James Taylor has announced the 28 February release of the new album American Standard, via Fantasy Records. The 19th studio release by the storied singer-songwriter features his interpretations of 14 classic American songs such as ‘My Blue Heaven,’ ‘Almost Like Being In Love’ and ‘The Nearness of You.’ The lead track from the album, Taylor’s interpretation of the Gene De Paul/Sammy Cahn classic ‘Teach Me Tonight,’ is available now.
American Standard is Taylor’s first release since 2015’s Before This World, which debuted atop the Billboard 200 to become the first US No. 1 album of his long and distinguished career. The new release has him reimagining some of the best-loved compositions of the 20th century, music in which he was steeped as a young man.
“I’ve always had songs I grew up with that I remember really well,” says Taylor, “that were part of the family record collection, and I had a sense of how to approach, so it was a natural to put American Standard together. I know most of these songs from the original cast recordings of the famous Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals, including My Fair Lady, Oklahoma, Carousel, Showboat and others.
“In terms of how they were performed and recorded before, we paid attention to the chords and melody, but we were interested in doing something new, and in bringing something new to it, we’ve reinterpreted the songs, that’s what makes it worth doing.” Taylor co-produced the album with longtime collaborator Dave O’Donnell and master guitarist John Pizzarelli. Watch a trailer for American Standard here:
The album will swiftly follow Taylor’s previously-announced audio-only memoir Break Shot, a deeply personal and unique music and storytelling experience and his first Audible Original, available on 31 January. Produced by MTV/VH1 veteran Bill Flanagan, it takes listeners through the triumphs and traumas of his life and illustrates Taylor’s deep connection with the songs on American Standard.
American Standard is released on 28 February. Scroll down for the tracklisting, and pre-order it here.
1. My Blue Heaven (Walter Donaldson-George A. Whiting)
2. Moon River (Henry Mancini-Johnny Mercer)
3. Teach Me Tonight (Gene De Paul-Sammy Cahn)
4. As Easy As Rolling Off A Log (M.K. Jerome-Jack Scholl)
5. Almost Like Being In Love (Frederick Loewe-Alan Jay Lerner)
6. Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ The Boat (Frank Loesser)
7. The Nearness Of You (Hoagy Carmichael-Ned Washington)
8. You’ve Got To Be Carefully Taught (Richard Rodgers-Oscar Hammerstein II)
9. God Bless The Child (Billie Holiday-Arthur Herzog Jr.)
10. Pennies From Heaven (Arthur Johnston-Johnny Burke)
11. My Heart Stood Still (Richard Rodgers-Lorenz Hart)
12. Ol’ Man River (Jerome Kern-Oscar Hammerstein II)
13. It’s Only A Paper Moon (Harold Arlen-Yip Hardburg-Billy Rose)
14. The Surrey With The Fringe On Top (Richard Rodgers-Oscar Hammerstein II)