Acclaimed live album offers intimate tour through singer/songwriter’s career
Craft Recordings is pleased to announce the first-ever vinyl edition of James Taylor’s 2007 live album, One Man Band. Available June 7th, the double LP set is pressed on 180-gram vinyl, and housed in a deluxe gatefold jacket. Mastered by Ryan Smith at Sterling Sound and pressed at RTI, this uniquely intimate performance captures Taylor at his best — paired only with his guitar, drum machine and esteemed keyboardist Larry Goldings (John Mayer, Sia, John Scofield) plus pre-recorded accompaniment of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus on “My Traveling Star” and “Shower The People.” Full of his signature wit and warmth, Taylor’s anecdotes — interspersed throughout the evening—offer background on some of his most popular songs.
Following a three-year tour of the same name, One Man Band marked a triumphant homecoming for Taylor. Recorded over three nights, the performances took place at the historic Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA — a venue that was handpicked by the Berkshires-based singer-songwriter. The album, produced by James and Dave O’Donnell, contains 19 songs and spans material from Taylor’s five-decade-long career, touching not just on his beloved hits (“Fire And Rain,” “You’ve Got A Friend,” “Carolina In My Mind”) but also deeper cuts (“Chili Dog” off 1972’s One Man Dog; “Slap Leather” from his 1991 LP, New Moon Shine) and more recent material (“Mean Old Man” from his 2002 record, October Road). The pared-down nature of the sets were very much a return to the singer-songwriter’s roots. In the album’s original liner notes, Taylor writes, “The last time I toured solo was in the late ’70s. That’s how I started out, just the guitar and a handful of songs. As time went by, I added other musicians because it’s great playing in a big band. But from time to time…it’s good to get back to basics and to present the songs in their original form.”
Originally released as a CD/DVD (the EMMY-nominated film portion of which was produced and directed by Don Mischer for PBS’ Great Performances) and certified Gold by the RIAA, One Man Band proved Taylor’s enduring charm. Rolling Stone heralded the album as “…a particularly warm portrait…Taylor’s supple baritone remains a wonder of intimacy, and it finds its match in the effortless intricacy of his finger-picking.” The BBC called it “A treat… It’s a thing of delicate emotive power,” while AllMusic added, “given such lovely readings [the songs] certainly sound as comforting as a reunion with an old friend.”
One of the best-selling artists of all-time — with more than 100 million records sold, worldwide — James Taylor’s music is instantly recognizable, thanks to his gentle, engaging vocals, his acoustic, guitar-driven melodies and his introspective lyrics. When he was just 20 years old, Taylor caught the attention of the Beatles, who released his self-titled debut on their label, Apple Records. However, it was Taylor’s breakthrough second LP, 1970’s Sweet Baby James, which propelled the young artist into stardom with the hit single “Fire And Rain,” making him a poster child for the era of the singer-songwriter. Taylor’s GRAMMY Award–winning follow-up — 1971’s Mud Slide Slim And The Blue Horizon — featured his first No. 1 single, “You’ve Got A Friend” (penned by his longtime friend, Carole King). Throughout the next three decades, the artist would continue this momentum, releasing a string of critically and commercially successful titles, including 1975’s Gorilla, the double-platinum-selling JT (1977), 1985’s That’s Why I’m Here and 1997’s critical darling, Hourglass, which earned Taylor his first GRAMMY Award for Best Pop Album. In 2015 Taylor released his first album of new recordings in 13 years, titled Before This World, which earned him his first ever No.1 album on the Billboard Charts.
To date, the five-time GRAMMY winner has released over 25 albums. The new millennium marked an era of recognition for the busy artist. In 2000, Taylor was inducted into both the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame, while his 1976 Greatest Hits LP received a rare Diamond Certification from the RIAA, marking an exceptional ten million albums sold. The singer-songwriter’s talents and cultural contributions were also celebrated on a national scale, when Taylor was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015, and, a year later, was a Kennedy Center Honoree. Ever humble, Taylor continues to actively record and tour—his concerts drawing in generations of loyal fans, thanks to an incredible knack for connecting with his audience members.
In his One Man Band notes, Taylor muses: “I’ve often thought that live performance means being well prepared and then waiting for the inevitable, unexpected thing to happen… But the real goal is to be in the present moment and on the surface of ourselves; open and trusting. Nobody wants perfect.”
1. Something In The Way She Moves
2. Never Die Young
3. The Frozen Man
4. Mean Old Man
5. School Song
6. Country Road
1. Slap Leather
2. My Traveling Star
3. You’ve Got A Friend
4. Steamroller Blues
1. Secret O’ Life
2. Line ’Em Up
3. Chili Dog
4. Shower The People
5. Sweet Baby James
1. Carolina In My Mind
2. Fire And Rain
4. You Can Close Your Eyes
Author: Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.