Spotlight: Ben Taylor

10PM, Copa

Spotlight: Ben Taylor

If James Taylor and Carly Simon thought they could pull a Don Corleone by sending their son Ben off to school, they were wrong. As with Pacino's character in the Godfather, Ben – born 1977, the same year his dad released JT, featuring the hit "Handy Man" – has found it impossible to resist the pull of the family business. On his first solo album, Another Run Around the Sun (Iris), released last year, Taylor finds myriad ways to both embrace his lineage and step out of his parents' long shadow.

"Basically, I finished school and realized I didn't really have the skills to do anything else," he explains. "That's pretty much all there was to it. And once I realized that I wanted to make music, I really didn't feel that I had any choice in the matter."

Rather than try and capitalize on his name and family connections in the entertainment business, Taylor's elected to stick to the margins for the time being, recording for an independent label and cultivating an "organic" fan base.

Another Run should carry a long way toward that goal. For better or worse, Taylor's fans are as likely to be Baby Boomers as his contemporaries. On jazzy opener "Nothing I Can Do," his voice often sounds indistinguishable from his father's. Yet he's no mere folk hack riding on a name. He's got a Nickel Creek thing working in some places, while his best composition, "Digest," about a friend in prison, lets listeners know just where he's coming from: "No right to complain, 'cause it's already more than I'd ever asked."

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James Taylor, Carly Simon, Another Run Around the Sun, Iris

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