Combining tastes of the past and present, Taylor Ackerman’s Global Acid Reset (TAGAR) brings blues rock into a new dimension, free of rules or barriers. Led heavily by electric guitar and Ackerman himself, the band hails from Lethbridge and has made their name touring Canada since 2017. Their 2018 EP, Ruin Lust, followed by their 2020 debut album, Perfect Visions, rightfully earned them a fanbase spanning thirteen countries and delivers universal commentaries on what it means to be human.
“Stand Tall” is the newest single from TAGAR that preaches the power of intuition set against a high energy yet nostalgic composition. Lyrical rock songs can sometimes be lost underneath the heaviness of the accompaniment, but this single exemplifies Ackerman innate awareness of balance. The harmonica brings the song warmth, while the electric guitar prevents the arrangement from becoming too sentimental.
Ackerman testifies through songs that convey a certain relatability warranting reflection, but possesses a liveliness that refuses the listener time to wallow. Music lovers can credit Taylor Ackerman’s Global Acid Band for breathing new life into an often dismissed genre that deserves its due.
To learn more about his outlook on songwriting, his well of inspiration, and how his band is carrying the torch for blues rock, we caught up with Ackerman for an enlightening conversation.
Your band definitely has a unique take on blues rock. When did you realize this genre was your home?
Thank you very much! I fell in love with this genre of music when I was 14 (2001), I was learning how to play drums and really got swept up by The Jimi Hendrix Experience. The energy, virtuosity, showmanship and psychedelic style really must have represented a ‘place’ that I wanted to be in. So I started playing guitar shortly after and have been totally obsessed ever since. I really enjoy learning about every players influences and once you head down that wormhole the knowledge never stops.
Before gaining popularity in North America, the blues originated in the Mississippi Delta. Do you feel there are musical roots in Lethbridge that parallel the South?
I would have to say no. Canadian history is full of its own human rights horrors, but unlike the USA, we didn’t get an incredible music genre in trade. For me, the blues in the 21st century are like a basic earthly medicine that anybody can use to help get them through their day to day.
As a songwriter, where do your ideas come from? Do your lyrics and melodies just come to you, like epiphanies, or is your process more technical?
The song structures and melodies are usually created by jamming on someone else’s song/riff until I can alter it enough to make something that I think is not too derivative. I start to work on the lyrics after I have a harmonic framework built, by improvising lyrics a number of times. I will listen back and start writing down lines that I dig, eventually collaging them together to make the final song lyric.
How do you personally overcome writer’s block? What would you tell aspiring songwriters?
I don’t get anxious if I’m not writing songs, I think of it like a plant’s annual cycle, the flowering (songwriting) only happens once and awhile. I would tell songwriters to always be looking for inspiration and to not worry about ideas arriving in fragments. Also, nothing good comes quickly, but it doesn’t have to be difficult to be good.
When writing your new single, “Stand Tall,” were you inspired by any particular artists or musical eras? What were you immersing yourself in to achieve this vibe?
I wrote that song 10 years ago while traveling on a train in Saskatchewan, Canada. I was inspired after chatting with another passenger who was from a big city and was talking badly about small town loyalties and such. Musically I was channeling a Crazy Horse and Neil Young style, or maybe even some Bob Seger or John Mellencamp.
What do you hope listeners ultimately take away from the new song? It seems to be a song of encouragement during tough times.
The takeaway is definitely to follow your gut, and to have gratitude for the simple things in life.
During these unprecedented times, how has the pandemic altered your approach to creating music and performing for your fans?
It has put the whole thing online. Way more focus on getting the releases out and promoted. There has been a lot less fear of missing out going on these days too, no ones insta stories at great shows to be jealous of.
What can your fans look forward to in 2021?
I’ve got a couple music video productions planned and am consistently working on new recordings that will become a future release. As for live shows it’s really up in the air and depends on how much longer the lock-downs go.