Country music has by tradition offered itself as a haven to the hard drinking, hard living misfits, who fought their way back to the light. Julian Austin is one of these – a maverick, renegade, rebel and after a lifetime of struggles has now earned the respected title of “The Bad Boy With The Big Heart” of country music.
Julian Austin was born in Sussex, NB and was raised in the Grand Bay/Saint John, NB area as an adoptive child. When he was 17 years of age his father Harvey McPhee, who was dying of cancer, told Julian that he was adopted and his birth name was Julian Austin. In 1994 Austin reunited with his birth families in Minto, NB – the Austin’s and the Quigley’s. Sadly, Julian never got the chance to meet his birth father who died of cancer the very week that they were set to meet, but what he did learn about him was another gift. It turns out that his father was also an artist, a songwriter and a poet. “It’s answered so much that was once left unanswered,” says Julian. “It’s helped me so much”.
Julian Austin started writing songs at the age of 13 and at 15 he took his dad’s guitar out of the closet and started to learn how to play. While learning how to perfect his craft in both playing and writing he realized music was going to be his lifelong soul mate and without a doubt his destiny, he’s never looked back since. For the past 25 years Julian has gone through many changes in his music, from heavy metal to rock to 80’s pop and eventually to his love for country music.
In 1996 along with being signed to a major album deal with BMG Canada Julian teamed up with friend, accomplished producer and writer, Daniel Leblanc, (Alanis Morissette, Dean McTaggart) to record what has become Julian’s best selling CD to date “What My Heart Already Knows”. Soon after the 1997 debut release of this CD it earned Julian a certified CRIA gold record (50k+ sales) and the 1997 Wrangler Rising Star Award from the Canadian Country Music Association. His first single “Little Ol’ Kisses” went #1 on radio and also made the CMT Top 30 Videos of 1997.
In 1998 he decided to make the big move to Calgary, AB where he resided with his wife Angela and their beagle Baxter until she convinced him to move to her birthplace in Manitoba in the spring of 2004. Austin vows that one day he will convince Angela to move back to the place where it all began for him.
Julian spent most of the next three years building up a solid fan base with relentless touring, at the same time preparing for his next album. Austin won “Best Country Single” at the first annual Canadian Radio Music Awards in 1998 for “Little Ol’ Kisses” and was also nominated for several Juno’s that year. While getting ready to record his second album “Back In Your Life” Austin was severely injured in a bullriding accident at friend Kelly Armstrong’s bullriding school in Olds, AB on January 9th, 1999 leaving him with several broken and cracked ribs, a punctured right lung and a gaping hole in his right leg. Austin spent the next several months healing and preparing for his “Back In Your Life” CD with a cut on the album he wrote for the bullriders called “Holdin’ On For 8” a kind of a theme song for the warriors of the rodeo world he says.
Austin says he has a tonne of respect for his rodeo buddies, he think of them as rock stars, but these days he’ll just be a fan and watch them from the chutes and leave the bullriding to the real cowboys.
After releasing his follow up CD “Back In Your Life” in early 2000 it earned him six CCMA nominations. His band “The Austinators” won “Best Back Up Band” – two years in a row. The following year Austin severed ties with his record company BMG Music amicably and kept touring intensely across Canada keeping his die-hard and loyal fan base entertained while writing songs for his next project.
Shortly after leaving BMG, Austin was approached by Civilian Records founder and president Myles Goodman, front man of the world-renowned rock band “April Wine”. In August of 2002 “Bulletproof” was released, but due to creative differences it would be the only album under this new label for Julian.
Julian has begun to venture into the world of acting and can be seen in a small but important role in a new movie that was released in the summer of 2005 called “Halo”. Austin loved the experience and hopes to land a few more roles – maybe as the bad guy.
In early 2004 Julian had the opportunity to be part of a show tour that was sent to entertain our troops with seven shows in Bosnia. Julian loved the experience and has gone on to make three more trips overseas to entertain the troops in Southwest Asia and Afghanistan. He has also traveled to numerous Canadian Forces bases across Canada including Goose Bay, Labrador and Alert, Nunavik to perform for our soldiers and their families. Austin says with pride “of all the great things that I have experienced in my lifetime performing for our soldiers sits at the top of my list – the feeling I had being over there with the fine men and woman of our Canadian Armed Forces is unexplainable. I hope to make a great Ambassador for our CF one day.”
Julian’s new cd, which he co-produced and named “The Red & White”, is a dedication to those soldiers, past and present, who have served our country. Julian strongly supports those fine men and women and therefore is donating $5.00 from every copy sold to “The Sapper Mike McTeague Wounded Warriors Fund” a fund established to improve the morale and well being of our injured soldiers. He has also made this cd available exclusively at all 40 Canex stores across Canada and through their website at www.cfpsa.com/canex. This devotion and dedication has earned him the nickname G.I. Jules from the Canadian soldiers he has come to meet, a name Austin says he is proud to be called.”
*Represented exclusively by Canadian Classic Rock