows in and around the city. I remember really focusing on writing this song from a third person point of view and trying to convey a tale that took place in a sort of Wild West, modern romantic era. Even though the song is very dark, it doesn’t come off that way. It tells the tale of a bandit and someone chasing him all over the Eastern Seaboard. I used to play this song frequently at open stages, and it went over really well. It was never officially recorded before this, and, as I reflect on much of my work, it felt like the right time to go back into the studio and finally nail it down.”
The second single, ‘City Song’, was released on September 8th. “I was inspired to write this song once I started traveling with my first band,” Taylor explains. “I knew that we weren’t anywhere for long, and that made me weary. I had not anticipated that life on the road would be so tough and so unglamorous. It’s a song about trying to justify being away, and my own desire to explore a world that I hadn’t yet, but also partially regretting the way that I had chosen to do it. We’d travel from city to city and never really get to see much except for the four walls of clubs and bars. It speaks to the condition of being young and having a dream that just isn’t what you thought it would be. We weren’t making ends meet, and it was quite a frightening reality check. Yet, at the same time, I don’t think that I cared too much because I was still living a dream that I had created for myself, one where I told myself to believe in my own lies.”
The third single is the focus track that will be promoted in tandem with the album release on October 20th. Entitled ‘Long Time Ago’, it is, according to Taylor, “a song that I wrote years ago with my friend Robert Priest. It conveys themes of lasting impact, continuity, and the influence of past actions. Whether those actions were positive or negative, they all have a lasting effect. Sometimes our choices can be deemed right or wrong, but their effects continue to affect the individual. ‘Long Time Ago’ speaks to the idea that these effects remain, even if they might not always be immediately apparent.”
As he combed through each Anthology Vol. 1 selection, Taylor reconnected with his earlier releases, weighing which songs he wanted to present as a cohesive whole on this collection to represent his work. The DNA found within the myriad Staggered Crossing and Julian Taylor Band selections that reside on Anthology Vol. 1 reflects the artist who Taylor has always embodied, ever since the literal jump. “It’s been so interesting to go back and listen to those early songs, since some of them connect with The Ridge. Actually, it’s like going beyond The Ridge,” he muses. “People will ask me, ‘When did you start doing country folk?’ And I’m like, ‘From the beginning.’”
While committing to the songs that appear on this anthology certainly planted a flag for where Taylor came from as a developing songwriter, the Vol. 1 portion of the album title suggests his best work is yet to have bloomed. His creativity continues to flow like a raging river and his artistic aura stands tall and sturdy like a mighty maple does in the forest — in effect, reflecting the descriptive physical locales and elemental embodiments that are also waypoint hallmarks to be found all throughout Anthology Vol. 1. “It just happened naturally — my writing about earth, air, and space,” he confirms. “It’s always been my place to talk about those things.”
It’s yet another way Taylor continues to connect with his ever-expanding audience. “I’m having a personal conversation with the listener,” he concludes. “Sometimes, just being honest is the most important thing. What really stands out in my career — from the music side of things and even from the business side of things, since I’ve been managing myself and my career for over two decades — is that I am authentically and uniquely Julian Taylor.” In that respect, Anthology Vol. 1 is a rich sonic chronicle that defines the singular artist Julian Taylor has both been, and is, still becoming.
Even when he’s busy recording and touring, Taylor remains busy with his long-running, weekly, three-hour radio show, Julian Taylor’s Jukebox. Taylor recently entered into a distribution agreement for the show with Native Voice One (NV1), the Native public radio distribution service which links over 200 stations across North America to Native radio programming, from reservation and village-based stations to top-market urban radio stations. Taylor’s show joins a leading stable of producers whose programming educates, advocates, and celebrates Indigenous life and values. “This is a very exciting development for me and my production team,” says Taylor. “It demonstrates that our weekly, genre-defying, three-hour musical journey, focusing on BIPOC and independent artists like myself, really resonates with listeners who are looking for something special out of radio.” The concept for Julian Taylor’s Jukebox comes from the Rowe AMI vintage jukebox in Taylor’s home, inviting listeners to hear what he would play for them if they were hanging out with him in his living room. Approximately 70% of the music Taylor plays every week is from BIPOC artists. The new distribution agreement with NV1 promises to bring The Jukebox, as the show is colloquially known, into many more homes from coast to coast on the North American continent and Hawaii.
