Reprinted from Cashbox Magazine by Don Graham – Toronto’s  annual Winterfolk Blues and Roots Music Festival is a combination of paid and free concert stages on the Danforth, February 13 – 15, 2015. It’s an all-ages, mid-winter, weatherproof event, where you’ll find the best of urban, blues, rock, jazz, country, folk and roots music, emulating a multi-stage rural summer festival. More than 150 artists will be performing at four venues and five stages over three days of the long Family Day weekend. The festival will also include special tribute events, an awards ceremony,

Julian Taylor

Julian Taylor

community stages and various themed musical workshops with something for everyone to enjoy. Winterfolk is the ideal event for music-lovers seeking new and exciting things to do in the Toronto. It takes place at • Black Swan Tavern on two stages, 154 Danforth Ave., at  Dora Keogh Irish Pub, 141 Danforth Ave , Terri O’ 185 Danforth Ave and Globe Bistro, upstairs lounge 124 Danforth Avenue.

For  singer/songwriter/entertainer Julian Taylor the annual WinterFolk  coming to Toronto is like coming home for Julian Taylor. “Years ago I worked behind the bar at Dora Keogh’s Bar on the Danforth. I would be serving drinks to patrons and the entertainers that came through for the Annual Winterfolk event and taking it all in.  Now I’m on the other side of the bar performing at the event. It’s a special feeling.” This year Taylor will be a featured performer on this prestigious event.

Julian comes from a musical family and his first instrument was the piano. “My Dad played piano and I started playing piano and singing in the church choir at around age 5. According to my parents I was always musically inclined.  I use to make up melodies and stories all the time.  My entire family is full of musicians and singers so it was very natural for me and I had a very good ear.  When I was four years old Michael Jackson released Thriller and that was it.  Nothing else mattered.  I had the glove, the socks, the red leather zipper jacket, black loafers and black trouser flood pants.  There was no turning back after that vinyl pressing hit the airwaves and poured into our home.”

When asked about the first concert he ever attended he says,  “The first concert that I ever attended was The Jackson’s Victory tour.  I was four years old.  My Dad took me to see them at Exhibition Place in Toronto.  We followed them like a bunch of deadheads to Buffalo and Detroit.  My father and I later went to go see The Grateful Dead in Maryland after my taste in music had shifted ten years later.  I remember him buying me a tie dye shirt that had a bottle of vodka on it and the writing on the tee said Absolute Dead.  I loved that shirt. It was a hit at overnight camp and the late night campfire sessions we had.”
Some of Julian’s earliest memories of him and his band?

“I remember playing a lot of little places around Toronto and honing our chops there.  I was very young when I started jamming.  I was no more than 14 years old when I started playing in clubs and bars under-age. I used to play at this little cafe/bar called The Corner Cafe on the regular.  The owner made a deal with us kids.  We played there once a week and in return he would let us store our gear in the basement and rehearse there every day.  It was a pretty wild scene we created – under-age kids playing for their under-age friends. We were living the dream.  There was one night when the famous Eddie Shack of the 67′ Maple Leafs actually came into the bar because he lived nearby.  We were so excited that there was someone famous was in the audience.  I remember walking up to him and asking him what he thought of the band.  He replied with simply “the music is garbage, keep practicing or just give up”. It was fantastic! So we practiced, and on my 19th birthday I ended up playing The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern for the very first time.”
Keep your eyes and ears open for Julian Taylor  – he will a force to be reckoned with for years to come in the pop and folk music scene.  And be sure to check him out at the 13th annual Toronto Winterfolk at Dora Keoghs.

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