James Taylor is once again teaming with Starbucks' Hear Music label to release a new album, this one an album of covers named Covers due in stores September 30.
The album is Taylor's first studio release since 2002's October Road and his second for Hear Music. He partnered with the label to release One Man Band, a live CD/DVD, last November.
It's odd to see the 10,000 pound gorilla reduced to the role of underdog, but that's a bit what Starbucks reminds me of with their Hear Music label. The coffee giant has squashed many a competitor as they've risen to a dominant place in the market, but in the world of music they're a relatively small player.
I know what you're thinking, and you're right, but that's not important. Yes, of course Starbucks has more money than God to throw into this musical endeavor, allowing them to pursue a much different strategy than other indie labels. That's not the point. Well, it is but I want to look at this a different way.
Hear Music has been doing something brilliant, regardless of how much money they have to execute the strategy. Year after year after year, the top grossing tours are nearly always "veteran" acts like McCartney, The Stones, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Bob Dylan etc. What do these artists have in common? They've all teamed with Starbucks in one way or another to release or promote music.
The industry of "cool" and "hip" and "now" has little, if any, time for artists like this and the same is true of music fans, in a sense. I spend more money on music than any 15-year-old bastard in this country, but there's no one out there "competing" for my dollar or trying to curry favor with me. I'm not dead yet and neither are these artists, and that's what Hear Music has figured out.
There are people like me who love music and are willing to pay actual money for it if only someone will give us something to buy and a civilized way to do it. The corporate titan bastards are getting a taste of their own medicine from one of their own.
Here is the track list for Covers:
- "It's Growing"
- "(I'm A) Road Runner"
- "Wichita Lineman"
- "Why Baby Why"
- "Some Days You Gotta Dance"
- "Seminole Wind"
- "Hound Dog"
- "On Broadway"
- "Summertime Blues"
- "Not Fade Away"