James Taylor hits the road; new music on the horizon?
Singer, songwriter, guitarist and 5-time Grammy Award winner together describe the remarkable James Taylor. However the living legend and rock icon has made a career of low-key, simplistic performance and continues to remain appropriate at a time when overzealous production, auto-tune and fleeting popularity plague the careers of many a musician.
Taylor’s breakthrough came with the 1970 single, “Fire and Rain,” and he hit pay dirt the forthcoming year with his first number one hit, “You’ve Got a Friend.” The latter was a record of Carole King’s classic song, and set Taylor’s course from one of initial fame to an ever-lasting ride of popularity. All but one studio album for the rest of the decade was certified either gold or platinum, and a 1976 Greatest Hits collection eventually received a diamond certification for sales of more than ten million records.
James Taylor is on the road again. The icon kicked off an extensive summer tour across the USA back on May 30 in Portland, Oregon at the Moda Center and has been garnering exceptionally favorable reviews.
James Taylor delivers a fresh, satisfying show” said one headline from the Lincoln Star Journal on June 21 following his concert at Pinnacle Bank Arena. “James Taylor familiar, charming” said the Kansas.com website following his performance at Intrust Bank Arena. The Berkshire Eagle also described Taylor’s “hero’s welcome” for the July 4th holiday, when a tropical deluge soaked the crowd, and a rather intense thunderstorm delayed his performance by close to a half-hour.
To celebrate his tour, Taylor commenced two new features on his website named JamesTaylor.com. A section called “Life on the Road” provides several photos and videos of the behind-the-scenes activity surrounding set up and the daily routine to prep for a James Taylor show each day. Meanwhile, “Meet the Band” introduces each of the members of Taylor’s “All-Star Band.” There are individual Q&A’s with each band member sharing their experiences of life on the road.
Taylor has been gifting the fans with performances of new songs from an upcoming album. The intimate ballad, “You and I Again” and the country-flavored “Today, Today, Today,” are just two of the tracks concert-goers had been able to hear from what will be his brand new album with original material since “”October Road”” in 2002.
Taylor’s current US tour will wrap August 5 in Alpharetta, Georgia at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre. He’ll then head to Europe for a long run of dates that will wrap with a two-night stay at the London Royal Albert Hall.
What does it sound like when James Taylor works with the Mormon Tabernacle choir? Fans of the star got a chance to find out, as he performed a dozen songs on Friday, September 6, 2013 with the choir of 360 people, the Utah Symphony and several of his touring fellows.
It only took seven years for the Taylor and choir officials to book a date for the performance – but it was obviously worth the wait. A audience of 21,000 fans cheered classics such as “Shower the People,” “Fire and Rain,” “Carolina in My Mind,” and “Lonesome Road.” Taylor later raved to media outlets about the choir, by calling it “a national treasure and a great gift to the world.”
Of course this wasn’t the only time Taylor has given concerts together with an orchestra this year. He also sang for slain MIT at the police officer Sean Collier memorial service, who is known to have been killed by those responsible for the Boston Marathon Bombings. He performed together with the MIT Symphony Orchestra and the three MIT a cappella groups.
Taylor was also an active supporter of President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign, and performed at the second inauguration of the President. He also performed at a benefit called The One Fund to benefit the Boston Marathon bombings, and has otherwise spent the most of 2013 by working on material for the next new album. He’s also actively promoting a new project by longtime drummer Steve Gadd and fellow bandmates as they worked to put out their first record, “Gadditude.”
Honored by Billboard magazine with its highest accolade – the Century Award – the achievements and recognition didn’t stop there. In 2000 Taylor was included to both the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, and in 2006 was the Grammy Award-sponsored MusiCares Person of the Year. In Los Angeles at a black tie ceremony musicians from various eras paid tribute to Taylor performing many of his hit songs.
Frequent touring became a staple of Taylor’s career beginning in 1980, undoubtedly contributing to his overall longevity as an artist. Known in many circles as true road dog, Taylor’s summer shows became a tradition for generations of fans. Indeed, when Taylor joined King for what became the hottest tour of the season in 2010, they played to arenas full of baby boomers as wll as their kids and grandkids. The tour sold more than 700,000 tickets and grossed more than $59 million.
Taylor is already lining up tour dates for 2013, with at least one date already penciled on the calendar. He’ll play at the Akron Civic Theatre in Akron, Ohio on April 20 for “Shower The People – The Music of James Taylor.”