The Young Novelists

The Young Novelists

 Toronto, Ontario, CAN

Simon & Garfunkel meets Johnny and June; this Canadian folk-roots duo is known for their deft songwriting, beautiful harmonies, and poignant ballads.


Through their rich but rustic sound, Toronto roots-rock outfit The Young Novelists deliver a dose of honesty in audible form.

made us strangers, their upcoming sophomore effort, showcases a significant sonic progression for the band. Ripe with raw but elegant instrumentation and stacked multi-layered harmonies, their pure take on folk-tinged rock translates equally well from the stereo or stage.

What first began as a stack of songs that frontman Graydon James had amassed behind the drum kit in various bands during his university years eventually became a collection of recordings performed by the six-piece band, Graydon James & The Young Novelists. But over time, as James' wife Laura Spink became integral to the creative process and the band began performing and touring as a duo, the more succinct banner of The Young Novelists was born.

“This record hinges on interpersonal relationships,” James explains of made us strangers’ underlying lyrical theme, which includes both traditional and non-traditional ones – from brothers in a band to a torrid love triangle to a new father missing the sound of his son’s voice when they’re apart.

Honesty and transparency. They’re at the very core of made us strangers, from the lyrics to the music to the way it was recorded, and that’s sure to foster closer connections between The Young Novelists and their current and future followers.


always make the mistake

Written By: graydon james

capo iii
intro: G(d) Gsus4 G(b)
verse: G C G x2 Em C G C G C G
chorus: C Em D G C Em D D7

there's a river i see from my room
that calls a young man to his doom
& if he hangs his head he's gone too soon
oh youth does not make you immune
the past is not burdened with proof
like the films i recall from my youth
& a young man dressed in his father's suit
i can make a lie from the hardest truth

& i always make the mistake oh i
always make the mistake

you were drawn to the clouds in his eyes
lord knows what you saw in mine
a promise we could compromise
oh love is a foolish prize
we could claim a great many things
you were the song i needed to sing
the truth was you always wore his ring
& we were only borrowing


there's a river i see from my room
& i will walk through the pale afternoon
& the birds still sing, i recall the tune
perhaps i will see you soon...
perhaps i will see you soon.

couldn't be any worse

Written By: graydon james

capo III (for L.)
verse: F Am Dm Am Bb F C C
chorus: Bb Bb F F Bb F C C

i'd been awake for hours
when i met you by the church
you'd recently been hurt
your face still wet with tears
i pointed to your bruises
& said it looks quite bad
you smiled but you were sad
& days turn into years

we couldn't be any worse...any worse
we could not be any worse for each other

i took you back to my place
the sun was coming up
i bandaged your cuts
as you critiqued my art
so i was most surprised
when you put your lips on mine
oh we were eye to eye
& heart to heart




standing still

Written By: graydon james

verse: C Am x4 F Fm
pre-chorus: C G Am F
chorus: C Am

the day may come when i do not recall
the little push, the tumble or the fall
but twice i looked & twice i saw you
twice i looked & twice i saw you
twice i looked...& you looked too
& did you sing me note for note?
or see my heart was in my throat?

oh i have never been the type
to take a chance, the moment ripe
i'm locked inside, i try to try
i had to watch you pass me by & i...

i'm standing still...i'm standing still

when all we had was new we knew at last
we'll build upon the ruins of the past
& once i spoke & once you held me
once i spoke & once you held me
once i spoke...& then i knew
that words would always come between
what was said & what it means

oh i could hardly stand the break
& watch you make the same mistake
you don't recall you made at all
i'll never let you see me fall cause i...


the day may come when i do not recall

left behind

Written By: graydon james

oh dear why won't you try?
new year's when you said goodbye
& down here there's a crowd they're young &
they're proud tonight
& one tear for each mistake, you're wrong & you
can't make it right

& i can't understand
& now you can't defend
how you could end your life
& i am left behind

oh dear what does it take?
right here there's an endless ache
& small hurts that i made but i am afraid to break
what words? they're only part. the sound that my
heart still makes


[instr. bridge]

[repeat last verse]


made us strangers (april 2015)
in the year you were born (september 2012)
live at dublin st. church (november 2011)
a small town eulogy ep (april 2011)
goodnight, young novelist (august 2009)

Set List

Sets range widely from 20 minutes to 3 hours of original music; from 1 set to 3 sets over the course of an evening. Covers are rare, and are most likely from Johnny & June, Gordon Lightfoot, The Beatles, or similar artists.