James Taylor's 15th studio album of his first new recordings in 32 years is, if possible, even more familiar and self-referential than ever. By now, it is an article of faith that you could take practically any track from any Taylor album and put it on another one without disturbing the mood, and that is as true of the songs here as it is of those on the other 14. That warm (if slightly deepened) tenor, singing in its odd accent which combines New England and the North Carolina Piedmont, and that acoustic guitar, with its sparkling, unhurried fingerpicking, remain the most prominent elements in the sound. But even more, October Road finds Taylor seemingly intent on evoking his own past. The title track, of course, recalls his song "Country Road," and "Caroline I See You," (even if it refers specifically to his wife), inescapably echoes "Carolina in My Mind." Also, Taylor deliberately recycles themes from his earlier work. "October Road" begins, "Well I'm going back down maybe one more time," while "My Traveling Star" ends, "And shame on me for sure/For one more highway song." Throughout, on what seem like the most personal songs he has written in decades, Taylor appears to be commenting on a second chance he feels he has received, and though he couches the negative aspects in humor ("Mean Old Man," whose subject is the singer, ends with a dog joke, and "Raised Up Family," which contains recriminations, tosses in a musical reference to Gilligan's Island), there are strong hints of a man who feels he's been rescued. As such, it is perhaps fitting (if seasonally curious for an album released in the summer) to conclude with "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," a holiday song from wartime that reaffirms the importance of family in a world gone awry.
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Performance CreditsJames Taylor Primary Artist,Background Vocals,Choir, Chorus,Vocal Harmony
Ry Cooder Guitar
Michael Brecker Saxophone
Larry Goldings Piano
David Lasley Background Vocals,Choir, Chorus,Vocal Harmony
Rob Mounsey Synthesizer,Percussion,Keyboards,Penny Whistle,String Pads
Bruce Dukov Violin
Harry Allen Tenor Saxophone
Luis Conte Percussion
Dave Grusin Conductor
Brian Dembow Viola
Stuart Duncan Violin
Stephen Erdody Cello
Walt Fowler Horn
Steve Gadd Drums
Julie Gigante Violin
Alan Grunfeld Violin
Paula Hochhalter Cello
Carrie Holzman-Little Viola
Robbie Kilgore Piano
Michael Landau Guitar,Electric Guitar,Rhythm Guitar,Gut String Guitar,Soloist
Lou Marini Horn
Kate Markowitz Background Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Tommy Morgan Harmonica
Robin Olson Violin
Greg Phillinganes Keyboards
John Pizzarelli Guitar
Richard Sortomme Violin
Sally Taylor Background Vocals
Donna Tecco Violin
Margaret Wooten Violin
Cenovia Cummins Violin
Michael Eisenstein Choir, Chorus
Arnold McCuller Background Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Karen Elaine Bakunin Viola
Kay Hanley Choir, Chorus
Nina Gordon Choir, Chorus
Clifford Carter Organ,Piano,Keyboards,Synthesizer Organ,Synthesizer Pads
Natalie Leggett Violin
Belinda Whitney Violin
Josh Lattanzi Choir, Chorus
Steve Scully Choir, Chorus
Liane Mautner Violin
Chiara Civello Background Vocals
M. Hans Liebert Piano,Synthesizer Percussion
Caroline Taylor Background Vocals
Kenneth Yerke Violin
Karen Jones Violin
Tamara Hatwan Violin
Ralph Morrison Concert Master
Richard Sebring French Horn
Jimmy Johnson Bass
Technical CreditsJames Taylor Composer
Rob Mounsey String Arrangements
Mark Howard Engineer
Dave Grusin String Arrangements
Hugh Martin Composer
John Sheldon Composer
Russ Titelman Producer
Gail Marowitz Art Direction
Ralph Blane Composer
Stephanie Mauer Cover Consultant
Sante d'Orazio Cover Photo,Back Cover Photo
Barbara Rose Management
Gary Borman Management
M. Hans Liebert Engineer
David O'Donnell Engineer
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
October Road based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
I have not been a huge fan of James Taylor all of my life, but over the past few years I have really grown to love all of his work. This particular CD is rich with syncopated rythms and swooning guitars that make you want to listen over and over again. My hat is off to James Taylor and the rest of his band for putting together one of my favorite CD's of the year! Well done!
