Otis Taylor, the Chicago-based American Blues Musician is talented in playing guitar, banjo, harmonica, mandolin and vocals. He was inspired after spending time in the Denver Folklore Centre listening to Piedmont, Sun House, Mississippi Fred Mc Dowell and Muddy Waters. He is one of the compelling musicians in Colorado.
Colorado Music Hall of Fame is a contemporary music museum in Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre committed to make people more aware about the diverse music legacy. The amphitheatre features concerts of best known musicians including Otis Taylor. Drop by the museum after the concerts and learn more about the history of state’s music.
Born in 1948 in Chicago, the musician grew up in Denver. His parents’ love for Jazz music rubbed off on him. He was inclined towards blues, Appalachian music and folk music. Though his father wanted him to be a Jazz musician, he grew up learning banjo, guitar and harmonica during his teen years.
By the time he hit mid-teens he formed the blues bands – the Butterscotch Fire Department and Otis Taylor. During 1969 he stayed for a brief period in England pursuing a record deal with Blue Horizon. Since the negotiations failed, he returned back to the US. He started trying his hand in mandolin in 1970.
His temporary break from music industry:
His career took a turn in 1976 as he didn’t want to be a part of mainstream music business. He went on to become a successful antiques broker. He also organized, coached and funded an African-American bicycle racing team. The team stood fourth in the United States. After the insistence of Kenny Passarelli he made a comeback to music industry in 1995.
His comeback post 1995:
He restarted his career in music by playing in benefit concerts. Gradually he started performing solo with his band. He received overwhelming response from his fans and started touring and performing regularly. His songwriting talents earned him a fellowship to the Sudan Institute in Park City, Utah.
Some of his top-rated albums:
- White African, 2000
- Respect the Dead, 2002
- Truth is not Fiction, 2003
- Double V, 2004
- Definition of a Circle, 2007
- Pentatonic Wars, 2009
His great-grandfather was lynched during the time of American-American unrest. His songs were generally about his personal connection and the legacy of lynching in African-American History. He is one of the rarest musicians whose lyrics carry so much depth.