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."

Keep up with all our SXSW coverage at austinchronicle.com/sxsw. Sign up for our South By-specific newsletter at austinchronicle.com/newsletters for news, reviews, and previews delivered to your inbox every day of the Fest. And for the latest tweets, follow @ChronSXSW.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
Wednesday Interview
Wednesday Interview
Delta Spirit

Jim Caligiuri, March 20, 2015

Wednesday Picks & Sleepers
Wednesday Picks & Sleepers
First night SXSW Music recommendations and hints

March 20, 2015

More by Dan Oko
Spotlight: Richard Thompson
Spotlight: Richard Thompson
10pm, Antone's

March 15, 2013

Ballroom Dancing
SXSW Keynote: Dave Grohl
SXSW panel reviews

March 15, 2013

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

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

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle