Aired Wednesday March 5th, 2008 at 8:00 pm
He may have Carolina in his mind, but it's his hometown, Pittsfield, Massachusetts, to which the five-time Grammy winner returns for "James Taylor: One Man Band," airing on KUED-Channel 7 Wednesday, March 5, at 8 p.m. An intimate evening of anecdote and song - plus the damnedest drum machine you ever saw - the GREAT PERFORMANCES telecast marks the singer-songwriter's return to an earlier, simpler style of performance, particularly in such favorites as "Fire and Rain," "Carolina in My Mind" and "You've Got a Friend."
"That's how I started out - just the guitar and a handful of songs," the beloved balladeer says. "It's great playing in a big band, but from time to time it's good to go back to the well. It's good to get back to basics and present the songs in their original form."
And what songs they are. From 1965's "Something in the Way She Moves" ("It wasn't the first song I wrote, but it's the first presentable one. The ones before that were pretty awful."), which inspired George Harrison's "Something," to "Mean Old Man" and "My Traveling Star" from the recent October Road, they are 14-carat reminders of the artistry and skill that continue to influence both composers and music lovers of all generations.
Wearing his familiar open-collared blue shirt and khaki pants onstage at Pittsfield's historic Colonial Theatre, he shares recollections of each song's genesis and provides illustrations via home movies and personal photos. "Sweet Baby James" was written to celebrate the birth of his brother's first child ("It had to be a cowboy lullaby ... something by Roy Rogers or Gene Autry."); "Carolina in My Mind" came about during a homesick period in Europe ("I missed my dad and his bicycle. I missed my dog Hercules.").
"Songwriting is my joy and a source of frustration," he says. "Often, it takes a long time before I understand what a song is about. I didn't realize it at the time - 20, 30 years ago - but I wrote ‘Something in the Way She Moves' for my wife, Kim," he jokes, as the camera pans to a smiling Kim Taylor, seated in the audience with their two young sons, Henry and Rufus.
Over the course of his long career, James Taylor has earned 40 gold, platinum and multi-platinum awards and five Grammy Awards for a catalog running from 1970's Sweet Baby James to his Grammy Award-winning efforts Hourglass (1997) and October Road (2002). His first Greatest Hits album earned him the RIAA's elite Diamond Award, given for sales in excess of 10 million units in the United States. For his accomplishments, he was honored with the 1998 Century Award, Billboard magazine's highest accolade, bestowed for distinguished creative achievement. The year 2000 saw his induction into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriter's Hall of Fame. In 2006, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences selected him its MusiCares Person of the Year.
The telecast of the all-star Person of the Year Tribute (Bruce Springsteen, Dixie Chicks, Sting) marked his second appearance on GREAT PERFORMANCES, following his guest appearance on 2004's "Eric Clapton's Crossroads Guitar Festival."
Array ( [area] => pressReleases [action] => details [id] => MTY4 )
Array ( )