Taj Mahalís First Domestic Release in 5 Years

Composer and multi-instrumentalist Taj Mahal, a two-time GRAMMY winner and one of the most influential American blues and roots artist of the past half-century. In his never-ending exploration of the complex origins and underpinnings of American music, he has forged a four-decade career by gathering and distilling countless musical traditions from a range of geographical and cultural sources: the Mississippi Delta, the Appalachian backwoods, the African continent, the Hawaiian islands, Europe, the Caribbean and so much more.

On September 30, 2008, he makes his Heads Up International debut with the worldwide release of Maestro.

The set opens with "Scratch My Back, " a song made famous by soul shouter Otis Redding in the 1960s. When Taj and his early band, the Rising Sons, opened for Redding at the Whiskey A-Go-Go in Los Angeles, the up and coming bluesman was immediately hooked by Redding's fiery stage presence. "There were very few artists who grabbed me the way Otis Redding did, " he says. "If anyone was an example of what I wanted to do with music, he certainly was it. His ability to take someone else's song and make it his own, and at the same time not lose the essence of the original song, was just fantastic." "Scratch My Back" is one of four tracks on Maestro to reunite Taj with his Phantom Blues Band, the combo that backed him on two GRAMMY winning recordings, Senor Blues in 1997 and Shoutin' in Key in 2000.

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