One of my favorite Grammy Award moments occurred back in 2003, when two of the artists tagged to carry the singer-songwriter torch into the 21st century joined forces with the man who lit the torch for a wonderful performance.

The young artists were Vanessa Carlton, then riding high with her hit “A Thousand Miles”, and John Mayer, who had already scored huge hits with “No Such Thing” and “Your Body is a Wonderland”. Carlton performed a shortened version of “Miles” on the piano and Mayer picked his way through a spare version of “Wonderland”. Then Mayer announced the man he called “the blueprint”-James Taylor.

For a lot of music fans, I imagine some artists have a direct line to your heart. James Taylor is one of those singers whose voice has an unexplainable effect on me. Joined by Yo-Yo Ma on cello, JT’s performance of the classic “Sweet Baby James” is absolutely perfect.

The next award announced was for Best Male Pop Vocal, a category in which Taylor and Mayer were both nominated. With Mayer’s win, the passing of the torch was complete, and a visibly moved Mayer took the podium to make his first of many Grammy speeches (he has now won seven). However, not even Mayer’s maiden Grammy moment could take away from the beauty of the performance by one of the men who made Mayer’s very existence on the show possible.

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