Livingston Taylor may get asked on a daily basis about his more famous brother James, but he's certainly found footing outside of that family tree. In folk circles, the soft-spoken Liv was one of the first acts signed to Capricorn Records in 1970 after being discovered by producer/critic Jon Landau (who later managed Bruce Springsteen) and went on to a deal with Epic Records. Along the way he's also collaborated with his brother and longtime friend Carly Simon (who was once married to James), plus hosted the nationally syndicated radio program "This Week's Music." He also teaches a class on performing at the Berklee College of Music and is an artist in residency at Harvard. And all along, he's never been shy about spirituality, incorporating messages of faith into his mainstream music. His latest disc (and first in nine years), There You Are Again, provides his most overt gospel leanings to date, and features some familiar names in both Christian and secular music. During a phone call from the Harvard campus, he shares his convictions, the inspirations behind his new songs, and that famous circle of family and friends.
How did this record come together, especially after such a lengthy hiatus?
Liv Taylor I had moved into Harvard University to live as an artist in residence, in one of the dorms basically. I came into that environment and just started writing. Different things would show up, so I wrote as it showed up. I am not so flexible or versatile that I can start writing a song and then don't want to write it anymore. When it shows up, I have to write it down! This record took on an overall spiritual theme, which is not unusual for my music nor is it given my age. I'm 55 and I wrote the record over last two years.1