Words: Phil Reiter + Camera Direction: Dwayne Fundano + Host: Sherif Badr + Video Editing & Effects: Sherif Badr + Moral Support: Amanda DelaCruz + Talent: Rory Taillon
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- Article [Here!]
- Cover: Creep by Radiohead [Here!]
- Interview Video [Still editing!]
- Original: End Game [Still editing!]
- Original: Lone Bird [Still editing!]
- Original: Dance Monkey Dance [Still editing!]
- Original: Jukebox [Still editing!]
- Cover: Dirt in the ground by Tom Waits [Still editing!]
- Cover: Roxanne by The Police [Still editing!]
- Cover: Christmas Card From A Hooker In Minneapolis by Tom Waits [Still editing!]
As a music fan, the epitome of concert experiences is a private performance, where it’s only you and a few friends having the privileged opportunity to hear, chat, and just hang with the artist – the composer of the songs you love, have memorized and that have defined moments in your life. Port Perry-born singer-songwriter Rory Taillon granted the Culture Toronto crew such an exclusive, intimate rencontre during which he spoke about his life, his music, and blew us away – quite literally, with his powerful vocal chops and with his talent.
Having started down the path to a career in music singing in a church choir when he was six, the boy has since grown but he has never lost his passion for performing. Now sitting comfortably and confidently, guitar in hand, before the staff at Culture Toronto’s HQ, Rory may strike an imposing figure but he is an immediately affable guy. Tall and broad-shouldered, sporting a lumberjack’s beard and a mane tied in a handsome bun, it suffices to say that we were immediately impressed by the man before he even opened his mouth, and, when he did, we raptly listened.
Given that he had only just met us, it would have been completely understandable had Rory been hesitant of our song requests – a mixture of his own work and some covers from Culture Toronto’s favourites playlist – but he, without hesitation, jumped into belting out the tunes as though he were playing for a sold-out venue. Starting with “End Game,” from his most recent Strings EP release, a song about the frailty of life and the desire to take full advantage of the possibilities we are handed, Rory then transitioned to a stirring rendition of “Creep” by Radiohead that had the lucky few of us at this secluded gig emotionally and physically moved – the man’s voice has resonance!
This writer’s choice song came next. “Lone Bird,” from the it’s not black & white album, expresses Rory’s environmental consciousness, and delves into humanity’s headlong rush for monetary profit at the expense of the very natural world that supports us.
Undoubtedly unrestrained about exploring the darker facets of our modern existence, Rory doesn’t shy from voicing his discontent with the at times unpleasant realities of being a career musician. The lyrics to “Dance Monkey Dance” and “Jukebox,” for instance, are soaked with a subtle scorn at unsympathetic audience members that would rather hear the same hits their pubescent selves played on constant rotation than appreciate the experimentation with musical styles that new artists are presenting. I empathize with Rory when he vents on the clichéd shouting of “play ‘Free Bird’” at any type of live music event by masses who may never have even heard this Lynyrd Skynyrd opus. A lesson to all of us concertgoers: show respect for the artist and the music.
This penchant for serious realism doesn’t preclude Rory from kicking back and having fun, though, as he did in between songs with the by-now-enamoured Culture Toronto crew. It was probably his introduction to a cover of “Roxanne” by The Police in the gargling roar of Chewbacca, the universally known interplanetary hero from the Star Wars series, that really won us geeks over. Of course, his version of The Police classic was impeccable, too.
Citing Tom Waits as one of his influences, Rory played a couple of this raspy, introspective and mysterious balladeer’s compositions, including the emotively somber “Dirt in the Ground.” After learning that he also considers Jimi Hendrix and Eddie Vedder, from the band Pearl Jam, as some of his idols, one can start piecing together where Rory’s special sauce of acoustic, blues-influenced alternative rock originates. There are without question further, untold ingredients to Rory’s musical blend, but this is a recipe that is held as guarded as the Colonel’s.
With your eerily soft uttering of “I don’t belong here” from Radiohead’s “Creep” still a vivid auditory memory with this simple music-lover, Rory, I can say on behalf of Culture Toronto that you so belong here, any time.
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