Joel Taylor, the Sydney, Australia-turned-L.A.-based singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist released a 2-song bundle of his songs “Two Sides” and “What Good Is Love” today. Both track follows this melodic, more traditional driven Roots sound with smooth acoustic riffs that blends perfectly with Joel, harmonic, soothy vocals. The two songs both mixed by the legendary Bob Clearmountain represent the first releases by Taylor.
Taylor also shares the Courteney Cox-directed video for “Two Sides,” which you can see here. “A friend of mine introduced me to Joel during a musical night at my house where friends and visitors gather to play music,” the actress says, “That’s when I heard Joel sing and play and realized how talented he is. I’ve directed a couple of music videos (Foy Vance & Kodaline) and thought it’d be nice to direct a video that showcased Joel. I wanted to create something simple and organic that would capture Joel as a player, without distracting from the song. I decided on “Two Sides” because I thought it captured the many sides of the gifted artist that Joel is.”
Early in his time in LA, Taylor rented a room from noted guitar-maker to the stars James Trussart in Echo Park. Some of the biggest musicians would come to the house to meet with the master luthier, and this served as a perfect conduit for Taylor to meet, play, and ultimately wow these legends.
“Two Sides” is a song, which Joel explains is about the two different aspects of his personality. “On the one hand, I’m a very easy-going, gregarious Australian who likes to have a good time,” he says. “But I can also be quiet, extremely introverted, brooding and stuck inside my own head.” Those “Two Sides” are expressed in the juxtaposition between the recorded version, on which Joel plays all the instruments, except drums, a big full-throttled production, and the video which
Variety debuted today, directed by Courteney Cox, with Taylor all alone on the piano, shot at the new Hollywood magic-themed bar Black Rabbit Rose.
“What Good Is Love,” is a rare collaboration for Taylor with writer/producer Mike Mack, who was going through a rough patch and had the title, while Joel filled in the rest of the narrative with a spontaneous improvisation that had his co-writer in tears.
When Taylor was born, the doctor turned to his mom and asked about his name. “Like Billy Joel? Is he going to be a piano player?” Given his birthright, it’s no surprise the answer to that was in the affirmative. Taylor’s grandfather, Kevin Jacobsen, learned to play boogie-woogie piano from Jerry Lee Lewis, performing with his brothers in Col Joye & the Joy Boys, one of Australia’s very first rock bands in the mid-’50s, before becoming a noted manager, concert and tour promoter Down Under. Joel learned to play New Orleans stride from his mom – who learned it from her dad — following in the tradition of Fats Domino, Professor Longhair, Dr. John, Ray Charles, Elton John and his namesake.
His top notched playing (not only on the piano, he’s just as gifted playing the guitar player) and songwriting underpins an incredibly soulful yet earthiness voice reminiscent of singers like Ray LaMontagne, Michael Kiwanuka and Amos Lee.
Joel Taylor will be touring the west coast throughout the summer while he continues to work on new music releasing this fall.