Few Toronto artists get me as excited with the news of new music as Julian Taylor does. A musical chameleon, Taylor’s work has come in the shape of rock, funk, pop, and soul, written and performed with an equal level of conviction, quality, and integrity. For his latest solo record, The Ridge, Taylor has taken to a vintage folk approach, making for a stripped-down and exciting record.
Opening with the folk-inspired title track, “The Ridge”, Taylor leads his band with just his rich vocals and the crisp, warm tone of his acoustic guitar. Backed by sparse piano, lightly brushed drums, a slide guitar, and lush backing vocals, “The Ridge” is intimate and sounds like a private concert held in your living room. The Johnny Cash vibes are incredibly strong here and as the album continues to move forward with “The Human Race”, with the nice addition of fiddles and the downtempo “It’s Not Enough”.
Throughout the course of The Ridge, Taylor does not stray from the rootsy tone he has set. With eight beautifully-written songs, each performed with a level of integrity and conviction, Taylor quickly finds a stride that, like all of his previous work, feels organic and genuinely gripping. While there are a number of high points on The Ridge, “Ballad Of A Young Troubadour” and “Love Enough” are definitely among the strongest tracks on the record with their rhythmic pulses, unique melodies, and a vibe that already feels classic.
The Ridge is a soulful reflection that can stand alongside classic folk albums from the likes of Neil Young and Joni Mitchell. This is a collection of music, stripped down to the barest of bones in a manner than draws you in with a sense of intimacy and vulnerability. As a result, Taylor feels fresh while digging deep into his musical roots with a rich sense of artistry, and like always, The Ridge will leave you excited for where his next creative turn will take him.
SPILL ALBUM REVIEW: JULIAN TAYLOR – THE RIDGE