Staff Picks

Together on Stage: James and Henry Taylor’s Heartwarming Duet – ‘You Can Close Your Eyes’

Everyone who’s a fan of James Taylor, raise your hand. I can almost hear the enthusiastic “Me! Me! Me!” from many of you. However, given James Taylor’s iconic status, it’s understandable that some younger readers of Music Man might not be familiar with his work. My aim is to provide enough context for all readers to appreciate the videos shared here. So, to the avid fans, please be patient with the brief overview, and to those new to Taylor’s music, understand that he is a highly esteemed singer, songwriter, and guitarist among his musical peers.

Taylor has received numerous accolades, including his induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2000, being named Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by France in 2012, and receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the US, in 2015. He has won six Grammy Awards and was honored as the MusiCares Person of the Year in 2006, a testament to his impact in the music industry. The array of artists who performed at his MusiCares event speaks volumes about Taylor’s significance. More on that later, but first, let’s focus on this 2021 video featuring JT and his son Henry:

There’s something uniquely touching about family members making music together, especially when they harmonize as beautifully as JT and Henry do. Watching JT’s proud and affectionate smiles towards Henry as they perform together is truly heartwarming. It’s been said that when family members sing together, they create an indescribable magic. This performance is a perfect example, receiving accolades from fans and viewers alike for its sincerity and warmth.

The song they perform, “You Can Close Your Eyes,” is among Taylor’s most beloved and critically acclaimed works. It first appeared on his 1971 album “Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon” and is rumored to have been written for his former girlfriend, Joni Mitchell. Here’s another gem from The Voice 2020, offering a glimpse of Taylor’s timeless appeal:

The list of artists who have covered James Taylor’s songs at the 2006 MusicCares event includes legends like Bruce Springsteen, Carole King, Sting, and many others, showcasing the breadth of Taylor’s influence across different genres and generations.

During the pandemic, James and Henry Taylor shared a special performance of “Moon River” on The Voice, a classic that further highlights their musical bond:

Post-pandemic, Henry joined his father’s touring band as a backing vocalist, deepening their professional and personal connection. Henry’s integration into the band reflects not only his talent but also the familial warmth and respect shared among the members, many of whom have known Henry since he was a baby.

James Taylor’s recent achievements, including his first Billboard 200-topping album in 2015 with “Before This World” and the success of his 2020 album “American Standard,” underscore his enduring relevance in the music industry. With a career spanning over six decades and a family that continues his musical legacy, James Taylor remains a beloved figure in American music, cherished by fans across generations.

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