Legendary singer-songwriter James Taylor releases his new album, American Standard on February 28, 2020.
The new collection marks Taylor’s 19th studio album and his first release since 2015’s Before This World, his first #1 career album. On American Standard, Taylor infuses new sounds and fresh meaning into these timeless works of art, reimagining some of the most beloved songs of the 20th century and making them completely his own.
“I’ve always had songs I grew up with that I remember really well, that were part of the family record collection – and I had a sense of how to approach, so it was a natural to put American Standard together,” explains Taylor. “I know most of these songs from the original cast recordings of the famous Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals, including My Fair Lady, Oklahoma, Carousel, Showboat and others.” He adds, “In terms of how they were performed and recorded before, we paid attention to the chords and melody, but we were interested in doing something new, and in bringing something new to it, we’ve reinterpreted the songs, that’s what makes it worth doing.”
In addition to the new album, Taylor has announced a major US tour with special guest Jackson Browne, kicking off on May 15th at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans. The tour will reach 26 cities, nationwide. The US tour follows his already announced coast to coast Canadian Tour with Bonnie Raitt. Taylor will also be returning to Fenway Park in Boston with his All-Star Band on June 21st for a special show featuring Brandi Carlile and Shawn Colvin. See upcoming Canadian dates below, and visit https://tour.jamestaylor.com/ for more information.
The 14 carefully chosen selections on American Standard naturally feature Taylor’s one-of-a-kind vocal ability and incomparable musicianship, but what makes the album so unique is the inventive way he and fellow co-producers, longtime collaborator Dave O’Donnell and master guitarist John Pizzarelli, approached the project: beautifully simple, stripped-down guitar arrangements based on Taylor’s and Pizzarelli’s skillful guitar work rather than the more traditional piano. The effect is mesmerizing.
A small sampling of the album’s inspired repertoire includes James’ swinging take on Walter Donaldson and George A. Whiting’s “My Blue Heaven”, Frederick Loewe and Alan Jay Lerner’s enduring “Almost Like Being In Love”, from the score of Brigadoon; Hoagy Carmichael and Ned Washington’s enchanting “The Nearness of You”, Frank Loesser’s jaunty “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat”, from the Broadway smash Guys and Dolls; Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II’s piercing social commentary from South Pacific, “You’ve Got To Be Carefully Taught”, a superb reading of the Billie Holiday-Arthur Herzog Jr. classic, “God Bless The Child”, and the first ever cover of a song originally featured in the 1938 Merrie Melodies cartoon Katnip Kollege, “As Easy As Rolling Off A Log”.
The album comes on the heels of Taylor’s previously announced Break Shot, a deeply personal and authentic audio-only memoir, for Audible. This one-of-a-kind music and storytelling experience is the first-ever Audible Original performance by James Taylor and is currently available for free on Audible. Produced by MTV/VH1 veteran Bill Flanagan, Taylor takes listeners through the triumphs and traumas of his childhood and difficult family life. Break Shot illuminates the deep connection Taylor has with the songs on his new album, American Standard.
AMERICAN STANDARD – Track List:
My Blue Heaven (Walter Donaldson-George A. Whiting)
Moon River (Henry Mancini-Johnny Mercer)
Teach Me Tonight (Gene De Paul-Sammy Cahn)
As Easy As Rolling Off A Log (M.K. Jerome-Jack Scholl)
Almost Like Being In Love (Frederick Loewe-Alan Jay Lerner)
Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ The Boat (Frank Loesser)
The Nearness Of You (Hoagy Carmichael-Ned Washington)
You’ve Got To Be Carefully Taught (Richard Rodgers-Oscar Hammerstein II)
God Bless The Child (Billie Holiday-Arthur Herzog Jr.)
Pennies From Heaven (Arthur Johnston-Johnny Burke)
My Heart Stood Still (Richard Rodgers-Lorenz Hart)
Ol’ Man River (Jerome Kern-Oscar Hammerstein II)
It’s Only A Paper Moon (Harold Arlen-Yip Hardburg-Billy Rose)
The Surrey With The Fringe On Top (Richard Rodgers-Oscar Hammerstein II)
UPCOMING CANADIAN DATES:
April 14 – Victoria, BC (Save on Foods Memorial Centre)
April 15 – Vancouver, BC (Pepsi Live at Rogers Arena)
April 17 – Edmonton, AB (Rogers Place)
April 19 – Calgary, AB (Scotiabank Saddledome)
April 21 – Winnipeg, MB (Bell MTS Place)
April 24 – Ottawa, ON (Richcraft Live at Canadian Tire Centre)
April 25 – London, ON (Budweiser Gardens)
April 27 – Toronto, ON (Scotiabank Arena)
April 29 – Montreal, QC (Bell Centre)
May 1 – Halifax, NS (Scotiabank Centre)
May 2 – Moncton, NB (Avenir Centre)
May 5 – St. John’s, NF (Mile One Centre)