Courtesy of Cassie Taylor
By Danny R. Phillips
Blues runs in the family. The blues eats at your soul, haunts you, boils your blood, and can either build you up or tear you down. Cassie Taylor, daughter of legendary bluesman Otis Taylor, chose to follow the calling and, in the process, has become one of the preeminent blues musicians in the Kansas City area today.
At age twenty-six, Taylor has spent more than a decade on the road, bringing her take on the blues to audiences as she molds and shapes the songs that move her. You can hear a bygone era in her work, but the music of her generation is also prominent in her songwriting. Last spring, Cassie Taylor released Out of My Mind, a collection of songs that speaks to funk, soul, the frazzled edges of electronica, and good old rock ’n’ roll. Cassie creates music that is at times beautiful, hard-charging, and rump-shaking. Although the current upswing in the popularity of blues is led by the likes of Jack White, Gary Clark Jr., and The Black Keys, Cassie deserves to run with the boys, joining them as they kick down doors and howl at the moon.
Cassie is a hard-working road dog, whether it’s with the help of her compatriots in the Cassie Taylor Band or in the “super group” Girls With Guitars that she formed in 2011 with fellow wunderkinds Samantha Fish and Dani Wilde. Cassie has stepped out of the life of a session player and forged a sizable shadow of her own to cast alongside that of her venerated father Otis.
By the end of 2009, the road had worn her soul thin. She jumped overboard from her father’s band and quit recording music entirely. However, musicians, like writers, cannot ignore the beast of creativity clawing, fighting its way out to the world. By 2010, she recorded and released her debut solo record, Blue, and played nearly two hundred tour dates with the scorching band Girls With Guitars.
After Out Of My Mind, no more will she be known as Cassie Taylor, daughter of Otis Taylor; to think of this musician in primarily those terms would be a crime.
Throughout the album, she stretches out her legs and shows the music world that she is her own woman with influences of her own. Ballad “Lay Your Head On My Pillow” drips with Dusty Springfield sultriness, and stand-out track “Forgiveness” is packed with funky trumpet and Cassie rocking the Hammond B-3 organ, melting it all together to make a truly killer track.
The beauty of Cassie Taylor’s music lies in the ability to take traditional elements of the blues and combine them with contemporary funk, soul, jazz, and electronic music that is solely her own. She is a gem that the world will hear more from in the future. The blues is a living, breathing beast, and Cassie is well on her way to taming it.