The Lyrics: They carry a message that can incite social change or simply relate to life’s experiences, pleasures, thoughts and dreams.

The Music: The right sequence of chords and a strong melody can connect with our emotions regardless of the lyrical content (or lack thereof).

The Song:  The creative process and result of weaving often poetic words, with music that touches the heart like no other medium.

The Singer/Songwriter: Most often exemplified by the ability to tap into the listener’s emotions through the personal perspectives of their song. The stories told through typically “stripped down” solo performances are most effective when in intimate settings such as coffee houses, folk clubs and smaller acoustically suitable venues such as theaters and concert halls.

In 1973, I had the pleasure of seeing James Taylor perform at The Auditorium Theater in Chicago. What a gift this man has for connecting with his audience, by crafting songs that leave you with a heavy heart. But the standout moment for me was during his solo acoustic guitar rendition of “Sweet Baby James.” The light crew turned the stage green and then blue, right in time with the chorus phrase “deep greens and blues, are the colors I choose…” and with a smirking grin, James just looked up, rolled his eyes and shook his head to acknowledge the light crews antics. I’ll never forget the look on his face.

While everyone there got a good chuckle out of it, I was mostly struck by his ability to inject a bit of subtle humor to make you laugh, while he was right in the middle of making you cry . . .”and rock-a-bye Sweet Baby James.”

– Submitted by Bill Spencer, Music Design