Alfie (left) and Harry (right) are currently on a headlining tour of the United States as Hudson Taylor. (Courtesy of One In A Million Media)
Hudson Taylor recently wrapped up a tour of the United States with “Take Me to Church” singer Hozier. Over the course of the two-month long tour, Hudson Taylor played a few of their own headlining shows in New York, Boston, Washington D.C. and Los Angeles. Now, they are back in the states on a headlining tour of their own and will be playing at the City Winery in Boston on Saturday, Feb. 9.
The Irish duo, composed of brothers Harry and Alfie Hudson Taylor, spent a good chunk of 2018 touring with both Gabrielle Aplin and Hozier. With Gabrielle Aplin, they were playing to audiences of 500 and 600 each night, whereas with Hozier, they were playing to crowds of 2000. Harry said that it was a great opportunity not only for their music, but to win over an audience, get new fans and warm up the crowd. Touring with Hozier he said, “Felt like a home away from home,” since they are both from Ireland.
Music had always been a part of Hudson Taylor’s life, especially when it came to playing music together at family gatherings and parties. Although it was not until about 10 years ago that they began to get serious about their careers. They started out busking on the streets of Dublin, dancing and singing cover songs of popular artists.
They noticed that to garner a big audience they had to have a lot of energy. Shoppers would pass by and stop when they noticed the duo being energetic, bouncing around and getting everyone excited. They use that same energy to get the crowds pumped up during their shows.
The brothers draw inspiration from classic rock idols like The Beach Boys, Simon & Garfunkel and The Beatles, as well as from modern and contemporary influences such as Fleet Foxes, Villagers and The Tallest Man On Earth.
The transition to writing their own music did not come until later.
“We noticed other YouTube people were putting up their own music… so we took a stab at it,” Harry said.
Unfortunately, when it came to playing their original songs on their busking grounds, people did not stop for them. Their incentive was to challenge themselves and use songwriting as a cathartic outlet to write their own music instead of just playing covers. They released their debut album “Singing for Strangers” in 2015. The release of this album helped establish them in Ireland and the United Kingdom.
In 2019, with new management, a new record deal and gigs all over the country, Hudson Taylor is creating a name for themselves. Their folk-rock sound plays around a bit with Irish traditional elements, setting them apart from most bands on the radio today. “Bear Creek to Dame Street,” Hudson Taylor’s newest album, is half studio-recorded and half live performance recordings which creates an interesting listening dynamic.
Their songwriting process changes, “from day to day.” Harry explains that, “When you’re stuck in a van for many hours you might have a notebook and jot down some lyrical ideas.” They used to rely on having a tape recorder back before the iPhone voice memo days. He says, “When you’re in a [quieter] environment, you might have a little vibe or a tiny melodic piece [and] you can work from that. You may write songs by having a jam together, having a jam with the band.” On other occasions, sometimes either he or his brother, Alfie, will already have a song mostly complete, and the other will look over it and help finish it.
Traveling with anyone, “doesn’t matter who they are,” can be both challenging and great at times. They have their inside jokes and, “There is never a dull moment,” states Harry. As brothers, they know how the other is feeling, and if space is needed, they know.
Harry’s biggest piece of advice to aspiring musicians is to, “Do it because you love it, not for the money.” He says that chances are quite dim of making loads of money, but as long as you are happy, it is okay. “Write as much as you can. Write songs every day. It doesn’t matter how many are bad. For every 50 bad songs you write there’s one good one. There is no such thing as a bad song. It’s like free therapy, it’s a good outlet, like a diary. Talk about your world and troubled relationships or non-troubled relationships or anxiety. Just write those songs and if you want to make it into a career, do it because you love it.”
Hudson Taylor hopes to have a new album out by the end of the year along with a few more singles throughout 2019. They are currently halfway through their U.S. tour as headliners but hope to be back once more before the end of the year, if not at the beginning of next. Keep your eyes peeled for this Irish duo, because they certainly have a lot to offer the music scene.
If you’re interested in seeing Hudson Taylor perform in Boston this Saturday, they have two shows. They will be playing at five and nine at the City Winery in Boston.