Keeping the Blues Alive is a proud partner of GivingTuesday

Blues News

Otis Taylor – Hey joe – Video of The Week

Otis Taylor – Hey joe – Video of The Week

Otis Taylor is born in Chicago and raised in Denver. Music is a part of his life as a kid with parents who were into all styles and genres. The first instrument that he learns to play is the banjo. Then, he starts a lucrative music career playing blues guitar. While touring in the late sixties and 70s, he realizes that he is losing interest in music and performing. Equally important, he decides to walk away from music and instead sells high end antiques. During the twenty years he was out of the mainstream music business he keeps himself busy during this time playing locally in Boulder. Playing with various artists including Tommy Bolin, Zephyr, and the 4-Nikators. 

At the urging of a friend, Kenny Passarelli (Bass player for Elton John & Joe Walsh’s Barnstorm) in 1995.  Taylor kicks off his return to performing at the opening of Buchanan’s coffeehouse on University Hill in Boulder. Joined by Passarelli and former Zephyr guitarist Eddie Turner. With such a great outcome from the audience, it becomes the catalyst for Taylor’s return to recording and touring with his vision of pushing the blues genre forward with fresh and original songwriting.

Returning to Music

Besides having several albums under his belt. The roots of the style that becomes Otis Taylor’s most recognizable contribution to blues. which can be found on “Truth Is Not Fiction” (Telarc Records) releasing in 2003. Music critics were both enthralled and a bit mystified by Taylor’s signature “Trance Blues” electric, psychedelic style. “Truth is Not Fiction” earned a top 10 album of the year listing from the New York Times and was also featured with rave reviews from USA Today, Washington Post, and NPR, and the record culminated in a Downbeat critics award for “Blues Album of the Year.” “Double V” came out in 2004 and was the first of 11 records produced by Otis Taylor.

“Writing the Blues” 

As a resident of Boulder, Taylor gives back to his community with the annual Trance Blues Festival in Boulder. Inviting a diverse cast of musicians as guest artists for an all-ages workshop and concert.  Along with his wife Carol, they also create a blues in the school’s program called “Writing the Blues” which Taylor has delivered in schools and universities around the world. The program acknowledges the history of the blues but also encourages original songwriting. According to Taylor, “I start by talking about how everybody gets the blues and it’s been amazing to see the powerful stories the students are willing to share.” And according to Carol, “It allows Otis to do his part in ensuring that the blues, with new and original voices, will continue to move forward in the next generation.”

Keeping the Blues Alive

To learn more or donate to Keeping The Blues Alive, visit our website at https://keepingthebluesalive.org/

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email