By Stephen Dalton, Special to Tahoe Onstage
If the Otis Taylor Band ever returns to the Reno-Tahoe area, make an effort to check it out. There isn’t another band quite like it on the planet.
The Celebrity Showroom at the Nugget Casino Resort was the happening spot on Sept. 25, as the Otis Taylor Band played its singular trance blues to an enthusiastic crowd of music lovers. The 700-seat theater provides an intimate setting with excellent acoustics. It’s located in the eastern end of the mammoth Sparks casino-hotel formerly known as John Ascuaga’s Nugget.
The Denver, Colorado, based band is led by Otis Taylor on guitar, banjo, harmonica and vocals. Taylor has recorded 14 studio albums in the last 20 years, but his band is more renowned for live performances in the United States and, increasingly, in Europe. Saturday’s show validated that reputation, as the audience obviously was thrilled and entranced from start to finish.
The band features several immensely talented performers, particularly Anne “Prudence” Harris on violin. Her flowing solos and charismatic dancing showcased every song. Young guitar stud Taylor Scott from, of all places, Cheyenne, Wyoming, was the recipient of awestruck hoots and whistles after most of his fluid, ripping solos. Veteran drummer Larry Thompson, with his unique sense of rhythm and powerhouse bass drum rolls, was yet another amazing musician. Solid bassist Todd Edmunds and second violinist Miles Brett filled out the band.
That’s right, folks, this is a blues band with two fiddlers. Englishman Brett, according to the band’s Facebook page, is sitting in with the group for the next month. His dueling violin melodies with Harris amplified the “trance factor” of the music.
The highlight of the show was undoubtedly “Hey Joe Opus/ Red Meat,” which lasted about 35 minutes. Based on the well-known song popularized by Jimi Hendrix, the Otis Taylor rendition, with its numerous segues and half-dozen scintillating solos, exemplifies the trance blues genre. The audience clearly was captivated throughout the entirety of the song, no small feat given the length of the piece.
— Stephen Dalton lived in Maine where live music is extremely popular. He likes explosions and ice cream.
Related story: Walter Trout lives to tell about it. LINK
Related story: Otis Taylor talks about “Hey Joe Opus / Red Meat.” LINK