On June 22, five-time Grammy award-winner James Taylor showered the people of Austin with his music and lyrics for nearly three hours and two encores. At 69 years old, Taylor entertained a full house with his ageless voice and unique phrasing by singing songs from his hit song catalog that stretches back more than half a century. Favorites included: “Fire and Rain,” “You’ve Got A Friend,” “Carolina in My Mind,” “How Sweet It Is,” “Your Smiling Face” and “Shower the People,” which he performed with his 15-year-old teenage son, Henry. Taylor also sang the title track, “Sweet Baby James,” off his 1970 breakthrough album, complete with a moving artistic visual slideshow. For 20 minutes between his two sets, the singer and songwriting star signed all kinds of fan memorabilia, one of which was an authentic 1977 vinyl JT featuring Taylor’s boyish profile photo.
Throughout his set, he performed solo on his acoustic guitar and on electric guitar along with his All Star Band. The band included drummer Steve Gadd, bass player Jimmy Johnson, keyboardist Larry Goldings, saxophone player Lou Marini, percussionist Luis Conte, electric guitarist Michael Landau, fiddle player and vocalist Andrea Zonn and multi-instrumentalist Walt Fowler. Arnold McCuller, and Kate Markowitz provided background vocals.
Taylor closed the evening with a romantic tribute to his third wife Kim Smedvig, performing “You and I Again,” a song from his 17th full-length studio release titled Before This World, his first No. 1 album on Billboard’s 200 Chart. The die-hard Red Sox fan with a life-long love for Boston will end his 2016 tour at Fenway Park on August 3rd.
– Donna Marie Miller