Friday, November 09, 2007

James Taylor - Back to his roots

“Performing these songs in their original, stripped-down form in small halls is like going to the well for water. It reconnects me to the music and puts me back in touch with the audience.”
-James Taylor commenting on his new album One Man Band

James Taylor's voice is one that is instantly identifiable. Its crystal clarity, its ability to convey ineffable feelings, its ability to tell a complete story in a song, all characteristics that set him amongst the greatest of singer/songwriters of our time. And with One Man Band, he's returned to where he came from. It's a CD / DVD release that was recorded live at the Colonial Theatre in James' hometown, Pittsfield, Massachusetts, June 19-21. What distinguishes it from just another live recording is the fact that James has left his band behind for really the first time since the late 70's. It's just James and his guitar, with some minimal support from Larry Goldings on piano and keyboards. That's it. A man, his guitar, and songs that have withstood the test of time, hence the name of the album.

Listening to the CD is a rewarding experience in itself, but to truly enjoy the magical evening, watch the DVD that comes with it.
The DVD contains footage of the same show on the CD but helps tell the stories behind some of Taylor’s most beloved hits through exclusive interviews, rare multi-media footage, home movies and photographs from Taylor’s personal archives that are woven in between the songs. It's rare for an artist to open up his personal life, experiences, and stories behind his songs like James did this evening. I can't imagine what it must have felt like to be in the audience that night with James Taylor barring is life in front of you. The CD edits out much of the banter and the stories that are so illuminating. Don't just download the musical portion of the album. If you truly are interested in this recording, get a physical copy with both discs.

The album hits the shelves November 13th and as I suggested above, you will want an actual copy of it. Even if you're not already a fan of James, try giving this talented story-teller a chance. In the meantime, here are two songs: one I can almost guarantee you know (You've Got A Friend) and one that you might not (Copperline).

James Taylor - You've Got A Friend : One Man Band

James Taylor - Copperline : One Man Band

Visit his website, his label Hear Music, and become his friend on MySpace.

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