Before This World

Before This World

by James TaylorJames Taylor


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James Taylor never sets his guitar down -- he spends a good portion of every year satisfying faithful audiences -- but he did rest his pen, opting to sit out the 13 years following the release of 2002's October Road. He kept busy with covers albums and Christmas records, but Before This World finds Taylor returning to writing, a habit he abandoned about a decade prior. Often, Before This World contains echoes of the first decade of the new millennium -- there is a passing reference to 9/11 in a song about Afghanistan and a love letter to the Boston Red Sox's 2004 World Series win -- but Taylor wrote these all in a batch, then recorded them at home with his touring band. Such quick progress gives the record a cozy, unified feeling but, unlike some latter-day JT records, it's not too comfortable. Taylor is randy enough to sing about some "first-class poontang" on the nicely grooving "Stretch of the Highway," a song more notable for a mellow vamp worthy of Steely Dan, the first suggestion there's a bit more variety here than on a typical Taylor platter. He'll ease into his trademark laid-back pop, opening the proceedings with "Today Today Today" and brightening up the midsection with the happy "Watchin' Over Me," but as the record comes toward its conclusion, he takes detours into traditional English folk on "Before This World/Jolly Springtime" and "Wild Mountain Thyme," while etching out a cinematic protest song in "Far Afghanistan." When a record runs only ten tracks and 41 minutes, these departures amount to nearly half the record and turn Before This World into something unexpected: a record as relaxed as the average James Taylor album but one that's also riskier and richer, the right album for him to make at this date.

Product Details

Release Date: 06/16/2015
Label: Concord Records
UPC: 0888072352704
catalogNumber: 35270
Rank: 63976

Album Credits

Performance Credits

James Taylor   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Harmonica,Vocals,Hi String
David Peel   French Horn
Sting   Vocals
Michael Davis   Trombone,Euphonium
Larry Goldings   Organ,Piano,Accordion,Harmonium,fender rhodes,Wurlitzer
David Lasley   Vocals
David Mann   Tenor Saxophone
Rob Mounsey   Conductor
Yo-Yo Ma   Cello
Randy Andos   Trombone
Luis Conte   Percussion
Walt Fowler   Hand Clapping
Steve Gadd   Drums
Tony Kadleck   Flugelhorn
Michael Landau   Electric Guitar,Guitar (Nylon String)
Lou Marini   Tenor Saxophone
Roger Rosenberg   Baritone Saxophone
Andrea Zonn   Fiddle,Vocals
Arnold McCuller   Vocals
Antoine Silverman   Concert Master
Rajendra Prasanna   Shehnai
Larry Di Bello   French Horn
Hiroko Taguchi   Violin
Jonathan Dinklage   Violin
Entcho Todorov   Violin
Peter Sachon   Cello
Rachel Golub   Violin
Caroline Taylor   Vocals
Philip Payton   Viola
Emily Brausa   Cello
Jimmy Johnson   Bass
Orlando Wells   Violin
Henry Taylor   Vocals
Katharine Kresek   Viola
Kate Makrowitz   Vocals

Technical Credits

James Taylor   Arranger,Composer,Liner Notes
Rob Mounsey   Horn Arrangements,String Arrangements,Brass Arrangment,Cello Arrangement
Kevin Reagan   Art Direction
Francis McPeake   Composer
Rick Kwan   Engineer
Timothy White   Cover Photo
David O'Donnell   Producer,Engineer

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