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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Showing posts with label Telarc. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Telarc. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Concord Music Group/Telarc Artist: Otis Taylor - My World Is Gone - New Release Review

I just received a copy of the newest recording, My World Is Gone, by Otis Taylor. This recording will hit the streets on February 12, 2013. This is one of the most unisual contemporary releases that I have heard in a long time. The release opens with the title track, My World Is Gone, which was developed after discussions with Mato Nanji (Indigenous) backstage at the Jimi Hendrix tribute concert in reference to his Native American Nakota Nation and the simplicity of his comment. Nanji plays some really sweet acoustic lead guitar on this track. Huckleberry Blues is a really cool track with Taylor on banjo and Ron Miles on coronet. This track has a dance beat and a loose jazz feel. I can't tell you why...I just like it. Sand Creek Massacre Mourning has a strong feel of back country music with Taylor on banjo and interesting guitar effects by Nanji. The Wind Comes In has a real feel of John Lee Hooker from his prime time with a Mali twist. This is really a cool track. Taylor again on banjo (and of course vocals) and Nanji on lead guitar. Girl Friend's House is a curious track about chance encounter. It is as simple as a blues track gets with Taylor on banjo and again featuring Ron Miles on coronet. Jae Jae Waltz is a great little back country track done as authentically as I can imagine on a contemporary recording. The honesty of this track as well as many of the others on this recording are particularly noteworthy. Gangster And Iztatoz Chauffeur is a track that could easily be from a Ali Farke Toure release. It retains sounds of the pure African blues and I really like it. I commend Shawn Starski and Taylor for their capture of the Mali sound. Green Apples follows in this same groove but with more direct vocal attack. The addition of Miles on coronet adds a nice flavor to this track as well. The recording is completed with a more straightforward rock like track with a happy theme...imagine that. It is actually a pretty cool track and one that may actually see a good amount of airplay. Other artists on the disk are Larry Thompson, Anne Harris, Todd Edmunds and Brian Juan. I think that this is Taylor's best creation in years and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's cool to see someone stand up and do something different... and to see it be interesting. Hope you give it a spin! This CD is certain to win Taylor new fans.

  If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, Like ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorites band! ”LIKE”


Friday, November 16, 2012

Otis Taylor's 'My World is Gine' CD features Indigenous' Mato Nanji


My World Is Gone explores the struggles of Native Americans
with contributions from Indigenous frontman/guitar virtuoso Mato Nanji
BOULDER, Colo. — Roots music visionary Otis Taylor’s 13th album, My World Is Gone, set for release February 12, 2013 on Telarc, a division of Concord Music Group, is a lightning bolt of musical creativity and social commentary. Its songs crackle with poetic intelligence and a unique, adventurous sound that balances the modern world with echoes of ancient Africa, Appalachia and more.

To call Taylor a cutting edge artist is an understatement. Although his music is based in the blues and folk realm, his meticulously crafted recordings crash the barriers of jazz, rock, funk, Americana and myriad other genres to create a hybrid that Taylor labels “trance blues.” And that signature style serves as a backbone for his frank tales of struggle, freedom, desire, conflict and, of course, love.

The central theme of My World Is Gone was fueled by Taylor’s friend Mato Nanji, the singer-guitarist and cornerstone of the band Indigenous. “Mato inspired the entire direction of this album,” Taylor relates. “We were talking about history backstage at a Jimi Hendrix tribute concert that Mato had just played, and, in reference to his people, the Native American Nakota Nation, he said ‘My world is gone.’ The simplicity and honesty of those four words was so heavy, I knew what I had to write about.”

Taylor had already begun composing new tunes with other themes for his follow-up to 2012’s critically heralded Contraband. Three of those — “Green Apples,” “Gangster and Iztatoz Chauffeur” and “Coming With Crosses” — appear on My World Is Gone.

But inspired by Nanji — who plays electric and acoustic guitars on six tracks and joins Taylor on vocals for several songs — and by his own understanding of Native American culture developed in part through dealing in Indian art as a young man, Taylor embarked on a soul-searching journey into the past and present, and into the psyche, of America’s indigenous people.

“I’ve written songs about slavery, but here in America that’s considered part of the past,” Taylor explains. “What’s happened and what’s happening to Native Americans is still going on. A lot of people forget that. This is a reminder.”

With his customary brevity, power and grace, Taylor conveys his stories in intimate detail and uses his rich baritone voice to give his characters breath and humanity. The album starts on point with “My World Is Gone,” portraying how the gilded seductions of the white man’s culture undermined the Native American way of life. The melancholy in Taylor’s and Nanji’s vocal performance, as they sing from the perspective of an Indian tormented by temptation and loss, is buoyed by the gentle melodies of Anne Harris’ fiddle and Nanji’s electric and acoustic guitars — the acoustic six-string an Otis Taylor signature model, with only 14 frets, built by the premier instrument makers at Santa Cruz Guitars.

