Cassie Taylor
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Cassie Taylor

Kansas City, Missouri, United States | INDIE

Kansas City, Missouri, United States | INDIE
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"Mesmerizing, nuanced, and imaginatively arranged... and when she hits the gas, man, you feel it."

The daughter of bluesman Otis Taylor, bassist, keyboardist, and vocalist extraordinaire Cassie Taylor has lived music all her life. As a teenager, she sang and played in her father’s band, appearing on eight albums and touring the world. In 2011 she released Blue, her solo debut, and then hit the road in the trio Girls with Guitars.

Packed with soulful singing and blazing 6-string, Taylor’s new Out of My Mind is a mesmerizing, nuanced, and imaginatively arranged collection of blues-inflected originals. Her big, round bass is deep in the pocket, but it’s her voice that’s so arresting. Taylor floats through her melodies with a relaxed, sassy vibe and none of the melismatic tinsel that plagues many contemporary female singers. And when she hits the gas, man, you feel it.

In guitarist Steve Mignano, Taylor has a perfect foil. His long, searing bends and snarling riffs wrap around Taylor’s latte voice like a well-worn leather glove. Tone for days, deluxe dynamics, spirited delivery—Mignano has it all. He mingles fat Wheels of Fire-era Clapton licks with the snappy attack of Texas titans Doyle Bramhall and David Grissom. If you’re craving rootsy music delivered with a fresh, progressive flair, this is it. - Premier Guitar


"Her show was impressive in that she spoke the language of her peers, never backed down and truly showed the universal nature of the Blues for all ages."

I had the opportunity to see Cassie Taylor here in Fort Collins at a local club called Road 34. An alt indie group from Denver, In the Whale, opened for her and I was left scratching my head…wondering what the hell I’d gotten into. Then Cassie took the stage and proceeded to convert everyone into the club to Blues fans. She laughed, she cajoled them and at times even talked some serious trash, but by the end of the night everyone loved her. We talked between sets and she proudly told me that her new disc, Out of My Mind, is “all mine” and deservedly so. It was the last disc I played before I rolled into Memphis for the BMAs and its time to give it a spin.

Cassie opens her disc with the two-part tune, “Ol’ Mama Dean,” a song about domestic violence inspired by a documentary that Cassie had watched on television. Here we find Ol’ Mama Dean in prison serving time for murder. She’d ultimately killed her husband rather than suffer any more abuse. “Didn’t try to run…she just sat down on the porch…and she stuck to her story…didn’t have no remorse…she won’t see the light of day…until she’s dead and buried…that’s the story…of poor Ol’ Mama Dean!” A tragic situation but one that Mama Dean came to grips with as a consequence of her actions.

A heavy bass line by Cassie provides the intro to our next tune, “Spare Some Love.” “I’m down and out…not a penny in change…I should leave this place…ain’t no use in staying…my soul is weary…my heart is worn…ain’t slept in days…no house and no home…well, my coat is torn…seams come undone…my cup is empty…can you spare some love?” Homelessness is a cause near and dear to Cassie’s heart, and hopefully this song will help to raise some awareness for the homeless. Next up is a more positive tune, “Out of My Mind.” This tune has its roots in a conversation Cassie had with her sister-in-law who talked her ear off for a couple of hours over a new guy she was dating. Upon further reflection Cassie realized she’d experienced the same feelings falling in love with her husband, Chuck Haren, and the result is this tune. “Let fools rush in…let the blind lead the blind…I just can’t get him…out of my mind!”

There’s no doubt that Otis and Carol Taylor have raised quite the daughter, and she pays her respects to them in our next cut, “Lay Your Head on My Pillow,” a tune she wrote for them in honor of their 23rd wedding anniversary. “It’s been a long life…children are all grown…days are getting cooler…nights are getting long…and I’m going to lay my head…on your pillow...and drift asleep.”A really beautiful tune and one I’m sure Cassie’s parents appreciated tremendously. Moving on to Louisiana, up next is “New Orleans.” New Orleans is like no other city and one of Cassie’s favorite places to visit. “They say…be careful what you wish for…cause dreams ain’t often come true…so I’m going down...down…down to New Orleans!”

Up next is a tune that Chuck is probably tired of hearing, “No Ring Blues.” Poor guy endured this tune for several months on the road before he finally broke down and bought the ring that according to Cassie “made me his bride!” They’re a great couple and I’m glad that Chuck finally got Cassie’s not so subtle hint!

Another heavy bass line from Cassie provides the intro to our next cut, “No No.” Evidently the byproduct of a bad relationship, “No No” gives Cassie an outlet and release from the situation. “Cause you don’t want to give me…your love…no…no!” “Forgiveness” is another ballad from Cassie and focuses on the joy of forgiving someone for the way they’ve treated you. “Bad days…aren’t hard to find….you’ve had yours, girl…and oh, I’ve had mine…patience can be found…if you take your time…I said forgiveness…is hard to come by!”

