James Taylor Strolls Down 'October Road'
Billboard Century Award winner James Taylor will release "October Road," his first album in five years, Aug. 13 via Columbia. As previously reported, first single "On the 4th of July" debuted last monBillboard Century Award winner James Taylor will release "October Road," his first album in five years, Aug. 13 via Columbia. As previously reported, first single "On the 4th of July" debuted last month on AOL and Netscape Music; the cut jumps 29-21 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart this week.
The new album was produced by Russ Titelman, who previously worked with Taylor on the mid-1970s albums "Gorilla" and "In the Pocket." Taylor's daughter Sally contributes backing vocals on the tracks "My Traveling Star" and "Baby Buffalo," while guitarist Ry Cooder and saxophonist Michael Brecker guest on the title cut.
"Mostly it's my guitar, Jimmy Johnson's bass, and Steve Gadd playing drums," Taylor recently told Billboard of the new album. "Greg Phillinganes plays a lot of keyboard. But these are the best players, the finest people available. Then we went through a long period of time trying all kinds of different stuff. We got a couple of great string arrangements that Dave Grusin did for us, and I did a lot of choral work myself, constructing vocal parts on a number of these songs. That took us a long time to get right, too; that's just trial and error.
"October Road" will also be available in a limited-edition package with a three-track bonus disc that will feature previously released tracks that have never appeared on a proper Taylor album. It boasts the Taylor-arranged "Benjamin" from Mark O'Connor/Edgar Meyer/Yo-Yo Ma's "Appalachian Journey"; the Taylor-Mark Knopfler duet "Sailing to Philadelphia"; and Taylor and Brecker's "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight." The bonus disc also features studio footage and interviews with Taylor and Titelman.
The album is the follow-up to 1997's "Hourglass," which won Grammys for best pop vocal album and best engineered recording, nonclassical. "I think the main thing about albums these days," Taylor said, "is that if it's not gonna be a major effort and represent a valid thing for somebody in my position, then why bother? There's no reason to just get something out to fill a slot in the marketplace."
Taylor has begun lining up fall tour dates, and will visit Tanglewood in Lenox, Mass., on Wednesday (July 17), as well as NBC's "Today" show on Aug. 16.
Here are James Taylor's tour dates:
July 17: Lenox, Mass. (Tanglewood)
Sept. 4: London (Apollo Hammersmith)
Sept. 7: Glasgow (SECC)
Sept. 11: Frankfurt, Germany (Alte Oper)
Sept. 12: Hamburg, Germany (Musikhalle Saal 1)
Sept. 18: Manchester, England (Evening News Arena)