Saturday, November 3, 2007

James Taylor

My cheeks hurt.

There's not really any way to convey, in mere words, the magic of James Taylor concert.

The first time I took my daughters to a JT concert, it was at Wolftrap in Virginia. One was just eight. The other, not quite five. From their earliest days, they knew James Taylor. More nights than not, if the oldest had trouble getting to sleep, I would dance around the living room with her in my arms, her head on my shoulder, singing along with James's newest album. "Sing the cowboy song, Daddy," was a frequent request at bedtime. Before she could speak in complete sentences, she could say, "James Taylor, Daddy, James Taylor." I honestly think, after "Mommy" and "Daddy," "James Taylor" may have been the third and fourth words she learned.

When tonight's concert wrapped up, finally, after about four encores, with a quiet, acoustic "You Can Close Your Eyes," I was sitting in the audience, with my arm around the shoulder of the my youngest daughter, whose cheeks also hurt from smiling, feeling like pretty much the luckiest father in the world.

Sometime, I'll chronicle the James Taylor soundtrack of my life, eras marked by albums, synaesthetic memories in which image and sound and emotion blur into a single remembered whole. Life in a gentle musical blender.