“Gone and Dead” is a tune Cassie wrote for her father, Otis. “Lay your head on my grave…hear the words that I sing…throw your hand… now that I’m gone…it’s my legacy…so don’t forget…don’t regret…this is all you have left!” This tune was inspired by a conversation that Cassie had with Otis regarding the death of his friend, Gary Moore. Otis indicated to Cassie that he’s bought a parcel of land to build a monument for his fans to visit when he’s passed on. As for Cassie and her sister, Otis says, “When I’m dead you’ll still have the music.” It’s definitely his way and Otis is leaving the girls an amazing legacy when that day comes.

Out of My Mind closes with two more tunes, “That’s My Man” and “Again.” “That’s My Man” is a tune Cassie wrote to compliment Chuck on the way he treats her in their relationship. “I have a man…he treats me good…he treats me nice…like a real man should…cause that’s my man!” “Again” slows the tempo down, with Cassie on the piano while Owen Tharp plays the bowed bass. A tale of forbidden love, Cassie finds herself in competition with a married woman. “Oh and you…you make it hard on me baby…so…here I go again.” Crossing the line will do nothing but end badly and I’m afraid that Cassie will come up empty here.

Out of My M - Blues Bytes


"Displays her understanding of the blues as an ever evolving, living breathing art form, not something staring out between twelve bars..."

Cassie Taylor’s “Ol’ Mama Dean” is a two parter. Out of My Mind counts the tracks as two separate songs, but you gotta get the whole story. With that as a disclaimer, let me tell you about “Ol’ Mama Dean (Part 1)”. The siren call sound entry comes in on a determined beat, transforming in swamp mist to become powerful organ chords and sneaky slide guitar chords. When Cassie begins her story, the instrumentation takes a moment before kicking in to let the lady tell her tale. The message is freedom through the words of Mama Dean. In Part 2, “Ol Mama Dean” leaves behind the woman praying for forgiveness we met in Part 1. Then soon-to-be-widow Dean realizes that is better to die on your feet than live on your needs. Prayers are good but one too many smacks is distracting and blinding. Cassie Taylor produced, wrote and arranged Out of My Mind, taking her history as bass player for dad Otis Taylor, and her understanding of the blues as an ever evolving, living breathing art form, not something staring out between twelve bars. - The Alternate Root


"One of my favorite things about Cassie Taylor is that she–almost uniquely, it seems, among blues-based female vocalists–has no interest in being the next Koko Taylor."

Cassie Taylor grew up in public to a rare degree. Not long after she began playing the electric bass at age 12, she undertook a ten-year-long tour of duty, performing with her father, Otis Taylor. She released her first solo recording, Blue, in 2011. Now 26, she has written and recorded a new long-player–the first, she says, to really express her own vision.

Out Of My Mind is by no means strictly a blues album. Its 13 songs draw on a rich array of styles, filtered through Taylor’s keen musical sensibility. The program opens with the two-part “Ol’ Mama Dean,” both of them rockers driven by Steve Mignano’s heavy guitar work and shot through with organ. Taylor, her voice sometimes treated with effects, tells the story of a woman condemned to death for killing her abusive husband. Taylor (bass) and Larry Thompson (drums) unfurl “Spare Some Love” at a funeral tempo. Mignano’s single-coil tone is colored with just the right amount of hair, and, despite its dramatic moves, his solo never takes on any hint of posturing as it builds to a stormy crescendo, then ebbs back into the song’s haunting, bare-bones frame.

“No Ring Blues” boasts an indelible melody, its offbeat phrasing accentuated by a quirky, almost robotic, stop-and-start rhythm defined by Taylor’s distorted bass guitar. “Gone And Dead,” with a similar approach to the groove, is at once unsettling and appealing: Taylor’s vocal is cool, almost seductive, though her subject matter is grim; and the guitar and organ tones are altered to an almost queasy degree. It is a study in curious contrasts. An insistent pulse and overdubbed, processed guitars lend “No No” a glinting, New Wave-sleek air. Notwithstanding some rhythmic playfulness during the solo section, the catchy “That’s My Man” is far more straightforward, a streamlined rocker with a solid blues foundation.

Taylor works as interestingly, and successfully, in other genres. The title track, fattened by Steven Vidaic’s Hammond organ, is a mid-tempo soul inferno, laden with irresistible vocal and instrumental hooks. “Forgiveness” layers horns over a driving, relentlessly upbeat, folky rhythm. The minor key verses of “New Orleans” creep along like an alley cat, muted trumpet adding bordello flair, while its upbeat choruses are awash in buoyant horns. Mignano’s guitar break is slinky and dirty. Taylor invests the beautiful pop-y melody of “Lay Your Head On My Pillow” with a warm intimacy, her images outlining long-term love over a striking acoustic guitar figure. The disc closes with “Again,” a fine R&B ballad with a stop-time section, a wonderfully tender and tough guitar break, and elements of Ray Charles and Randy Newman echoed in the arrangement, which hinges on Taylor’s piano.

