Thursday, September 1, 2011

Tribute to James Taylor

Please turn on your volume to hear JT on my playlist today.

The timbre of his voice is smooth as golden honey, but it's his songwriting talent that makes James Taylor my favorite artist. I've always enjoyed his music, but I became a major fan in 1990, the year I went through a long and difficult recovery after major surgery that catapulted me into an abrupt, extreme, and way-too-early menopause. My nerves were raw from lack of estrogen and other hormones, but JT soothed every last one of them. I think I listened to the guy non-stop for over a year, and it's safe to say that he got me through one of the worst times in my life.

As a songwriter, Taylor is more autobiographical than most, and my personal theory is that he used music to deal with recurring bouts of depression, especially in the early years of his career. Like a snake charmer coaxing a reptile out of its cold, dark pot, James sang and played his way out of the cold, dark feelings that plagued him. His unique blend of guitar, lyrics, and tonal quality charmed me out of my darkest feelings, too, providing a powerful healing balm for the raw hormonal discomfort I was experiencing. The music he made for himself helped me as well, and I am grateful.

Today it seems as though time, maturity, sobriety, and an apparently happy marriage have exorcised most if not all of his demons, and I have long since left my surgical menopause and its worst effects behind. Taylor's work has ripened and evolved over the years, but it has never lost that lilting, lyrical quality that lulled me like a lullaby, lifting and sustaining me when little else could. I will never forget him for that.

Thanks, James.

=)

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43 comments:

Farmer's Wyfe said...

His voice is soothing with a definitely sense that he feels what he sings. Isn't it great how music can be a balm like that? I have to tell you, we had a sesame street video and he was on it singing a song, and it was one of my favorites. :)

karen said...

I love James Taylor too. You're right - he's so lyrical and soothing. I know he went through some very dark times, but his music was always a beautiful light through it all. I think we all have an artist or music or SOMETHING that pulled us through a hard time. I like yours, and the story behind it.

beckyp said...

I love him as well Thanks for sharing

AMI nyc said...

I love him too. Great pick for the letter "T"

Coralie Cederna Johnson said...

Yes...the voice that bring peace! Love it!

Monica said...

Great pick for the letter "T"...and glad you're feeling better these days too!

lulumusing said...

Several years ago my daughter gave her dad a James Taylor CD thinking it was somebody new he would like. Was she ever surprised when she saw that we knew all the words to all the songs. His music is timeless.
Thanks for your visit. Do come again.

Amy said...

Sigh. I love James Taylor. It just makes me happy. I am glad his music was able to help you so much. That is always a blessing to find something to soothe you so well like that. And to be able to self soothe like he did? Amazing!

Stacia said...

In my mind I'm going to Caroilna ... That one gets me every time.

Gattina said...

Unfortunately I can't comment on this, because I don't know him.

H said...

I didn't think I recognised 'James Taylor', but when I heard the song, I knew it straight away. It's the recurring song from the film 'Running on Empty' with River Pheonix. Such a powerful sad film and now I am experiencing all of the emotions from the memory of watching it! Thanks for post. I shall have to track this guy down on YouTube!!!

JDaniel4's Mom said...

Music really does have healing effects. I am glad James carried you through a tough time.

jfb57 said...

He has always been one of my favourite singer song writers. I love his voice and could never choose a song as the best!!

Grandma Honey said...

Reading this makes me want to Youtube him and go back in time with his music. I think I will!

I was a Carol King fan. I can hear her music and suddenly I am back in high school.

Dina @ 4 Lettre Words said...

What a powerful post, Sue. So glad you shared this....and he is one of my all-time faves, as well. In fact, Neil and I saw him in concert in 2003. Really awesome!

Darlene said...

I love James Taylor, and every time I hear him, I think of you. Yes, you did play him constantly and I'm so glad he was able to help you, along with your sister, Nikki. It seemed like the darned doctors couldn't. I was so happy when you got beyond that awful dark time in your life. And glad too, that you continued to love J.T. I never tire of hearing him. He is such a gifted singer song writer.

Gail said...

What a wonderful tribute! I, too, am a long time fan of James Taylor. I never sang lullabies to my girls, it was James Taylor, You've Got A Friend. A song for every feeling...he's still a favorite I listen too, after all these years.

