I admit it. I have been waiting a long time for Before This World…

I have been a James Taylor fanatic for many years and make a point of buying his albums. Though he did release some music during the 00s, 2015’s Before This World is his first album of original songs since 2002’s October Road. I don’t usually pre-order music, but decided I would when James started releasing some of the songs ahead of the June 16th release date. And then, on June 16th, I was out of town. I managed to download part of the album on my laptop, but the three songs I downloaded ahead of the official release date would not download for some strange reason. So I finally listened to the whole thing last night and, I must say, James has still got it.

James Taylor teases us with talk of his new album…

I’ve been following James Taylor’s music through the decades and it’s always evolving. He’s gone from simple guitar melodies to more complex arrangements with lush backing vocalists. Never one to shy away from a little nepotism, Taylor is also joined by his wife, Caroline “Kim” Taylor, who sings vocals on a couple of tracks and his young son Henry, who sings on “Angels of Fenway” and sounds as if he’s inherited the Taylor vocal genes. I’m not sure if his other son with Kim sings. I do know that his older kids with Carly Simon, Sally and Ben Taylor, both sing beautifully too.

There are several versions of Before This World available, so those who are thinking about buying it should be aware. Target stores have an exclusive version of this album that includes extra tracks. There is also a limited edition version offered through JamesTaylor.com that include other exclusive bonus tracks– not the same ones that are on the Target version. Amazon is offering a version that includes a DVD as well as a limited edition version with three extra tracks. I downloaded my copy from iTunes, but I also ordered the limited edition version, which should be getting to me sometime this week. Once it arrives, I will write a full review. For now, I will just say that James is still sounding wonderful and the new album is very good. I’m not sure if I love it as much as I love October Road, which I listened to incessantly when it was first released, but I do very much like my first impressions of Before This World. I can’t wait to hear the bonus tracks.

For now, here’s “Angels of Fenway”, Taylor’s tribute to the Boston Red Sox. Listen for Henry at about 1:30.

Before This World [Deluxe Edition CD+DVD] (Audio CD)

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