Album Reviews

James Taylor

Before This World

Artist:     James Taylor

Album:     Before This World

Label:     Concord

Release Date:     06/15/2015


Five-time Grammy Award winner James Taylor‘s Before This World represents the legendary singer/songwriter’s first album of new songs since 2002’s platinum-selling October Road. With the help of a couple of friends (Yo-Yo Ma and Sting) as well as his regular band members, Taylor recorded the new album in the comfort of his home studio.

Even though it features ten brand new songs, nine of them by Taylor, Before This World is very familiar. James Taylor is still James Taylor— Thank God! Listening to this album for a week now, I realize that you can listen very enjoyably without hearing. Like all of his albums, they make great background music. Smooth, mellow and relaxing without listening to the words. But if you don’t follow the lyrics, you will miss the heart and soul of James Taylor. Without a doubt, he is one of the best story tellers we are lucky enough to have.

From “Fire and Rain” and “Sweet Baby James” to “Before This World” and “Angles Of Fenway,” Taylor has always told us about the feelings, places, things and events that have made up his life..

With Before This World, there’s no use choosing highlight tracks—they are all great. You pick your highlights but be sure to take notice of Yo-Yo Ma on “You And I Again” and “Before This World” as well as Sting on “Before This World.” Here’s hoping Taylor doesn’t wait another 13 years between albums next time.

—Mark J. Smith

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  1. […] James Taylor is a hit-maker, guitar hero, five-time Grammy Award winner and inductee into both the Songwriter and the Rock & Roll Halls of Fame. But it wasn’t until recently that Taylor surpassed another performing arts milestone, gracing the renowned Austin City Limits stage. This Saturday, November 14, PBS will air Taylor’s debut, which he makes in the wake of the June release of his seventeenth studio album, Before This World. […]