Review: Otis Taylor "Pentatonic Wars And Love Songs"

Otis Taylor has a full, rich voice so full of bluesy soul that it could melt butter, and Taylor's new release, "Pentatonic Wars And Love Songs," will also melt your heart.

Fans of roots and Americana music enjoy Otis Taylor because of his signature sound which emotes passion and intensity even in low-key tracks such as the album's first song "Looking For Some Heat." Otis Taylor feels the lyrics, and at some moments he channels Barry White with some blues-infused Americana. Plus, Taylor is an accomplished instrumentalist, and his skills on guitar are breathtaking.

Country fans may have first discovered Otis Taylor on "Recapturing The Banjo," which is his stellar 2008 release that examines the banjo's African roots. "Pentatonic Wars And Love Songs" takes an entirely new direction and explores all elements of love.

The biggest surprise on the album is the melodic and ethereal "Silver Dollar On My Head." Otis Taylor has never sounded better, and it's followed by the excellent "Lost My Guitar" and the enchanting "I'm Not Mysterious."

But the best track is the terrific "Country Boy, Girl" which features rich instrumentation and simple, but thought provoking lyrics. Another standout is "Sunday Morning" which offers vocals from Taylor's daughter, Cassie Taylor, as well as Otis Taylor's subtle musicianship.

"Mama's Best Friend" is a musical feast with a steady beat and heartfelt vocals. "Maybe Yeah," "If You Hope" and "Walk On Water" also deserve special attention. However, Otis Taylor is at his best with the stripped down "Dagger By My Side" and "Young Girl Down The Street."

Otis Taylor is an artist who knows how to make music that will make you feel emotions you didn't even know you had. Let's be honest, most people don't know what the word "pentatonic" means (the pentatonic scale is a musical scale with five pitches per octave). But that doesn't matter one bit, because Otis Taylor's "Pentatonic Wars And Love Songs" will make you feel some "pentatonic" passion deep in your soul.