Through the 70’s and 80’s I sat in the shared bedroom of my family home with my brother Paul and listened to the music of our older brother stream through the vee-jays. Our end of the house hummed and thrummed to the sounds of The Beatles, David Bowie, Alice Cooper, Bob Segar, Steve Miller, Elton John, Dire Straits and ACDC. But one particular artist always made my ears prick up….. James Taylor. Who could ignore ‘sweet dreams and flying machines in pieces on the ground’? Even as a seven year old that lyric and song had an effect on my imagination, without understanding its context.
Amongst all of that classic songwriting JT’s music stood out to me as the most evocative. Eventually I got my hands on my brother’s cassette of James Taylor’s Greatest Hits with the rerecorded version of Something In The Way She Moves and wore it out. It was a plain white cover with the songs listed on the front. The artwork was a beautiful representation of the simplicity and almost spiritual purity of the music inside. Direct, uncomplicated hymns and the most under rated guitar playing of all time.
Years later in Powderfinger we used to play a cover of JT’s song Lo and Behold from his first record Sweet Baby James. All around us people were listening to Primus, Jane’s Addiction and Faith No More. I never got it. My heart was with Sweet Baby James. I guess, judging by my last record, it still is.
So, to be invited to play some shows with an artist of this stature is a true career highlight for me and my band The Black Fins. We are beyond excited.
For the uninitiated, start here and you will never look back………….A 1971 concert featuring JT, Leland Sklar, Ross Kunkel and Carol King tinkling away on the piano.