Frank Taylor, The Flying Scotsman - Artist's Statement
|Tradition of folk Music||
For over three decades, I have researched the wealth of traditional Folk Music that has accumulated over the centuries, accumulating a large library and music collection of over 100 song books and 500 albums. My extensive repertoire illustrates the vast range of musical ability that I have developed. My collection of instruments includes four acoustic guitars, a four-string banjo, two bodhrans (Celtic drums), a three string Appalachian dulcimer, and an autoharp. The six and twelve string guitars range in age from 64 years to brand new. My newest 12 string guitar was Canadian handcrafted, designed and custom built for me in the fall of 1997. Inlaid with mother of pearl, my Scottish family crest adorns the guitar's head-stock.
Singing and composing songs have been at the heart of human experience for hundreds of years and represent a passage of history. Folk music has survived by being passed on from generation to generation.
Folk music is an art, which cannot simply be kept alive in the written word and musical score. The recording of the stories, tales and adventures must be heard, in order to truly appreciate the feelings of the artist. Just as centuries of folk musicians before me have passed on the techniques, arrangements, words, and most importantly feelings, I wish to continue this tradition by imparting my vast knowledge of folk music history to the next generation.
Extensive research along with gathering information on local history and events, allows me to create original songs which are historically accurate, all the while providing me with an education in the true Folk tradition.
|Influences on my career||
In the traditional Folk Music setting, a few of my mentors were Archie, Cilla and Ray Fisher, Hamish Imlach, Pete and Peggy Segar, Tom Paxton, Sandy Denny, Maddie Prior, Cyril Tawney, and Matt McGinn. I shared my earliest Folk Music experiences with Archie and Hamish in Glasgow, and was greatly influenced by their styles. I continued to follow their careers, as my own developed. While Archie Fisher may not be well known in Canada, Canadian singer/songwriter Stan Rogers gratefully acknowledged Archie's influence on his own material. I also played with and followed British folk groups such as the Chieftains, Clancy Brothers, Dubliners, Wolftones, Corries, and the Ian Campbell Folk Group, just to name a few.
One of the most enduring traits of folk musicians, is sharing with the audience, the history of how you learned each song, or what memories the song congers up. The CD track notes include a brief summary of what my compositions were inspired by and the images and feelings I conceived and portrayed.
The sources for my original material come from the very life I live: family, friends, community, country, geography, culture, dreams, remembrances. I have utilized libraries, archives, city hall, tourist bureau's, government, museums, curators, Kings Landing, Folk Clubs, Folklore Centers, Folk Scholars, and other folk collections. Historical ancestry of the local area and my wife researching her family tree are themes for songs as well.
By participating in Highland Games, Irish Feis (festivals), ceilidhs, folk festivals, rallies and sessions across the country, I find sources of older songs almost forgotten. I always have my dictaphone on hand, to quickly tape a veteran musician, singing from his very soul, a song he learned from his grandfather, or a young lady, nervously reciting her newest composition. I have a vast library and collection of songbooks and albums, frequently referenced for musical scores and variant chord progressions, and traditions which are centuries old. Any traveling that I do includes tracking down the local historian, to discover the folklore of the area.
|Old and New||
My songs are about the Canadian experience, through the eyes of a New Brunswick immigrant.
The tradition of folk music is all about passing the old songs on to new audiences. Somehow, everything old is new again. Canada, and especially the Atlantic Provinces, is enjoying resurgence in "Celtic" music. We didn't call it Celtic back in the UK, we just called it traditional. It does not matter what we call it though, as long as we are still writing and singing the songs. The audiences are enjoying the music, and the musicians are enjoying the revival of the tradition.
I am very fortunate to live in a time and place where diverse cultures are recognised and supported. Through the writing and singing of songs, I want to intertwine my Scottish heritage with the experience of the people of New Brunswick.
Through the distribution of my CD's and by having opportunities to perform my compositions to audiences, my new songs will become part of the continuing tradition of New Brunswick folk music.