See Sheryl Crow, Garth Brooks' James Taylor Tribute - Rolling Stone
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See Sheryl Crow Join Garth Brooks, Darius Rucker in James Taylor Tribute

Collaboration on “How Sweet It Is” caps a Kennedy Centers Honor salute to the Seventies singer-songwriter

As usual, this year’s Kennedy Center Honors was a star-studded affair. Held on December 4th in Washington, D.C., and hosted by Stephen Colbert, the event, which aired December 27th on CBS, recognized the artistic contributions of the Eagles, James Taylor, Mavis Staples, Al Pacino and pianist Martha Argerich.

Many of music’s biggest artists were on hand to pay tribute to the honorees, including Sheryl Crow, who performed a medley of some of Taylor’s beloved songs. Beginning with a reverent take on the songwriter’s 1970 hit “Fire and Rain,” Crow transitioned into 1977’s “Your Smiling Face” and Taylor’s 1975 version of Marvin Gaye’s classic “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You).” (Watch the performance above.)

Crow was backed by Taylor’s own band, the Section, on a stage designed to resemble famed West Hollywood club the Troubadour. Garth Brooks and Darius Rucker joined Crow toward the end of her medley, trading off on lead vocal duties.

In an interview before the event, Crow told CBS’s Paula Reed of Taylor, “I think he’s just authentic, you know. He’s absolutely given voice to all of our deepest woundings and our insecurities and, you know, the pain of loss and the joy of love … He’s really an incredible poet.”

Brooks and Rucker also gave individual tributes to Taylor. Brooks performed an emotional rendition of “Shower the People,” while Rucker paid homage to “Sweet Baby James” and “Carolina in My Mind.” In a short speech, President Bill Clinton described Taylor’s songs as “seams in the fabric our national life.”

Crow recently joined forces with Bar Rescue‘s Jon Taffer for what appears to be an episode of a new restaurant revamp reality series. The show rebranded a Nashville eatery to serve a number of Crow-themed menu items, including the “If It Makes You Happy” salad. 


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