Tag Archives: folk music
After college, when I began to seriously collect old LPs, one record I’d always see in the used record bins was Shawn Phillips’ Second Contribution (1971). The intriguing album cover features a long-haired Phillips dressed like a folk sorcerer, in a cape with his back to the camera, playing a 12-string guitar on some stretch of dry, cracked soil. Anyone that could play — not just strum — a 12-string guitar was someone I had to hear. Or did I?
Otis Taylor may release albums under the guise of a bluesman, but the veteran singer/composer/multi-instrumentalist often turns the genre on its side and even its head. His chilling songs are inspired by Appalachian folk music and brazenly reference the horrors of racism, the indignities of the healthcare crisis and the realities of heroin addiction without relying on standard blues arrangements. With such potent lyrics, musical categorization simply doesn’t matter.