Rick Taylor | Biography | A Half Century of Music
Rick Taylor made his first major appearance as a singer, songwriter and guitarist at the famed Mariposa Folk Festival in 1971 and went on to become a regular at many Canadian festivals and clubs. Blues, jazz, country, rock, roots, world, and contemporary music all influenced Rick's early years on the club and festival circuits and he established himself firmly in the 1970’s southern Ontario roots music scene. As a singer-songwriter and guitarist, Rick has been featured on CBC television and radio programs Touch The Earth with host Sylvia Tyson, The Entertainers with host Bill Garrett , Peter Gzowski's 90 Minutes Live, City TV's Music City and Intimate Evenings with Songwriters on Rogers Cable TV. Other highlights of Rick's career include opening act for Bruce Cockburn and appearing in New York City as a multi-instrumentalist in Leonard Cohen's musical production The Sisters of Mercy, as well as lead guitarist in the Vancouver production of Hank Williams, The Show He Never Gave.
Rick's dynamism on guitar has led to session and sideman work with Willie P. Bennett (guitarist on “Hobos Taunt” album), Stan Rogers, Doug MacArthur, and a highly acclaimed tour with Colleen Peterson, which culminated in a nine evening engagement as opening act for Gordon Lightfoot at Massey Hall in Toronto. He also fronted his own band The Torpedoes with legendary brother Steve Taylor on drums in Southern Ontario, as well as the Rick Taylor Band which featured some of the finest blues and jazz musicians in Vancouver, and a 3 year run with Vancouver’s HARD 8; a roots-acoustic trio featuring guitar virtuoso Paul Pigat and harmonica legend Monte. Rick Taylor is well know for his high energy live performances, rich, expressive baritone voice, and his quirky and novel song writing styles such as the cult classics "Black Leather Diaper" and "Drunkards Lullaby", as well as his delicately, haunting, well crafted ballads, and unforgettable "guitarnastics". Rick's early chart hit classics "Letters From Jane" and "Soldier in the Rain", released internationally in 1989 on Volunteer Records, remained in "gold rotation" on many radio stations around the world for several years.
Rick’s international CD release entitled Clown River contains 13 original solo guitar compositions. It is a beautifully woven instrumental story where Rick has reached deeply into his influences of the great finger style guitar traditions. Clown River caught the attention of Borealis Records and Rick was invited to be a featured artist on their guitar compilation CD - Six Strings North of the Border Volume 3, released internationally in Feb. 2006 and now available as a 3 CD boxed set. This compilation includes many of Canada’s finger style guitar greats such as Bruce Cockburn, Colin Linden, Amos Garrett, Stephen Fearing, Don Ross, Kevin Breit, Harry Manx and more. After living 23 years in Vancouver where Rick performed, recorded and produced, he relocated back to his home province of Ontario in 2007 and released his long awaited and critically acclaimed CD “The Wonky Years” in 2008. This raucous 10 song collection was recorded over a 10 year period with his band and runs the range of blues, roots rock, bluegrass, rockabilly, country swing and folk - displaying the immense breadth of Rick’s song writing, guitar playing, vocal abilities and styles.
Rick Taylor returns to his blues roots with his definitive CD release of “Lucky Room”. This solo collection of 11 songs covers the road from Mississippi to Chicago, paying homage to the blues masters from the late 1920’s to the early 1950’s that have helped shape Rick’s music over a 40 plus year career. This critically acclaimed work has garnered heavy rotation achieving radio chart hit status - reaching #3 on Roots Music Report charts - Canada and #10 on the U.S.A. Roots Music Report - Blues charts.
In early 2021 as the lead up to his upcoming solo acoustic album, Rick revisits his folk roots heritage with the single release of Moonlight, with studio back up by iconic musicians Emily Bindiger, Robbie Kondor, Ed Michael Roth, and Daniel Plane. As well as being an active record producer and in demand session player, Rick is also a member of the original blues-roots-rock & roll band DASHBOARD RATTLE, and the folk-rock band Essig Taylor Gifford and Miron. With the global pandemic easing, live shows are currently being booked into late summer and fall of 2021.
Rick is a recipient of The Jimmy Lewis "Life Time of the Blues Award", 3X winner of The Great Lakes Blues Society "Road To Memphis" award, and the 2020 winner of The Forest City London Music Award for Blues. According to Rick; "I also won $8 at Bingo one night in Muskoka!