Julian Taylor’s rich warm tones are here put to work delivering the uplifting ‘100 Proof’ which was written by a friend of his, Toronto-based musician Tyler Ellis. It acts as a bridge between Taylor’s last album, the very excellent ‘The Ridge‘, and his next album which should be out in Spring of 2022. It’s a new song that tips a knowing wink to Elizabeth Cotton’s ‘Freight Train‘, Tyler Ellis intended it as something of an antidote to bad news, as he explained “‘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.”
Julian Taylor heard it first on a live stream from Dora Keogh Irish Pub’s in Toronto, where he had in years past hosted the open-mic. As he explains it: “I attended one of the live-stream events. 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.”
At 17, inspired by the likes of Dylan, Kerouac, and Richie Havens, Julian Taylor spent one summer travelling across America by Greyhound bus, train, and hitchhiking, busking to pay his way – and in 2022 he’s going to revisit a little of that wanderlust by appearing at Celtic Connections – his first UK gig. There’ll be a UK tour in February following this.