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Otis Taylor


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Otis Taylor’s career in music performance and recording has taken a circuitous path. Born in Chicago 1948, and growing up in Denver after his family relocated there, he began listening to blues and folk-blues in his teens. Through Denver’s Folklore Center, he began to play the blues. By 1977, though, he “retired” from music and had a successful antiques business. He returned to music when he was nearly 50, and having immersed himself in the history of the folklore of the blues, he traced the migration of both the blues and the banjo from its roots in Africa to its “birth” in the American south.

His music is uncompromising and fierce, and it walks the line of gritty and gorgeous well. He incorporates elements of the blues masters Johnson, Jefferson, McTell and others, but always makes the resulting music his own.

His return to performance and recording began in 1995, but it was his acceptance of a Sundance Festival composition fellowship in 2000 that sparked his emergence as a preeminent bluesman with When Negroes Walked the Earth. His song, ‘Nasty Letter’, plays over the credits at the end of the 2007 Mark Wahlberg film Shooter.


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