If you were born in the early '80s, your first exposure to James Taylor was probably seeing him play "You've Got a Friend" for Homer Simpson and Buzz Aldrin, who are aboard a space shuttle in The Simpsons episode "Deep Space Homer." Even now, it's one of the show's most moving scenes, with Taylor providing comic relief after an interruption: "Listen, Aldrin, I'm not as laid-back as people think. Now here's the deal: I'm going to play, and you're going to float there and like it." Just like that, the man Homer referred to as "former President James Taylor" gained a million 11-year-old fans, myself among them. Nowadays it's even easier, for me at least, to appreciate Taylor's sense of style. Songs he wrote in his youth, reflective and soulful, somehow seem even better suited to the man at 61. (Contrast this with the Rolling Stones, whose members still prance shirtless onstage and sing that they "can't get no satisfaction" with millions in the bank.) Taylor's been busy since 2007, when he released One Man Band, followed by an eclectic selection of cover songs in 2008, and a second helping of covers this year. This means audience can expect plenty of new material on Friday, when Taylor plays The Music Hall at Fair Park at 8 p.m. Tickets are $59.50 to $79.50. Visit ticketmaster.com.
Fri., May 15, 8 p.m., 2009