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HEY JOE OPUS
RED MEAT 

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Hey Joe Opus/Red Meat seamlessly blends hypnotic songs and instrumentals; features guests Warren Haynes, Langhorne Slim and String Cheese Incident’s Bill Nershi

Hey Joe Opus/Red Meat, the new album from visionary roots music songwriter and bandleader Otis Taylor, is a psychedelic masterpiece. Blending his uniquely poetic songwriting and the compelling musical approach that he calls “trance blues,” the recording — due on May 5, 2015 on Taylor’s new Trance Blues Festival label — cuts to the core of the human spirit with its mix of vocal and instrumental performances, letting its hypnotic sound as well as Taylor’s lyrics tell its story.

The artist explains that his 14th album is “about decisions and their consequences. It’s about how decisions and the actions that result can change our lives, the lives of our families and the lives of people we don’t even know. Sometimes you win in life; sometimes you lose. You want the outcome of your decisions to be good, but sometimes its bad. And that’s when you don’t eat the meat. The meat eats you.”

Typical for Taylor, he’s found a unique way of expressing those ideas in a grand work. The songs on Hey Joe Opus/Red Meat comprise a suite in 10 parts, designed to be heard as a complete recording, with the classic song of decisions and their consequences “Hey Joe” as its overarching theme. That number, made famous as the debut single from the Jimi Hendrix Experience in 1966, was written by folk artist Billy Roberts and has intrigued Taylor and been part of his live concerts for two decades.

In a gambit that recalls Pink Floyd’s use of recurring musical themes on their enduring multi-platinum album Wish You Were Here, “Hey Joe” appears on Hey Joe Opus/Red Meat twice. The first version, which starts the album, features Gov’t Mule and Allman Brothers guitarist Warren Haynes. The second features Langhorne Slim on backing vocals. Haynes also plays on the first of three appearances of the Taylor composition “Sunday Morning,” which follows. His bold guitar tones mesh perfectly with Taylor’s sonic tapestry as both songs set the tone for the album. The recurring motifs in “Sunday Morning” are especially striking, drawing on powerful, single-chord rhythms and the interplay of Taylor band members Todd Edmunds on bass, guitarist Taylor Scott, drummer Larry Thompson and violinist Anne Harris, who often plays melodic and textural foil to Taylor’s idiosyncratic, mesmerizing guitar. They’re joined by keyboardists Gus Skinas and Steve Vidaic, cornetist Ron Miles, banjo player David Moore and, on “Peggy Lee,” a song about a man undergoing a sex change, String Cheese Incident guitarist Bill Nershi. Together they bring Taylor’s unfailingly brilliant ideas to kaleidoscopic life.

The album introduces four more new Taylor songs. “The Heart Is a Muscle” is a driving tune about the complexities of love and “Cold at Midnight” mixes loneliness and infidelity into Taylor’s potent aural swirl. There’s also “Red Meat,” driven by Taylor playing his signature model Santa Cruz acoustic guitar, and the elegant instrumental “They Wore Blue,” which transitions the album into its second half.

TOURING BAND 2013

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The band members from left to right: Larry Thompson, Todd Edmunds, Otis Taylor, Anne Harris, and Shawn Starski


THE BAND AND TOURING FRIENDS

OTIS TAYLOR

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It's the ideal project for the architect of a sparse and hypnotic style that has come to be known as "trance blues." Taylor has spent his career crafting songs that are wide open to interpretation, thematically as well as structurally. "I give people a starting point, and then they can take it where they want to take it," he explains. "That's true for the people playing my music as well as the people listening to it. That's how art should be. A person looking at a painting should be able to interpret it in whatever way he wants. The more words you put into a song, the less freedom the listener has to decide what it means..."

ANNE HARRIS

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Anne Harris is a singer-songwriter, fiddler and indie recording artist whose "songs frequently sound born of a spiritual awakening" (Chicago Tribune.) Her "original sound and voice" (Bruce Hornsby) channels influences "from Celtic to African to American folk/rock" (Chicago magazine.) "Gravity and faith," the latest of her four studio records, exudes a revealing honesty and deep-rooted strength, with her signature, fiddling and string arrangements comprising a compelling sonic embrace. Anne is thrilled to be performing with Otis Taylor for selected tour dates.


LARRY THOMPSON

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Larry Thompson is a highly acclaimed drummer in great demand as a performing and recording artist. He has worked in many different genres of music and has performed in almost all music venues including the blues with John Mayal, John Lee Hooker and Elvin Bishop, heavy rock with Tommy Bolin, Wall of Windows, and Body House, live radio and Television shows like E-Town on National Public Radio, classical shows with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, the CSSO featuring Steve Barta and Wind Machine with The National Repertory Orchestra. He has also toured with folk artists like Glen Yarbrough and The Limelighters, rock artists like Iain Mathews, and performed with jazz artists like Dizzy Gillespie, Dave Valentine, and Robin Ford to name a few.


