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James Taylor's <i>October Road</i> Provides Insight Into Songwriter's Life - 2002-08-29

Legendary singer and songwriter James Taylor is back with October Road, his first new album in five years. Starting his career in the late 1960s, James has one of the most distinctive voices in pop music. In 2000, he received a double honor, with inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the Songwriters' Hall of Fame.

Since his first recordings in the 1970s, James Taylor has earned four Grammy Awards, along with 40 gold or platinum albums. His greatest hits collection sold more than 10 million copies alone. The online music site CD Now describes James' new album, October Road, as "another work by an artist still at his creative peak, a veteran in solid command of his craft." James comments, "All these songs come from my life. I feel as though my life is full of a lot of different stuff, like family and friends, and it feels about right."

James Taylor asked his daughter Sally to contribute background vocals to his new CD. Other guest artists include guitarist Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits, saxophone player Michael Brecker and guitarist and vocalist Ry Cooder.

October Road is a reflective collection, with moods than run from joyous to melancholy. There are love songs and sentimental recollections of family, friends and childhood. One tune, Belfast To Boston, is a plea for world peace with a subtle march rhythm running throughout.

Now, 30 years into his career, James Taylor comments, "For me, pop music is not a competitive sport. You just have to do your best then let go of the result, and just be thankful to be able to continue."

October Road also includes James Taylor's rendition of the holiday classic, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. Previously, this version has never been commercially available. The song was posted on his official website last year as a gift to fans. A limited edition of the album will feature a bonus disc with some previously-unreleased tracks, an interview and behind-the-scenes footage from the recording studio.

In September, he embarks on a European tour.