Stars Salute James Taylor In L.A.
From Bruce Springsteen's mournful harmonica on "Millworker" to Sting's acoustic guitar on "Close Your Eyes," a generation of singer-songwriters influenced by James Taylor paid tribute to him last nighFrom Bruce Springsteen's mournful harmonica on "Millworker" to Sting's acoustic guitar on "Close Your Eyes," a generation of singer-songwriters influenced by James Taylor paid tribute to him last night (Feb. 6) in Los Angeles with their versions of his hits. As previously reported, Taylor was honored as the MusiCares Person of the Year for his many charity iniatives.
The powerhouse lineup also featured Sheryl Crow, Bonnie Raitt, Paul Simon, Jackson Browne, David Crosby, the Dixie Chicks, Dr. John and Taj Mahal.
Crow, Browne and Crosby performed "Mexico," highlighted by a standout horn section. Springsteen walked out with no introduction, hailing the North Carolina-raised Taylor as "an authentic Southern voice."
India.Arie showed off her fondness for Taylor by carrying onstage a purse with his black-and-white picture on it. Alison Krauss sang "Carolina in My Mind," the Dixie Chicks harmonized on "Shower the People," and Simon opened the show with an acoustic version of "Sweet Baby James."
Raitt recalled being a college student in Massachusetts and playing shows with Taylor. "He used to let me open for him and he tuned my guitar," she said before singing "Rainy Day Man." With companion Nicole Kidman keeping time in the audience, Keith Urban played a driving guitar version of "Country Road."
"Everyone has been telling these great James Taylor stories, and nothing for me says it better than this song," Carole King said, launching into "You've Got a Friend." Taylor joined her at the piano and they dueted on the final chorus of the song that was an individual hit for them both.
"I can't thank you enough for showing up. It's not the same without you," Taylor said. "It's strange to be at an event like this and still be alive. It's very moving, very terrifying and very wonderful to hear these songs done live."
It was a working evening for Taylor, who joined his band for "Copperline" and "Shed a Little Light."
Taylor's brother, Livingston, sang backup on "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)" while Taylor's twin 4-year-old sons, Rufus and Henry, jumped up and down to the music and the crowd clapped along.
Taylor returned for an encore of his classic "Fire and Rain."
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