July 7, 2012 | « back

THE REPUBLICAN – James Taylor singing the music of our lives

James Taylor, left, performs with members of the Zac Brown band at the 46th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas lst year. (File photo by Julie Jacobson / Associated Press)

By: The Republican Editorials

For many people July 4 means picnics, fireworks, and tradition. But for thousands of music lovers over three days last week it has meant all of that – and one thing more.

James Taylor at Tanglewood.

For the 21st time, the pop icon and his band returned to the summer home of the Boston Symphony orchestra in Lenox for three sold-out concerts in the Koussevitzky Music Shed and holiday fireworks. As in the past, the proceeds from the July 4 concert benefit Tanglewood.

Since Taylor’s first Tanglewood appearance was in 1974, we suspect there are families who can count births, deaths, and many other family milestones not in years, but in concerts.

What else can explain the enduring love affair between James Taylor, his fans and Tanglewood?

Certainly there are the familiar lyrics, “from Stockbridge to Boston;” the references to the Red Sox; and the obvious affection Taylor has for his Berkshire County home.

But we suspect it is the timeless quality of his music that brings fans back to the summer they were in college; on the road; or at loose ends. And then in what seems like the time between verses, there they are with a girlfriend who is now a wife, chasing after a baby who has suddenly and magically gone from nursing to nursing a wine cooler and is now sitting next to them on a blanket with children of her own.

Add to that the magic of a summer evening and it’s beginning to sound like a perfect recipe for nostalgia.

Certain things bring us back to happier times. The familiar smell of pine trees; a taste of home cooking from a picnic basket, the sight of the Tanglewood shed.

And at a James Taylor concert on a summer’s evening it’s always good to know you’ve got a friend.