Leovi said...

Wonderful tribute, I love James Taylor, my favorite song is Handyman.

http://www.goear.com/listen/cba0b6e/handyman-james-taylor

Judie said...

I can't think of a single song of his that I don't love. His music is simply timeless. What an apt "T" post, Sue.

Nancy said...

Thanks for this tribute Sue. Touched me deeply during a difficult time in my life. When I look back over many life-changing events, James Taylor was always there to soothe me. Love You!

storybeader said...

yes, I always liked to listen to James Taylor too. Esp. when I was a teenager. Friends played his music on their guitar, so I can to love his lyrics. Fond memories. {:-Deb

yaya said...

We're always playing music in the operating room and I love it when James comes on..reminds me of my youth! I also love that he's bald..don't ask me why, I just think it's great to see celebs that don't feel the need to stay "forever young"..

Dixie Mom said...

Oh I agree with you. There is something so soothing about JT's voice and music. Like an old friend. I never get tired of it.

moana said...

I have loved James Taylor for what seems to be forever. It's his voice, guitar and passion that comes through as he sings.

Pondside said...

He's one of my favorites too.

myorii said...

I remember listening to his songs on the radio in my mom's car when she use to take us to and from school. He does have a lot of really nice songs and I'm glad that they helped you during your tough times :)

Francisca said...

I can take or leave James Taylor's music, but I certainly fully understand his appeal to you. Your writing about him, and his music's effect on you, is very evocative and moving, Sue.

PⒿ @ $ € € ₦$ ₣®0₥... said...

He's a mega star amongst my siblings and myself. He was just on my mind 3 days ago. I had no idea I had shared him with you! But I'm glad he was able to help you through such a physically and emotionally devastating time, Sue!

Thanks for posting about my thank you giveaway yesterday! I truly appreciate it. :)

Jo said...

I love James Taylor!...great tribute.
~Jo

Terra said...

Oh Sue, I share your admiration...truly an amazing singer songwriter!

Donna said...

I love James Taylor and the memories that come from that love. High School and the fact that the future was ahead and so bright. And I always had, and still have...sweet baby James...thanks for the reminder

anitamombanita said...

sweet baby james...love his sound!

Eva Gallant said...

I love James Taylor!

Kerri said...

I love his music - he is poet!

Visiting from Alphabe-Thursday!

Cherie said...

So funny. I am a little late commenting on this as I have not been on the computer the last couple days.
But...I was thinking about James Taylor today and how much I hope to get to see him live someday soon.
He has a beautiful voice - one I have always loved.

Ames said...

I've always enjoyed his music. And Carly's too. So sorry I am late getting around to everyone's post. I have been to the doctors four days this week for my back. Finally getting it taking care of too!~Ames

Birgit said...

I guess I should check out his songs -- thanks for the suggestion! :)

Greetings from Germany,
Birgit

PS: See my T post here! :)

Caroline said...

I love James taylor too and I agree with your theory about his music helping him through the blue times. I think many artists use their art (words, music, paintings) to exert some of what may be troubling them. In the same way, they might also celebrate the joys of their hearts with their art.
Hie voice is so soul-ful. I have always liked his music too! Excellent tribute, Sue!

Caroline said...

*His* voice, I meant. Not "Hie", voice! :))

Karen Sue said...

I bought Live at the Troubadour with Carole King and JT and i'm surprised it isn't warn out and I play it off youtube...it is a pleasant memory kind of music and one of my new friends loves him and i didn't know it until I was talking about this CD, so I went and bought her one, too. I know when we are knitting, we can play this over and over...

Our Village is a Little Different said...

Oh! I love James Taylor! I guess my age shows when I think a young version of myself holding my cassette player up to the AM radio to get his songs in my collection, or of my college room mate and myself in our dorms room playing his music on our big 80's boomboxes. Years later, I would rock my colicky babies to his music - but we had upgraded to CD by then. :) Now, I can carry him around on my iPod. Through all my ages and stages, he's been there. Great post.
-Catherine

Jenny said...

What a terrifically touching tribute to an amazing artist!

I liked reading this Sue. Some of those things I didn't know. It makes me admire him even more!

Thanks for linking.

A+

Lisalulu said...

I heart James Taylor too.

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