The Rescue Rooms archives: 2015

Hudson Taylor - Singing For Strangers Tour, Hudson Taylor - Singing For Strangers Tour Live At Rescue Rooms

  • Monday 9th February 2015
  • Supported by: TBC




Whelan’s, Dublin. Native brothers Alfie and Harry Hudson-Taylor huddle together at the back of the moth-eaten watering house, under-aged and lost in thought. “I used the ID trick, where if you have a guitar with you, you don’t get checked,” says Alfie, the contour-jawed 50s film icon of the pair. “It means people of all ages get to watch live music and get a buzz from it.”

Inspired and with the jangle of one of Whelan’s legendary open mic folk nights ringing in their ears, the pair left the pub and set up a place to jam on the nearest stoop. It was there that Hudson Taylor was formed - an intimate, lovelorn folk-pop project.

The band stayed put on the lonely Dublin street corner, busking for two or three years before hitting the open road as a fully-functioning touring band. They came home with a four strong debut EP, August 2012’s Battles, dipping its hat to James Vincent McMorrow and other Dublin shantymen the pair grew up on. Elsewhere, the band look to the folk’n’roll Hall of Fame - Simon and Garfunkel, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Damien Rice - for cues.

With another two releases under their belts, the Cinematic Lifestyle EP at the tail end of 2012, and last year’s Osea EP (their first release on Polydor), the pair spent a large chunk of the year on the road, supporting Jake Bugg and Kodaline along the way. Then one fateful afternoon last July, Hudson Taylor were asked to step in at the last minute to support Rolling Stones at Hyde Park when Tom Odell was taken ill. “Always be prepared. That’s our motto, now,” Harry says.

Shaken, rushed and without the right passes, the pair had to sneak onto the stage. “They shouldn’t have even let us on the stage. It was our [touring] drummer’s first ever gig, too. The spontaneous nature of it is something that we’ve grown up with, especially with busking,” he continues. “People were saying, ‘You must have been so nervous’, but we were just very excited about the whole thing. We didn’t have time to get nervous about it. We were so happy we were sober for it, too. Ha!”

The sun-kissed afternoon’s highlight came when the band strummed through “Weapons”, the first track to be taken from their forthcoming debut LP, out this summer. Produced by fellow Northern Ireland hit-maker Iain Archer (Snow Patrol, Jake Bugg), the song is a semi-biographical story of a friend going through emotional upheaval. “It’s pleading to her to surrender, to let down her guard,” Alfie explains. “At the time, it was impossible to communicate with her because of what she was going through.” The band’s richly melodious call to ‘put down your weapons’ is one of 2014’s great stadium pop moments.

The track, they claim, introduces an album peppered with characters and experiences plucked straight from the mist-swept streets of suburban Dublin. “We write from the heart about the real stuff,” the pair say, in eerie near-synchronicity. Having wracked up over 20,000 EP sales to date and a growing-by-the-minute fanbase, it is set to be an album for the masses – topped deliciously by production from both Archer and the Grammy Award-winning Mike Einziger.

The pair recall the thrill of performing Sound Of Silence with Joy Williams of Civil Wars at the recent Paul Simon Tribute show at Carnegie Hall. They rifle through thoughts like they’re revision notes, and talk of collaborations with the likes of Turin Brakes and singer-songwriter Danny O’Reilly. But whatever materialises on the Polydor-released album, rest assured it will come from an unflinchingly honest place; one of hard work, honest storytelling and amber sweet lullabies.

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