Legendary bluesman Otis Taylor brings his talent-laden band back to The Lariat for a 9 p.m. gig Friday, June 8, eadlining two weeks of stellar music at the Ark Valley’s premier live music venue.
Taylor actually stopped performing in the 1970s. “I wasn’t happy and didn’t need the money,” he said. “I had a little antiques business. … I also ran a bicycle team in the ’80s for four years. The bike team sponsor opened a coffee house and called some friends to play. One of them was Kenny Passarelli. We went to high school together.”
With a bit of prodding, Passarelli – the legendary bassist who co-wrote Joe Walsh’s hit single “Rocky Mountain Way” – coaxed Taylor to perform at the coffee house, where they were joined onstage by guitarist Eddie Turner. The year was 1995, and the response to the show was so positive that Taylor decided to return to the music scene, playing select dates with Passarelli and Turner.
Since that show, Taylor has recorded 15 albums, earned more than a dozen music awards and received accolades as a songwriter, a lyricist, a vocalist and an instrumentalist.
Up next at The Lariat, local country favorites Alan and Martin will perform a special rodeo concert at 9 p.m. Saturday, June 9.
The following week features an Americana mingling of jazz, old-time country blues and soul by Handmade Moments at 6 p.m. Thursday, June 14.
Friday, June 15 features singer-songwriter Tyler Preston’s combination of Delta blues and Appalachian country at 6 p.m., followed by Meld at 9 p.m. Meld’s soulful sound draws from jazz and jam band influences.
The River Arkansas headlines the weekend lineup at 9 p.m. Saturday, June 16. The popular Colorado band played Buena Vista’s inaugural 14er Fest in 2017 and features Mike Clark of Haunted Windchimes fame.
Clark said the success of Haunted Windchimes encouraged him to quit his day job, which left plenty of time to focus on his music, including writing a collection of tunes about living next to the Arkansas River in Pueblo. “I went to the studio by myself to record those songs. Macon Terry was in town, so I called him. He came down, and it went pretty well.”
That first studio session led to an album that Clark had planned to call The River Arkansas. While working on the album, Clark said he and Terry decided to play some shows, and the name of the album became the name of the band.
Clark said he and his bandmates “love Buena Vista and try to make it back there as often as possible.” He also said to expect a new album, The Damn Good Dog, July 7 with Willy Tea Taylor, “one of the best songwriters around,” and a new River Arkansas album in November.
A.J. Fullerton rounds out the two-week Lariat lineup with a solo residency June 17-20. Fullerton said he’s “been on the road a ton” since winning an unprecedented 8 awards from the Colorado Blues Society last year.
“We’ve been getting some national attention,” Fullerton said, “and we’re playing the Big Blues Bender in Vegas Sept. 6-9.”
Other notable gigs for the young bluesman include headlining the Durango Blues Train performances Aug. 17 and 18. Unfortunately, tickets for the Blues Train “sold out in like, 30 minutes,” Fullerton said.