James Taylor: Before This World (Universal)

 |   |  <1 min read

James Taylor: Montana
James Taylor: Before This World (Universal)

For his first album of new material in 13 years, James Taylor doesn't spring, “Hope you like my new direction” on his audience.

In fact three songs here – the pastoral Montana, Snow Time and the string coloured, piano ballad You And I Again – could have come from his heyday in the early Seventies for their gentleness and purity of melody (and my Lord doesn't he sounds like John Denver in places?).

He'd win no poetry prize for the obvious rhymes on Snow Time.

A few songs break the familiar country-folk template, the slinky funk-groove of the bemused Stretch of the Highway with horns, and Far Afghanistan which looks at the ill-prepared young people going off to war in a country that has been repelling foreigners since Alexander the Great . . . but then changes perspective to that of someone on the ground and terrified.

The gently rocking fiddle-flavoured Watchin' Over Me is another of his songs looking back at the damage he did in his life to himself and others.

He closes with the old Scottish folk ballad Wild Mountain Thyme.

On the opener Today Today Today he sings, “I feel the same inside as when I caught this ride”.

Sounds much the same too.

The less things change, the more they stay the same for James . . . 

Share It

Your Comments

Tony - Jun 23, 2015

Thanks for the James Taylor article, Graham. I understand he may be touring here next year? Looking forward to it. GRAHAM REPLIES: I have to say he was more interesting than some of the new album! He did say he and the band were looking to come to NZ and Australia in 2017. That would be worth seeing, it's a great band he carries.

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Marissa Nadler: Little Hells (UN SPK)

Marissa Nadler: Little Hells (UN SPK)

Sounding as if she is being beamed in from some strange part of space down a shimmeringly beautiful cosmic line, this dreamy alt.folk singer from Boston manages to bring together a slightly eerie... > Read more

Vetiver: The Errant Charm (SubPop)

Vetiver: The Errant Charm (SubPop)

Although on the receiving end of polite but unimpressed reviews in some circles, there's no denying the quiet charm of this album which suggests last light in California and the sun glinting off... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Bunny Walters: To be Free with Labour (year unknown)

Bunny Walters: To be Free with Labour (year unknown)

Right now in New Zealand it is the run-up to the election and -- unlike in what some of like to call "the old days" -- none of the main parties seem to have a high-profile election song.... > Read more

BLEND, THE LEBANESE ROCK BAND INTERVIEWED (2004): Hard rock at the flashpoint

BLEND, THE LEBANESE ROCK BAND INTERVIEWED (2004): Hard rock at the flashpoint

Jad Souaid is late and apologetic, he had a minor traffic accident on the way and in this city -- Beirut, the capital of the Lebanon -- that means handing over papers and having them checked. It... > Read more