JAMES TAY­LOR

Be­fore This World ★★★★ Con­cord

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - MUSIC REVIEWS - JOE BREEN

Tay­lor’s smooth, mild-man­nered take on Amer­i­can folk, blues and soul is couched in a mostly com­fort­able present

A critic once noted that James Tay­lor’s mu­sic is com­fort­ing be­cause there is “rarely a left turn and never a sour note”. As well, his is a living, breath­ing, ir­re­sistible story of re­demp­tion com­plete with a warm sig­na­ture voice and sound. Tay­lor’s smooth take on Amer­i­can folk, blues and soul is couched in a mostly com­fort­able present ( You and I Again, the sin­u­ous Stretch of the High­way) but the 68-year-old’s ghosts linger and oc­ca­sion­ally have their say – Watchin’ Over Me ref­er­ences his early his­tory of drug abuse and de­pres­sion. Tay­lor has said wryly that all his songs sound pretty much alike, and cer­tainly Mon­tana and An­gel of Fen­way would sit eas­ily among his early work. Still, th­ese nine songs (plus Wild Moun­tain Thyme), his first new ma­te­rial for some time, are gen­er­ally thought­ful and sur­pris­ingly ex­pres­sive.

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