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Listen up: Joe Taylor
Joe Taylor is torn about how to view his success in the music biz. In one respect it was inevitable. It was there in even his earliest memories, envisioned so often it became obession. Everything he did — studying vocal jazz at Humber College, touring across Canada playing bass and singing back up in a band, then leaving to New York City to strike out on his own — it’s all led to this moment. So he’s not surprised.
But there are still moments. Like, sometimes it hits him that he’s a musician living in New York, a city that has more than its share of talent. He’s scored a deal working with a Grammy-winning producer in Los Angeles and released an album that was a top 10 hit in Canada and now gets to play those songs in front of audiences. He’s hosting a CD release show tonight at Swigg’s, 1440 E. Shaw Ave.
At those moments he can’t help but think "Is this really me?”
Is this the guy who once sold furniture at a department store? The same guy who got his start in New York playing at the Bitter End and CBGB and was dubbed the “Subway Idol” by none other than the New York Times? Musically Taylor falls into what program directors would call adult comtemporary. It’s acoustic pop rock with wide appeal. Think Journey crossed with the San Francisco band Train. Though he has a backing band in Los Angeles — and another in New York — he’s promoting the new album with a series of acoustic solo shows where he’ll play two 45-minute sets of mostly orginals and a few covers. “I’m giving people an honest and heartfelt performance. I don’t hold back,” Taylor says.
That’s something he picked up from playing in the subway, from playing every dive bar that would have him. You learn to give 120 percent at every performance. It’s the only way to keep the audience’s attention and make a real connection.
"That's where the soul comes out."