There’s something about Sundays that brings out the mellow in me, and it’s been that way since I was a kid. When I was growing up, on Sundays no one would even get out of bed until 11 AM or noon (except for ADD-addled me and my insomniac grandfather). The entire day usually went at a pretty leisurely pace-sports on TV, religious music on the stereo. Even now, on Sundays, I tend to sleep late, go out for brunch instead of breakfast, and play music that’s a little more on the soothing side. Hence, this series. Like the setup?
You don’t get much more mellow (at least on the surface) than James Taylor. Even though he can occasionally get pretty dark lyrically, his music has an easygoing vibe that’s perfect for Sundays. There’s a certain warmth to his voice and even his look-which for some reason I associate with being “fatherly”. Strangely, I’ve actually met his son, Ben-a talented singer and songwriter in his own right (and the first person I ever saw wearing Crocs, but that’s another story).
Anyhow, “Her Town Too” was probably the first JT song I ever remember hearing. I would have been 4 when it came out. This duet features Taylor along with JD Souther in what’s probably one of the best songs about divorce ever written. It’s melancholy, but not bitter. I guess this came out around the same time James and Carly Simon split up-yep, just verified that on Wikipedia. Makes sense. The harmonies are beautiful on this song. I don’t know much about JD Souther (except for the fact that he co-wrote “Heartache Tonight” by The Eagles), but man, what a voice.
Also, the video is pretty interesting because the vocals seem to have been recorded at least partially live. You don’t really notice a difference until the third verse, but it’s a pretty cool switch. I don’t think the instrumentation was live-I doubt that the original song could be recreated that well.
I could probably run this column for a year with nothing but James Taylor songs, but I think I’ll save any further JT exploration for a Blerd Appreciation piece in the near future. For now, enjoy “Her Town Too”.