Sirius XM has turned over one of its channels to James Taylor 24/7 in connection with the release of his new compact disc. I first saw him perform in a basement dive with Joni Mitchell in Boston in the fall of 1968, a week or two before his first album was released on the Beatles’ label. I’ve been a fan ever since, though I have not kept up with all his recordings over the years.
Sirius XM has called on artists such as Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood to pick their ten favorite JT songs. They all complain about being limited to ten. Garth Brooks referred to James as “an artist of such stature in my heart” (I’m a little off in the quote, but that’s close). Suffice it to say I feel in good company in the appreciation of his art.
One song I had missed was “My Traveling Star” off his October Road disc of 2002. Today he talked about performing the song with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They don’t appear in the video below, but the chorus that does appear gives you the idea. It’s a song that conveys a feeling of solace in a troubled time. Listening to it this afternoon, to borrow a phrase from James, I felt it hit me from behind.