Wednesday, September 24, 2008

One Man Gift from Above

There is something completely reassuring about the sound of James Taylor's voice, as though here is a man who has been through it all and come out the other side to tell you, "Whatever it is, it's going to be okay." In the darkest of times, there is nothing more timeless and calming to me. But there has always been a bit of mystique about this prolific singer-songwriter - I always got the feeling he'd rather sing than talk.

So it was doubly entertaining to watch his latest concert DVD, One Man Band, and discover that once you get James Taylor talking, there is just no telling what's going to come out.

One Man Band was shot in a very small theater in his hometown in the Berkshires - Taylor and one other musician make up the entire ensemble (unless you count the enormous, early-20th-century-looking "drum machine.") The show is largely acoustic, though he does play his electric guitar on a few songs for variety. But preceding each song is an often lengthy and meandering introduction (often with photo slideshow!) that reveals Taylor's wry charm.

In these candid introductions, he reveals his love of the Beatles, discusses the intersection of Richard Nixon and Rev. Sun Myung Moon, and describes Joni Mitchell as "his bitch" (in the past tense, of course.) And that's just a small sampling.

For a taste, check out this fantastic montage of the DVD:

The accompanying CD is an excellent addition to the collection as well, because the concert features a lot of his newer (though still timeless) material.

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