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Savannah Music Festival: Otis Taylor

Friday, April 5, Ships of the Sea Museum (with Tab Benoit)

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The Colorado-based Taylor writes and sings in an unapologetically raw style, flailing away at a banjo, on stark songs that combine Delta blues and African influences (after all, Africa is the home of the banjo) with Appalachian laments and other elements of American roots music. According to Guitar Player magazine, "he is arguably the most relevant blues artist of our time."

He isn't afraid to approach dark subjects; his breathrough album, White African, dealt harshly and realistically with African-American history: Said Downbeat: "(Taylor) has a poet's soul, with a deep respect for the history of blacks in America and an unshakable curiosity about the human condition." Paste called him " a country-folk version of spontaneous, talking-blues master John Lee Hooker."

"I make the kind of music that's not really commercial," he told an interviewer. "I just don't care. I'm sure other people can write like that; they just may not be comfortable because they won't sell records. It isn't that they can't do it; they just choose not to do it."

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