PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED ALBUM ‘LABOR OF LOVE’ OUT DECEMBER 16
Bonnie Raitt recently shared her thoughts on Taj Mahal with Living Blues
Magazine. Taj Mahal’s 47th album ‘Labor of Love’ comes out December 16
on Acoustic Sounds and consists of an acoustic session from 1998. Raitt
“There are very few artists with the wide musical reach of Taj Mahal; I
can’t think of anyone who’s heard him that hasn’t fallen under his
spell. From the very start, his impact was really groundbreaking—it’s
hard to express how much those first two albums meant to me.
As an ambassador for world music—and roots music in particular—he
perfectly embodies how music can cross-pollinate across generations and
cultures to bring people together. Like Paul Simon, Ry Cooder and Peter
Gabriel, Taj has turned so many of us onto musicians and styles we may
not have appreciated as much otherwise. Not to mention he’s one of the
funkiest blues and R&B singers, harp players, and guitarists alive.
I think his greatest contribution is going [to] be the way that he
combines all these musical traditions in such an authentic and rich way.
He’d had an incredibly eclectic and deep musical history, which in turn
has inspired all those musicians with whom he plays—they learn about
all the other tributaries of the music he’s mastered. Fro examples,
there’s a lot of African musicians who might never have heard about
Delta, Carolina or Texas Blues if they hadn’t met Taj. There are country
and bluegrass musicians who love him; folk and jazz artists and
Hawaiians, Cubans, Brazilians, and Jamaicans, too. The guy is a one-man
global wrecking crew.
There really isn’t just one musical award that could encompass how
eclectic Taj is. I think that’s why his Americana Music Association
Lifetime Achievement Award is so fitting as it recognizes his impact on
millions of people, celebrates his tremendous creative output and speaks
to how Taj keeps people coming back seven decades into his career.
I just have so much admiration for him.”