Midland School presents blues legend Otis Taylor tonight, Thursday, September 20, at 7:45 p.m. as the first show in its new amphitheater. The show is open to the public and is $10 for adults and $5 for kids. See otistaylor.com, sbblues.org, and midland-school.org for more. Here’s why you should make the trek to rural Los Olivos:
1)It’s for the kids: Profits from the concert will go to help Midland, a boarding school with an environmentally based curriculum that urges its students to get their hands dirty in nature. This is not the first music benefit that Otis Taylor has done for kids, either. In February 2005, he talked with 200 kids at the Ricks Center for Gifted Children on the University of Denver campus about how the blues is a uniquely American art form that has influenced much of the music we enjoy today.
2)He’s a blues legend: Otis Taylor has had tremendous success with his music. Downbeat named Taylor’s album Definition of a Circle as the Best Blues Album of the Year in 2007. Also, his song “Nasty Letter” was featured on the soundtrack in the Mark Wahlberg action movie Shooter.
3)It’s about real life: “He’s created a body of original work that sounds like nothing else,” wrote Billboard. Although he does not consider himself an unhappy person, Taylor addresses difficult issues like murder, tyranny, homelessness, and injustice. “White African,” his extremely personal statement about the experiences of African Americans, discusses the lynching of his great-grandfather and the death of his uncle. Taylor also fearlessly sings about race relations and other social injustices.