TODD EDMUNDS

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Todd Edmunds is a bassist and sousaphonist from Augusta, Georgia. He has performed in a wide variety of musical situations. His exposure to the blues circuit came as a five year stint as full time bassist for Jason Ricci & New blood. He is a life long student of music with a foundation in jazz.


BETH ROSBACH

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Cellist Beth Rosbach has resided in Colorado since 2001. Known for her musical versatility, Ms. Rosbach has performed with bands, orchestras and chamber music groups throughout the United States, Europe, and Australia. She has appeared on stage with musicians as diverse as bluesman Otis Taylor, cellist Lynn Harrell, pop and electronic musician Moby, and newgrass band Railroad Earth. Ms. Rosbach has played on dozens of recordings, including noted Denver singer-songwriter Covenhoven. In 2016 she performed in a faculty recital at the University of Colorado-Boulder featuring the music of Pulizer Prize finalist Carter Pann. In 2011 Ms. Rosbach founded Sphere Ensemble, the Denver-based string chamber group noted for its 21st century take on classical music. She is an enthusiastic advocate for musician wellness, including studies of the Alexander Technique. Ms. Rosbach holds cello performance degrees from The University of Colorado and The University of Oklahoma. She joined the chamber music coaching staff with Off the Hook Arts (Fort Collins) in 2016, and maintains a flourishing private teaching studio in Boulder.


MILES BRETT - Europe

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Miles Brett is a busy freelance violinist and viola player performing with many orchestras around the country including the Guy Barker Orchestra, Heritage Orchestra, London Contemporary Orchestra and the Urban Soul Orchestra(frequent Leader and Director). With these ensembles and many more he has played around the world and in most of the large UK concert venues, including The O2 Arena and The Royal Albert Hall(BBC Proms). Miles has played on many sessions at London's top recording venues with performing artists such as Mary J Blige, Leona Lewis, Professor Green, Paloma Faith, Tim Minchin, Muse and Il Divo. He also has keen interest in chamber music with his string quartet holding a residency at Lord's Cricket Ground and performing the to the First Lady Michelle Obama upon her arrival for London 2012 Olympic Games. In 2015 Miles became co-leader of Europe's first black and ethnic minority symphony orchestra, Chineke! Orchestra. Making their debut 5 star concert at Queen Elizabeth Hall in London Miles also extends his talents to in the Jazz and Blues world, touring with artists such as Neil Cowley Trio, Otis Taylor and collaborating frequently with trumpeter Jay Phelps.


MUSIC

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TITLE
 
ALBUM
 
"My World Is Gone" My World Is Gone

ALBUMS

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TITLE:  My World Is Gone
RELEASE:  OUT NOW
LABEL:  TELARC
TITLE:  Contraband
RELEASE:  OUT NOW
LABEL:  TELARC
TITLE:  Clovis People, Vol 3
RELEASE:  OUT NOW
LABEL:  TELARC
TITLE:  Pantatonic Wars and Love Songs
RELEASE:  OUT NOW
LABEL:  TELARC
TITLE:  Recapturing the Banjo
RELEASE:  OUT NOW
LABEL:  TELARC
TITLE:  Definition of a Circle
RELEASE:  OUT NOW
LABEL:  TELARC
TITLE:  Below the Fold
RELEASE:  OUT NOW
LABEL:  TELARC
TITLE:  Double V
RELEASE:  OUT NOW
LABEL:  TELARC
TITLE:  Truth is Not fiction
RELEASE:  OUT NOW
LABEL:  TELARC
TITLE:  Respect the Dead
RELEASE:  OUT NOW
LABEL:  Northern Blues Music
TITLE:  White African
RELEASE:  OUT NOW
LABEL:  Northern Blues
TITLE:  When Negroes Walked The Earth
RELEASE:  OUT NOW
LABEL:  Shoelace Music

COMPILATIONS

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ALBUM
 
LABEL
 
"Get the Blues" NARM, 2001
"Roadhouse Blues" Captial, 2003
"The Future of the Blues" Northern Blues, 2002
"Scramin' and Hollerin' the Blues" hanachie, 2000
"Beyond Mississippi" Manteca, 2002
"The Blues Foundation Presents Blues Greats" Blues Foundation, 2002
"Blues Music Awards" The Blues Foundation, 2007
GUEST ON:
 
"Gary Moore. Bad For You" Eagle Records, 2008