One Man Band

There's no shortage of James Taylor hits collections out there, but that doesn't make this new live CD-DVD, any less welcome. Taylor's fans regard each reframing of his career as an artistic snapshot of his life at that moment, and this set offers a particularly warm portrait. Recorded at the Colonial Theatre near Taylor's home in the Berkshires, One Man Band finds the singer re-engaging such classics as "Something in the Way She Moves," "Sweet Baby James" and "Fire and Rain" in spare, mostly acoustic settings. While the nineteen-track CD is more specifically performance-oriented, the two-hour DVD features Taylor sharing photos, video footage and memories in ways that provide a rich context for his songs. Taylor's supple baritone remains a wonder of intimacy, and it finds its match in the effortless intricacy of his finger-picking. More recent songs like "My Traveling Star" and "Mean Old Man" hold their own next to the likes of "Shower the People." Taken together, the One Man Band CD-DVD is more a musical biography than simply a greatest-hits set, Taylor's latest missive from the long and winding road he's on.

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