Quiet Fire: The Music of James Taylor (taught by Peter King)

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Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, University of Pittsburgh, main campus, Pittsburgh, PA

Hear a few notes from his guitar, and you know it’s James Taylor. Now 70, the writer of “Fire and Rain,” “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight” and “Carolina in My Mind” has influenced pop, folk and country with his jazz-tinged chords and syncopated rhythms. The melodies and harmonies go down easy, but a closer listen reveals nuance, power and surprise. Taylor’s socially conscious, sometimes tormented soul reveals itself in songs about drug addiction, the First Gulf War and Martin Luther King. Other songs draw on his brother’s death, his difficult relationship with his father and his family's seafaring past. In a 5-session course, musician/guitar teacher Peter King will explore what makes Taylor’s music so original. Through guided listening to Taylor’s recordings as well as songs played live by the instructor on his guitar, the class will gain a deeper appreciation of the art of Sweet Baby James.