Showcasing tunes from his critically-acclaimed CD LOVE, Toronto’s Taylor Knox heads to Red Deer April 26th for a stint at Bo’s.
For this gifted musician, there simply was no plan B in life. It’s always been about music, and that’s been the case since he was about three, he explained during a recent interview.
“I feel like I had no choice to become a musician. When I was a little kid I just loved listening to records so much that I had figured out how to work the record player by the time I was about three and one-half,” he said with a laugh.
He opted for the Beatles and the Beach Boys at that time, and his mom would get so tired of hearing these discs over and over that she would hide them on occasion just for a break.
“From there, it went to playing a tennis racket like a guitar, banging wooden spoons on pots and pans. Then I had a toy drum set and I’d be jamming along to (legendary children’s entertainers) Raffi or Sharon, Lois and Bram,” he laughs.
By the time he was about 11, he was renting four-track tape machines. He’d write songs and then record them, playing the instruments. “I really have been doing this my whole life.”
Then the high school years came along, with a plethora of opportunities to play with a string of bands.
“We thought we were great – we weren’t that great,” he said, chuckling. But his skills were of course steadily being honed.
In the meantime, friends moved away and Knox started to really find his own way in the music world. He moved from living in the suburbs to Toronto, hoping to land a whole new set of opportunities and connections.
He didn’t have to wait long.
“When I was in Toronto, I saw this band called The Golden Dogs – and I just thought they were the best band I had ever seen. I remember that show so clearly,” he recalled. As luck would have it, the singer of that very band later called a mutual acquaintance and asked if he knew of anyone who might be able to fill in for a gig as a guitarist.
The mutual friend promptly thought of Knox. “Dave called me and said he had this band called The Golden Dogs, and we’re looking for a sub guitar player!”
Knox said he was actually a huge fan of the band who at the time weren’t overly well-known.
“I just thought they were amazing so they must be the biggest band in the world kind-of-thing,” he laughed.
Ultimately, he ended up also playing bass and drums for The Golden Dogs, too. “That was really my rock ‘n roll boot camp because we would tour 100 to 150 shows per year for a couple of years, and we made a couple records, did some festivals in Europe – it was really fun.”
From there, Knox’s own profile started to grow and he’d get calls from other bands to join them on various tours as well.
But eventually, it came time to start carving out his own niche. His 2015 debut EP Lines marked the arrival of a rare breed of singer/songwriter.
“I thought that if I don’t get going on this now, I could just be touring for the next 20 years and just never get around to it,” he said, referring to the pursuit of his own songwriting.
On LOVE, released in the summer of 2017, Knox handles most of the instrumentation himself as he did on Lines.
Inspiration for LOVE came partly from Knox getting married last year. Plus, he’s garnered plenty of inspiration from the folks he’s played with over the years including Owen Pallett, Rich Aucoin, Luke Doucet, Hayden, Jason Collett and Alvvays.
“But writing love songs was a conscious decision for many reasons. I used to think love songs were boring and ‘too easy’ to write, but I came to realize that, if anything, it’s more of a challenge to write a song about love and not resort to cliches.”
He also had about 200 tunes to choose from that he had written over the years.
“The common thread with all of them is to never settle for second best,” he said. “What it comes down to is having confidence without being afraid to be vulnerable at the same time.
“I think that’s definitely noticeable on this record.”