The new James Taylor CD, October Road, is bound to be a classic. Songs like "Whenever You're Ready" and "Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas" are bound to get a lot of air-play on the radio, but long-time fans will go for the more subtle stuff, like "4th of July" or "Carry Me On My Way". But the quirkier personal songs, like "Baby Buffalo" and "My Traveling Star" are the ones stuck in my head. If you're a die-hard JT fan, you'll love every note. If you vaguely remember "Fire & Rain", you'll still find this to be an amazing work. Lots of variety, intelligent lyrics and, as always, beautiful music. Good job, JT.
J.T. provided wonderful memories with his distinctive guitar and mellow vocals on the old vinyls. His newest release reveals that Taylor has gotten better and better. Pull up an overstuffed chair, lean back, and enjoy serenity on a CD.
JT is back to show the kids what good music is. Today's music is junk! Where's the melody, emotions and craft? When it comes to JT, "Dad Loves His Work" indeed! He is a baby boomer and, as we all know, boomers make the best music. So kick off the sandals, put this on the stereo and get ready to lecture your kids about great music!
Well worth the wait. Just when you think this man couldn't be more mellow, inspirational, and entertaining, he proves you wrong. A real treat for all of us dyed-in-the-wool Taylor fans.
What a pleasure it was to take this out of the case and, after listening once, listening again ... the whole day. Simply JT, but better. It focuses on his vocals and guitar. If 53 years old can be this good, I cannot wait for Taylor's next release. Matt Perry loves him and it's easy to understand why. One never grows tired of James Taylor's music or his voice. They are uncluttered and comfortable like a big, old overstuffed chair that you've had for years. This release is a ''must buy'' for new fans, a ''gotta have'' for James Taylor peers.
Taylor effectively communicates his status as veteran singer-songwriter. A tasteful production complete with an outstanding line-up of studio talent makes for a musical and lyrical journey that doesn't grow stale with age. "October Road" won't get radio air, and the artist is likely totally comfortable with that fact. Instead, his new album is a word of encouragement to his loyal fan base. Taylor's inspiration crosses the boundaries of culture and generation, leaving American youth eager to hear new talent like Mark Melloan, not Britney Spears.
Mr. Bob sat down one evening as the "October Road" CD was playing. From that moment on each and every time he hears James Taylor's voice his favorite coment: That's James Taylor, and now that Mr. Bob is retired, I am greeted many evenings to the sound of James Taylor as I walk in the door. A New fan has been created.
Taylor's most recent, original piece of work is a richly acoustic, rewarding set of songs that reminds one of his earliest years yet with wiser lyrics that are wide open to the world. Sure, we have the requisite songs about dogs ("Mean Old Man") and traveling ("My Traveling Star), which are excellent, but also gentle, unforgettable love songs ("Caroline I See You" and the album's starter, "September Grass"), a song about visiting an old, dying relative in the hospital ("Baby Buffalo") and his best work regarding peace ("Belfast to Boston"). This set of songs is perfect for this stage in his long, productive career. I've listened to a lot of James Taylor - I frequently find myself back on "October Road".
I was thinking of James Taylor the other day and happen to get an e-mail notification about October Road. I went out the same day and purchase it. I was not disappointed. The music is light and airy. Definitely reminds me of the autumn season. It is the perfect music to play while enjoying your favorite read, or snuggling up with a love one by the fire. Mr. Taylor has done a superb piece of works.
October Road has got to be the best JT album ever! Buy it! Its incredible and it will make your soal want to lie the green september grass or walk down october road.