One of my favorite things about Cassie Taylor is that she–almost uniquely, it seems, among blues-based female vocalists–has no interest in being the next Koko Taylor. Instead, she sings with a beautifully pure tone that is no less powerful, or less emotionally resonant, for its clarity. Beyond that, her writing is both intelligent and moving, with exceptionally strong melodies and challenging rhythms, and her production is vivid and adventuresome. Taylor is an artist to watch, and her Out Of My Mind is a splendid album that explores pop, rock, and soul from many angles, yet remains deeply informed by the blues. - Now Playing


"Sultry, sexy and soulful... like Koko Taylor mixed with Dusty Springfield."

There's no longer any need to say she's Otis Taylor's daughter. With her latest, Out Of My Mind, Cassie Taylor proves she has carved out her own niche in blues. Even though her vocals still have a breathless quality, there's more bottom to her sound this time out.

The title cut recreates the ‘60s soul sounds of Diana Ross and the Supremes but with more punch thanks to Taylor's throbbing bassline.

Taylor's bass is like a punch to the gut on "Ol' Mama Dean Pt 1 and 2" as the singer recounts the tale of a beaten woman in part one and her revenge in part 2 when the smacker gets 25 to life for battering his woman. Sounding like she's singing through a harp mic on part 2, Taylor delivers a vocal performance like Koko Taylor mixed with Dusty Springfield.

Sultry, sexy and soulful, Taylor soars like Phoebe Snow on "Lay My Head On Your Pillow," guitarist Steve Mignano plucking at your heartstrings with his tasteful phrasing while Taylor makes the listener wish he was the lucky one with the pillow she wants to sleep on.

Taylor brings the sass of Shemekia Copeland to "No, No," telling a soon to be ex boyfriend that all his coolness does is make her chilly and since she ain't a fan of the cold, he might as well take his chilly ass elsewhere.

"Forgiveness" is a strange composition, Jon Gray's trumpet buttery trumpet spread over a stuttering backbeat, funked up by Taylor's burbling Hammond organ, like a blend of soul and Tex-Mex, Western soul food that keeps you hopping while satisfying your inner needs as well.

Mignano's guitar is a perfect foil for her voice throughout, but he takes it to another level on "Again" as Taylor takes off for the stratosphere, launched by Mignano's blistering, booster rocket solo.

Taylor's original compositions here all have to do with heartbreak, but she expresses her pain so exquisitely that it's a pleasure for the listener to bear. If hurtin' sounds this good, let's hope Taylor's got a truckload to deliver. - No Depression


"Muscular, intelligently sexy, and slyly subversive."

Cassie Taylor got her first big job as a result of nepotism: her father, Otis Taylor, is one of America's premier blues artists, revered for his historical-minded songwriting and hypnotic rhythms; Cassie has appeared with him both onstage and on recordings since she was a teen-ager. But in recent years Cassie, now twenty-six, has struck out on her own. She released "Blue" in 2011 and returns this year with "Out of My Mind"; "Blue"; was a solid collection of original songs, with occasional nods to her father's trance blues. "Out of My Mind" is at once more settled and more excitable: Taylor evolves from the sometimes studied material of her debut into muscular, intelligently sexy anthems like "That's My Man"; and the neo-soul-tinged title song. "New Orleans"; is a slyly subversive tribute to the Crescent City. But she also makes the best of her birthright: the album opens with the two-part "Ol' Mama Dean" an unflinching tale of domestic abuse and revenge which would fit nicely into her father's canon. - The New Yorker


"Muscular, intelligently sexy, and slyly subversive."

Cassie Taylor got her first big job as a result of nepotism: her father, Otis Taylor, is one of America's premier blues artists, revered for his historical-minded songwriting and hypnotic rhythms; Cassie has appeared with him both onstage and on recordings since she was a teen-ager. But in recent years Cassie, now twenty-six, has struck out on her own. She released "Blue" in 2011 and returns this year with "Out of My Mind"; "Blue"; was a solid collection of original songs, with occasional nods to her father's trance blues. "Out of My Mind" is at once more settled and more excitable: Taylor evolves from the sometimes studied material of her debut into muscular, intelligently sexy anthems like "That's My Man"; and the neo-soul-tinged title song. "New Orleans"; is a slyly subversive tribute to the Crescent City. But she also makes the best of her birthright: the album opens with the two-part "Ol' Mama Dean" an unflinching tale of domestic abuse and revenge which would fit nicely into her father's canon. - The New Yorker


Discography

Out Of My Mind - 2013

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Bio

At age 26, Cassie Taylor is already a veteran musician. She's spent a decade playing bass and singing on stage and in the studio with her father, modern-day blues innovator Otis Taylor. Now she stakes her own claim as an artist of intelligence, power and soul, drawing on a wide swath of influences spanning centuries, continents and cultures to create her own indelible and utterly modern sound.

With influences ranging from a New Orleans second line to West African psychedelic rock, the 12 original songs of "Out of My Mind" all written and arranged by Taylor are the work of a truly 21st century musical omnivore. From the record's lead track, "Ol' Mama Dean (Part 1)," which opens with drums and theremin, to the wistful piano closer "Again," Taylor proves to be a gifted, independent-minded songwriter with a flair for the unexpected and a voice that will haunt your dreams.