AEG proudly presents Tab Benoit with Otis Taylor, Whiskey Bayou Records recording Artist Alastair Greene on Friday, July 2, 2021 at 7 p.m. as part of the Summer at Sculpture Park Concert Series. This show will kick off the season at Sculpture Park which is produced by AEG in partnership with Arts & Venues featuing national and local live music events all summer long.
Arts & Venues Spotlight subcribers can use the following link to access $10 off tickets. Discount Link >> https://bit.ly/2T2p7HX
About Tab Benoit
One of the most impressive guitarists to emerge from the rich Bayous of Southern Louisiana in recent years, Tab Benoit’s guitar tone can be recognized before his Otis-Redding-ish voice resonates from the speakers. He doesn’t rely on any effects and his set up is simple. It consists of a guitar, cord, and Category 5 Amplifier. The effects that you hear come from his fingers.
Born on November 17, 1967, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Benoit grew up in the nearby oil and fishing town of Houma, where he still resides today. Musically, he was exposed early on to traditional Cajun waltzes and the country music broadcast on his hometown’s only radio station. Benoit’s father was himself a musician; as such, the family home was filled with various instruments. He began playing drums but switched to guitar because the only gigs to be had in rural Louisiana were held in churches and at church fairs, and organizers would not allow loud drums to be played at these events.
In 1992 Benoit released his first recording Nice and Warm on the Justice Label. The title track became a AAA Radio hit and Benoit’s touring career kicked into high gear. Nice and Warm prompted comparisons to blues guitar heavyweights like Albert King, Albert Collins and even Jimi Hendrix. Tab began playing two-hundred and fifty shows a year, a schedule he has kept up for over twenty years. He recorded four albums for Justice Records before being signed to the Vanguard label, and became Louisiana’s Number One Blues export. Vanguard allowed Tab to produce his own recordings; Tab wanted to record the sound that he was trying to create and in 1999 Vanguard Records released These Blues Are All Mine.
Tab Benoit’s music evolved again after he signed with the Telarc International/Concord Music Group in 2002. He began to strip it down to a three-piece group, where he found more freedom as a guitarist. He was also on a mission in wanting to use his music and his energy to bring attention to Louisiana’s coastal erosion issues. Tab began to spend more time in the Wetlands and it was where he began to write his songs. Wetlands was the title of his first Telac/Concord International release. The record combined many musical styles that are indigenous to Louisiana, while he began to play accordion lines and washboard on guitar. Wetlands was a mile marker that definitively marked Tab’s further musical progression into his own original sound and style.
Following the release of Wetlands in 2004 Benoit founded the Voice of the Wetlands non-profit organization and began to use music and gather other musicians to use their platforms for getting the message out. He put together an all-star band that featured Cyril Neville, Anders Osborne, George Porter Jr, Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, Johnny Vidacovich, Johnny Sansone, and Waylon Thibodeaux that became The Voice of the Wetlands All-Stars. The Voice of the Wetlands All-Stars have released two CDs and occasionally tour throughout the country.
Benoit recently launched his own imprint, Whiskey Bayou Records, with partner and manager, Rueben Williams. The label has thus far released albums by such established artists as Eric McFadden, Damon Fowler, Eric Johanson, Jeff McCarty, and Dash Rip Rock. In 2019 Benoit hits the road for a major U.S. Tour, the Whiskey Bayou Revue, featuring Benoit and several of his label’s artists.
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COMBO Member Otis Taylor – Born with the Blues in Denver
Otis Taylor grew up in Denver, but like the old blues song said, he was born in Chicago in 1948. According to Taylor his parents were both jazz fans. “My dad worked for the railroad and knew a lot of jazz people. He was a socialist and real bebopper.” His mother loved everything from Etta James to Pat Boone. The first instrument Taylor learned to play was the banjo, but he soon rejected the banjo for its association with the racist American South. Taylor would eventually return to the banjo upon discovering its African roots.
Like so many musicians in Denver, Taylor drew inspiration from time spent at the Denver Folklore Center founded by Harry Tuft, where he first heard Piedmont, Delta, country, and Chicago blues artists like Son House, Muddy Waters, and Mississippi Fred McDowell. He learned to play guitar and harmonica and while still in his teens he formed a band called the Butterscotch Fire Department and later the Otis Taylor Blues Band. A brief sojourn to London in the late 1960s earned Taylor a contract with Blue Horizon Records. Disappointed that they didn’t share the same vision, they parted ways and Taylor returned to Boulder where he played with various artists including Tommy Bolin, Zephyr, and the 4-Nikators.
As the music and the business changed, Taylor turned away from public performances in 1977 and developed a thriving career as an expert in high-end antiques. During the twenty years he was out of the mainstream music business he also helped organize, coach, and fund one of the first African American bicycle racing teams that eventually ranked 4th in the United States. In 1995 at the urging of Kenny Passarelli (inducted into the Hall in 2017 and renowned bass player for Elton John and Joe Walsh’s Barnstorm) Taylor kicked off his return to performing at the opening of Buchanan’s coffeehouse on University Hill in Boulder, joined by Passarelli and former Zephyr guitarist Eddie Turner. Audience response was so strong that it served as a catalyst for Taylor’s return to recording and touring with his vision of pushing the blues genre forward with fresh and original songwriting. In 1996 he released his first solo album, “Blue-Eyed Monster” (Shoelace Music) produced by Kenny Passarelli. According to Taylor, “ I developed a way of saying something that seemed to be more intense. You can definitely see how I was getting ready to go that way.”
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