Review: Livingston Taylor at The Dogwood Center
By Ken DeLaat
Photos by Lil DeLaat
Livingston Taylor charmed and beguiled the Main Stage crowd at the Dogwood Saturday night with an enticing array of friendly banter, musical excellence and his endearing way of developing a solid relationship with his audience.
A professor at the prestigious Berklee School of Music in Boston it comes as no surprise to find that Mr. Taylor teaches performance. He takes to the stage and eases himself in as if he were settling into a comfortable chair nestled beside a flickering fireplace.
Then, as he explained in our recent interview, he tells his stories through the music he so obviously loves. Lulling the crowd with an enticing dialogue before segueing into a series of songs that betray...
...a masterful musicianship accompanied by vocals that wandered within a fairly substantial range.
Taylor’s stage presence, crafted from a half century of performing, took root in the coffee houses of the 60's where so many renowned musicians cut their teeth. He displays confidence without conceit, and a particularly intriguing courage with his selections as he strolled from tunes he and others composed many years back to newer pieces and of course the standards he musically embraces as he might when encountering old friends.
A personal highlight of the evening was his compelling version of ‘Sweet Blindness’ a Laura Nyro song the 5th Dimension brought to the top 40.
Livingston expressed a profound respect and admiration for the Dogwood’s Steinway and drew laughter when he said “I haven’t played this for so long but with this piano I can’t resist,” before launching into the beginner’s favorite duet tune ‘Heart and Soul’.
After the show Taylor wandered up to the lobby where he posed for photos, interacted with attendees, and even signed a guitar. People approached him easily as if he were someone they knew… someone they had been introduced to and had also gotten acquainted with.
And most importantly?
Someone they really, really liked
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