Taylor revisits his song “Lost My Horse,” which originally appeared on 2001’s White African, with a new arrangement that features him and Nanji trading guitar and mandolin lines.

“In the days of the frontier, having a horse could be a matter of life or death, or comfort or poverty, and the horse has been an important part of Native American culture in the west, so the song fit perfectly,” he explains.

“Sand Creek Massacre Mourning,” which recounts the murder of 200 Cheyenne and Arapaho victims by Col. John Chivington’s cavalry in 1864, rests on the backbone of Taylor’s banjo, his primary instrument. He’s played mostly electric banjos on previous albums, save for 2008’s roots-focused Recapturing the Banjo, but on My World Is Gone Taylor employs
four-, five- and six-string acoustic models. “I wanted to get back to that organic sound, because the banjo’s spoken to me since I was a kid,” he says. “Its voice instantly brings you back in time, and so much of My World Is Gone is about history and tradition that its sound is perfect for these songs.”

Nanji again shares vocals with Taylor on “Blue Rain in Africa,” in which a Native American reflects on the survival of his culture, despite the odds, after seeing the birth of a white buffalo — a rare and highly sacred event — on TV. The song’s threads of hope are a striking contrast to “Never Been to the Reservation,” with its lyrics about “babies sleeping on the ground,” although both numbers benefit from Nanji’s burnished blues licks.

While Taylor’s vision can be dark and ominous — the title “Coming With Crosses” is self-explanatory — his songs often celebrate hope and beauty in poignant ways. “Jae Jae Waltz” uses its spare construction of banjo, drums, bass and guest Ron Miles’ cornet to tell a story of a widow’s search for new love, and “Sit Across Your Table” celebrates the comfort and joy a workingman takes in his marriage. The song is also a surprising foray into untempered rock ’n’ roll, with a wailing guitar solo by Shawn Starski.

Starski and Taylor are versatile musicians who make their six-strings sound like an African kora on both “Green Apples” and the quirky Elmore Leonard-like tale “Gangster and Iztatoz Chauffeur.” Starski is the latest addition to Taylor’s touring band, which also includes Anne Harris on fiddle, Larry Thompson on drums and bassist Todd Edmunds, who has replaced Taylor’s daughter Cassie, a fixture of his earlier albums and groups. She now leads her own band, Cassie Taylor & the Soul Cavalry.

Otis Taylor’s own parents were an important part of his musical foundation. His father was a passionate jazz fan who encouraged his son to become a musician. His mother has become the subject of several of Taylor’s songs. Although he was born in Chicago in 1948, his parents relocated their family to Denver when Taylor was a small child in part to protect their son from the harsh realities of urban living. In addition to listening to jazz in his father’s record collection, he fell deeply under the spell of the Mississippi Delta legend John Lee Hooker, whose spare, almost mystical sound still resonates in Taylor’s own work.

“I get a lot of my sense of space and my vocal phrasing from John Lee Hooker, whose music, especially his solo recordings, is so heavy and has so much space that it sounds like it’s alive,” Taylor explains. His other vocal totem is James Brown, whose shouts and howls inspire the thunderous vocal declamations that punctuate many of Taylor’s own recordings.

As a young man, Taylor mastered the banjo and moved on to the harmonica and guitar. He performed with electric guitar virtuoso Tommy Bolin as T&O Short Line, and by 1974-76, he was playing bass as part of the Boulder-based rock group Zephyr. Taylor even jammed with Jimi Hendrix once and pursued his muse to Europe, but frustrations with the music business led him to retire from performing in 1977. He became a dealer in art and antiques, and pursued another of his passions, bicycle racing, as a coach.

In the ’90s, the door to Taylor’s musical past was pried open by friends in the Boulder area, and in 1996, he independently released his debut album, Blue Eyed Monster. With the release of his next two discs, When Negroes Walked the Earth and White African, he began to shake up the blues world with his marvelously original music and his unflinching tales about racism, struggle and heritage. Over the years, Taylor has garnered more than a dozen Blues Music Awards nominations, and White African won Best Debut Album. He is also regularly nominated as an instrumentalist, and won a Blues Music Award for his imaginative banjo playing in 2009. Also, his albums Double V, Definition of a Circle and Recapturing the Banjo took Downbeat’s Best Blues CD awards in 2005, 2007 and 2008, respectively. In all, Taylor has won five DownBeat awards. He has also been nominated twice for the prestigious
Académie Charles Cros award in France.

