Limited edition 180-gram double LP
Mastered by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio!
Plated and pressed at RTI
Stoughton Printing old-style tip-on jacket
As on his best work, there's an almost stealthy sense of musical restlessness that seeps into James Taylor's songs here, as he colors some with deft jazz and international influences. The reunion with producer Russ Titelman (they last collaborated before this on 1976's In the Pocket) seems to have gratifyingly inspired as much gentle reassessment as retrenchment.
Longtime Titelman compatriot Ry Cooder guests on the title track, a song whose autumnal comforts fit the Taylor canon and other album tracks such as "September Grass," "Baby Buffalo," "My Traveling Star," and "On the Fourth of July" like an old slipper. However, "Belfast to Boston" cries for peace in Ireland and elsewhere with some surprising Gaelic flourishes, while "Whenever You're Ready" throws some Brazilian rhythms and jazzy horns into the mix, and Dave Grusin's slick orchestral arrangement turns "Mean Old Man" into an elegant cabaret surprise.
A little more of this musical adventure amidst the familiar romantic ballads and paeans to the comfort of home and family — including a gorgeously spare cover of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" — certainly wouldn't hurt.