To me he's not just the younger brother of James Taylor. He's been performing for 40 years and has more than earned the right to no longer be in the shadow of JT.
Livingston Taylor brought four-decades worth of experience along with a guitar and piano to The Carlisle Theater in historic downtown Carlisle, PA. During week days Liv guides young talent at the Berklee College of Music; while in the evenings and weekends he instructs the rest of us what it's like to command an audience. Going to a Livingston Taylor show you learn from the master who has honed his craft and continues to perfect it.
I had a front row center seat, which isn't always the best seat in the house. When Liv was singing at the piano, I only saw his face from the nose up. So my focus turned to his feet. Liv kept time, like a pendulum, with his feet. I was fascinated. He looked very comfortable wearing his brown Swede shoes and keeping time to the music. Liv also moved his feet while he was standing and playing his guitar. I also enjoyed watching Liv's facial expressions, especially his eyes.
The 90-minute show began with Liv going to the piano to sing "December 1903 (The Wright Brothers Song)". One of my favorite songs that Liv has yet to put on a CD. Liv had on his trademark bow tie, with a colorful sweater vest over a long-sleeved blue shirt and khaki pants.
Throughout the show Liv would go from Broadway tunes by some of his favorite lyricists to his own compositions, many of which he presented seamlessly in a medley form. Although the best response from the audience came when he did quirky songs with titles like "Railroad Bill", "The Dollar Bill Song", "I'm Not As Herbal As I Oughta Be" and a song about wishing he was born gay. I don't think there was a set list, instead it seemed to be whatever struck Liv's fancy or what types of songs were receiving the loudest applause. He rotated between playing the piano and guitar. Liv even brings the audience into a sound check, by singing "Testing 1-2-3" into the microphone.
Another highlight was his song about the Civil War called "Last Letter". Liv came out for an encore, ending with a song that has been a part of his repertoire for many years "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."
As his usual custom, Liv strolled out into the theater lobby after the show to sign CD's (they always sound better signed, he's fond of saying) and pose for photos.
Now if only the powers that be (and you know who you are) could get Livingston Taylor back to Pittsburgh for a show. Summers don't seem complete any more without Liv here to entertain us.
Barb S. - Sunday Mix Host