Otis Taylor CD Preview
Otis Taylor CD Preview
Reverend Keith A. Gordon
Throughout his lengthy and acclaimed career, it could be said that Otis Taylor puts the "blue" in blues music. His beautifully-crafted songs are dark-hued tales of the human condition, warts and all, tackling such difficult and complex issues as racism, poverty, drugs, and social injustice on albums such as Double V and Respect The Dead.
On June 23, 2009 Taylor turns his songwriting talent and brilliant insight to love, romance, and relationships with the Telarc Records release of Pentatonic Wars and Love Songs, his ninth album. Featuring Taylor's trademark sound â€“ the haunting vocals and hypnotic acoustic guitar riffs that he calls "trance blues" â€“ the album will also include guest appearances from Irish blues-rock guitarist Gary Moore and jazz/hip-hop pianist Jason Moran. Taylor's daughter Cassie, a gifted vocalist and frequent contributor to her father's songs, provides vocals on several cuts.
Needless to say, Taylor's approach to writing about romance is quite different than any other songwriter, and the material on Pentatonic Wars and Love Songs includes tales of tragedy and loss, deception and betrayal. "Thatâ€™s just my nature," says Taylor in a press release about the album. "I may write love songs, but they arenâ€™t always going to be happy and pretty. Look at songs like "Teen Angel" or "Ode To Billy Joe." Those are love songs, but they arenâ€™t exactly happy. So why shouldnâ€™t my songs be considered love songs?"
Pentatonic Wars and Love Songs follows Taylor's acclaimed 2008 album Recapturing the Banjo, which earned the multi-instrumentalist a Blues Music Award nomination as "Acoustic Artist of the Year." A celebration of the African roots of the misunderstood instrument, the album included contributions from such acoustic blues artists as Guy Davis, Corey Harris, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Don Vappie, and Keb' Mo'.
"This is a different kind of endeavor for me," Taylor says of the new recording. "I found myself saying, 'What can I do after making a banjo album? What will people want to listen to?' My answer was love songs. Iâ€™m doing things here that I didnâ€™t have the opportunity to do on previous albums, things that people wouldnâ€™t normally expect from me, compared to what Iâ€™ve done so far. I think itâ€™s one of my best works because it has such unusual elements."