T is for James Taylor

Photo from jamestaylor.com

John Mayer has called him “the blueprint” for singer/songwriters.  “Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon” was the first album I ever owned, and I’m sure I played the grooves off the vinyl.  A lot has been written about the five-time Grammy Award winner: the drug addiction, his marriage to Carly Simon, the house on the Vineyard, summers at Tanglewood.

On growing up in North Carolina (Morgan Creek), Taylor said, “I tell my kids that we were pre-TV and there was a lot of empty time there, slow weekends when you just walked into the woods and found whatever you could to kill time.  There was this long, uninterrupted time to let your imagination grow.  I believe that was an important part of whatever creative life I’ve had.”

About his drug addiction, he said, “I’m lucky to be here.  I’m lucky that I didn’t die, or that I didn’t hurt somebody else more than I did or do more damage than I did.  I should have died about five times.  Overdoses, mostly.  Or traffic accidents, or being at risk because I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

You know the hits: “Fire and Rain,” “You’ve Got a Friend,” “Shower the People.”  So many good songs.  It’s hard to choose a favorite, but this one is at the top for me (backed by the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, you’ll see Taylor’s wife Kim Smedvig, the blonde in the light blue sweater):

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9 Comments

I love James Taylor! He is iconic in the industry, if not in life itself! I love your blog content. Very interesting. I am still wandering, trying to find a direction for my own. 🙂

Thanks, Kim – now, onto U,V,W,X,Y and Z. Oh boy!

I can just see you playing the grooves off the vinyl! Love JT too–great post!

Yes, yes, yes on “My Traveling Star” – especially the live version! JT did a songwriting clinic at Berklee when my son Peter was there, and “My Traveling Star” was one of the songs he played to demonstrate his technique. He said it was one of his favorites. Peter always references JT when he talks about musical influences. Not surprising, since from infancy he heard “Blossom” and “You Can Close Your Eyes” and “Another Grey Morning” and “Frozen Man” and “Highway Song”… Yes, so many good songs, and you featured one of JT’s best – perfect for a rainy Monday morning. Thanks for the post – loving this series.

    I do have many favorites, John, but I really relate to this. “They wait at the door, they stand and they stare.” That wanderlust, the need to go. Apparently his father had it, too. And the chorus back-up is just superb!

    P.S. Lucky, lucky Peter.

‘I’m sure I played the grooves off the vinyl’ – how I love that! You and me both!

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