Otis Taylor

Otis Taylor calls his music "trance blues," and that sounds about right. On his new record, Clovis People Vol. 3 (there is no volume one or two, by the way), Taylor sounds a lot like the next link in a chain that started with John Lee Hooker, who employed similar techniques — particularly, riffing on droning, one-chord melodies. But where Hooker's blues were fluid to the point that backing musicians had a hard time following him, Taylor's are more arranged and beat-driven, and he's not afraid, in spite of his old-school platform, to work with contemporary effects. The heavy reverb adds an ethereal, cinematic touch, and his overdriven guitar tone could be brothers in arms with Dire Straits. And when Taylor sings "Somebody woke me up from a deep, deep sleep," it comes off like a dream within a dream: We may be conscious, but we're mesmerized.

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