Further afield, Taylor completed a successful UK tour over the summer during which he gained many new fans – Jeremy Vine of BBC Radio 2 proclaimed that Taylor is “an incredible, profound, thoughtful, musical genius” on X while at his show in London. He also treated Canadian audiences to stunning performances at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival and the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) in Toronto in August. Taylor is currently touring in Canada, and fans can follow him on social media and his website for announcements of additional tour dates.
Anthology Vol. 1 – track listing
1. Long Time Ago (*)
2. City Song (*)
3. Georgia Moon (*)
4. Seeds (^)
5. Ballad of a Young Troubadour (#)
6. Back Again (@)
7. Sweeter (@)
8. Set Me Free (+)
9. Just a Little Bit (+)
10. Bobbi Champagne (+)
11. Zero to Eleven (**)
12. Never Gonna Give You Up (**)
13. Be Good to Your Woman (**)
14. Carry Me Home (**)
15. Roll Away the Tears (^^)
16. Perfect Prize (##)
17. Business as Usual (@@)
18. Time’s Made Up My Mind (++)
*denotes new track recorded for Anthology Vol. 1, Julian Taylor, 2023
^denotes track from Beyond the Reservoir, Julian Taylor, 2022
#denotes track from The Ridge, Julian Taylor, 2020
@denotes track from Avalanche, Julian Taylor Band, 2019
+denotes track from Desert Star, Julian Taylor Band, 2016
**denotes track from Tech Noir, Julian Taylor Band, 2014
^^denotes track from Blank Tape Levy, Blank Tape Levy, 2009
##denotes track from Burgundy & Blue, Staggered Crossing, 2004
@@denotes track from Last Summer When We Were Famous, Staggered Crossing, 2002
++denotes track from 4 Song (Extended Play), Staggered Crossing, 2000
ABOUT JULIAN 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 America to Australia to the UK. 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. In 2023, Taylor received a nomination in the Country Music Association of Ontario Awards in the Roots Artist of the Year category, and a further nomination for a Juno Award in the Contemporary Indigenous Artist of the Year category.
Taylor is a major label veteran, Toronto music scene staple, and musical chameleon. His versatility as a songwriter is signature; one minute he’s onstage playing with his band spilling out electrified rhythm and blues glory, and the next he’s featured at a folk festival delivering a captivating solo singer-songwriter set. Formerly associated with the band Staggered Crossing, he has continued to record and perform as a solo artist and has released twelve studio albums since 2001. With his songs being placed in such TV shows as Haven, Private Eyes, Kim’s Convenience, Degrassi: The Next Generation, and Elementary, his versatility as a songwriter is signature. He has had four albums on the long list of the Polaris Prize in Canada and has charted on several Canadian and Indigenous Music Charts. Two songs from The Ridge album, the title track ‘The Ridge’, and ‘Human Race’, went to #1 on the Indigenous Music Countdown, while the Julian Taylor Band song ‘Back Again’ hit #3 on the same chart.
Taylor is as explosive and captivating a live performer as you’ll ever see. He has toured Canada and the U.S. countless times, sharing the stage with the likes of Serena Ryder, Blue Rodeo, William Prince, AHI, Rodney Crowell, Keb’ Mo’, and has performed at the Festival d’Été de Quebec, the Mariposa Folk Festival, Ottawa BluesFest, and more. Taylor was extremely honored to perform at not one but two Olympic Games, in Salt Lake City and Vancouver.