His 2009 recording, Pentatonic Wars and Love Songs, was released in the same week that two of Taylor’s songs were heard by millions in Michael Mann’s blockbuster movie Public Enemies starring Johnny Depp and Christian Bale.

In 2010, Taylor started his own annual Trance Blues Festival in Boulder, Colorado, which brings a broad cast of professional and amateur musicians together for three days of performances, jams and workshops.

“The thing about music is that it’s not just a spectator sport,” Taylor says. “In a world where there’s a lot of misunderstanding, music can help people communicate and break down barriers, and start to really see each other for who they are.

“I write songs about people remembering, bearing witness,” Taylor continues. “I’ve learned that if you write about things that are important, people will listen. That’s one of the reasons why I wrote the songs that I did for My World Is Gone.

“I push myself to be prolific and to make every new album better than the last one for personal reasons, too,” he relates. “A few years ago I had a cyst removed that was attached to my liver and spine. It was a life-threatening situation — really painful. I didn’t know if I was going to survive the surgery. I came to grips with the idea that the albums I’m making are going to be my legacy. And I want the people who love me — my family, my friends — to be proud.”

# # #

For more information about Otis Taylor, please contact:
Cary Baker
Conqueroo • (323) 656-1600 •
Mike Wilpizeski
Concord Music Group • 718-459-2117 •
Tour Publicity: Kelly Johanns-DiCilloConcord Music Group • 216-464-2313, x2470 •

If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, ”LIKE” ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorite band!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Telarc release: Legacy; The Best of Tab Benoit

Telarc has assembled 14 of Tab Benoit's best tracks on one disk called Legacy: The Best of Tab Benoit. This will be released on April 3, 2012. Buddy Miller's Shelter Me from Power of the Ponchatrain opens the recording with a song bred in the streets of Louisiana. Night Train, a hard driving blues rock track is a great addition and a straight forward blues rocker with some great guitar riffs and a cool overdriven grinding amp tone. A little Screamin' Jay Hawkins (I Put A Spell On You) from Homesick for the Road, is a great soulful blues interlude. Benoit's tasteful double stops and fretting hand tremolo adds effect to the recording. I've always been particularly partial to this song and I think that Benoit does a great interpretation. Still's For What It's Worth from Power of the Ponchatrain provides a great platform for Benoit to show his guitar chops. Nice and Warm from Whiskey Store, a hot slow Texas style blues, features guitar ace Jimmy Thackery as well as Benoit on guitars. This is a great track for those of use who enjoy a little uninhibited guitar playing. Muddy Bottom Blues from Wetlands, a Benoit original, is a high steppin' blues track with calls back to the players mirroring their vocals on guitar which I always like as well as some great guitar riffs blended in. Darkness, another Benoit original from The Sea Saint Sessions retreats back to the soulful blues. Benoit has a great voice to deliver a track like this and he takes out the time to play quite a deep feeling guitar solo. Comin' On Strong, a Billy Joe Shavers song from the Brother to the Blues recording features Shavers on vocals and Waylon Thibodeaux on fiddle. The Blues Is Here To Stay from the Fever From The Bayou recording and penned by Neville, Norman Caesar and Taj Mahal features Cyril Neville on drums and vocals. With that lineup you know to expect a deep heaping of New Orleans soul. Some of the most lively guitar riffs appear on this track. Medicine, the title track of the Medicine release and co written by Benoit has a lot of the grit of an older blues tune. It's a great blues driven song and a great addition to the recording with strong vocals, rhythm and some screaming guitar riffs. These Arms of Mine, of course by Otis Redding and from the Wetlands recording allows Benoit to demonstrate his soulful singing style and also gives him the opportunity to demonstrate once again his adaptive nature with his original guitar playing. Whiskey Store, title track from the Whiskey Store release and again featuring Jimmy Thackery on guitar is an opportunity for two guitar aces to push each other and they do. With Benoit playing in tandem with his singing and Thackery laying down over the top solo tracks they never step on each other and the result is terrific. New Orleans Lady from the Night Train To Nashville features Jimmy Hall on harp and vocals is a cool airplay style ballad giving the two the opportunity to harmonize on vocals and each to have his time in the sun. Bayou Boogie from Whiskey Store Live again featuring Jimmy Thackery is really a rockin boogie and just a great excuse to kick out the stops, get you movin' and play some over the top guitar riffs.

Job well done! Whether you just need a quick dose of benoit or are not familiar with his work, this is a great cd to fill your need.
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