Julian Taylor is hoping for wonderful weather as he and his band make their way to Haliburton County for a Sept. 9 gig.

Taylor and his band last performed in the Highlands in 2019, at the Haliburton Legion. The Haliburton County Folk Society will place him at the Northern Lights Performing Arts Pavilion this time around.

“We come up there because I do know how pretty Haliburton is, and it’s always nice to take a stroll around town and maybe even into the woods in the fall because of the changing colours. It’s really pretty,” Taylor said Aug. 31. He added he is looking forward to the “tranquility” before getting up on stage.

Taylor has a good working knowledge of the County, having gone to Kilcoo Camp as a boy and playing the Northwood earlier in his musical career. He said they used to do three sets of cover music there. “I’ve always had a good time in Haliburton.”

Since 2019, Taylor has received his fair share of awards and recognition. “I can’t complain,” he said of the accolades.

He attributes the recent success to “perseverance. Maybe Eddie Cantor was right, it takes 20 years to make an overnight success.”

His album, The Ridge, earned him his first two Juno award nominations, along with a Canadian Folk Music Award for solo artist, and nomination for English songwriter of the year. The album was also nominated for Canada’s most prestigious music accolade, the Polaris Music Prize. In 2022, Taylor won best male artist at the International Acoustic Music Awards and scored five Native American Music Award nominations. He has just been nominated for the 2023 Folk Music Ontario awards for performing artist of the year and song of the year (for S.E.E.D.S).

Prefers playing theatres

He is looking forward to playing in a theatre this time around, versus the Legion, or a bar.

“I’ve been trying to perform at theatres ever since I started this. I ended up in bars, and certainly the Legion was the last time I was there. I do remember it was lovely. I really do like performing to people who are really attentive to the show and theatres seem to lend themselves to that a lot more than any other venue that I’ve experienced in my career. And it’s certainly where I’d like to be. So, I’m really pleased and honored that I get a chance to perform at the pavilion.”

Taylor is bringing a five-person band this time around. He said during the pandemic, he put out solo work. Some in his band circa-2019 have pivoted and found other things to do.

“It’s been an interesting couple of years trying to piece the puzzle together in terms of who wants to play, when they want to play, if they want to play, and if it’s worth it for everybody. Because, when we first got back, not everybody was really excited to jump at the opportunity to go out there and be in a crowd. Some others were very into it.”

He added it felt like he had a nucleus pre-COVID “and now I’m sort of searching for it.”

Nevertheless, he is just excited to play with people, and in front of people, again.

As for the concert, Taylor said, “I’m actually diving into my entire catalogue that’s spanned about 25 years. I don’t play too much of the heavy, heavy stuff but some of the funky stuff comes out, some of the rock and roll stuff and R&B stuff comes out, and to me the folk stuff of the latter two records comes out. So, a lot of storytelling, and hopefully some dancing,”

Tickets are available online at haliburtonfolk.com. Youth age 18 years and under can reserve a seat for free.