Release Date: Feb 12, 2013
Record label: Telarc
Genre(s): Blues, Americana, Modern Electric Blues, Modern Acoustic Blues, Contemporary Blues, Acoustic Blues, Modern Blues, Electric Country Blues
Otis Taylor's mixture of "trance blues" and tough social commentary remains unlike anything else in American music. Here the Colorado singer and banjo champion focuses on the dispossession of Native Americans, helped by guitarist Mato Nanji (of the band Indigenous). Their approach veers between the mournful, fiddle-drenched acoustics of the title track and tougher electric pieces, such as Lost My Horse and Never Been to the Reservation, where Nanji makes stinging contributions.
Otis Taylor is among the most mercurial of bluesmen. While his signature vocal phrasing and playing -- whether it be on guitar, mandolin, or banjo -- is rooted in several blues traditions -- his music almost never strictly conforms. Taylor's ability to morph his elliptical "trance blues" into any sound he pursues is beguiling. My World Is Gone is no exception.
Among the numerous instruments at Mato Nanji’s disposal is a mournful, melodious guitar, equally effective whether the Indigenous frontman has a slide on his pinky or not. It was a chance encounter with Nanji that birthed Otis Taylor’s concept for My World Is Gone, a vivid song cycle of secondhand tales about life on the reservation, about loves and birthrights lost. A sometimes dour, doomstruck album, My World Is Gone nonetheless boasts a palpable pulse, both moral and musical, that keeps it humming along nicely.
The problem with Otis Taylor has always been very simple: he puts too much stock into his not-particularly-engaging voice and not enough stock into his well-honed musicianly sense of texturing—specifically, the banjo and/or guitar playing that he gets out of either himself or whomever he’s hired for his latest album. A black man born in Chicago but raised in Denver, Taylor’s a banjo, guitar, and sometimes mandolin player who was a professional bluesman in the mid-‘70s but quit for a long while and has been releasing solo records for only the last 15 years or so. Well into his 60s, he both sounds and looks like he could’ve come from anywhere in America.