“Matt, I have indeed crossed over the “bridge” which I am so flattered to know, bears my name. Morgan Creek and environs are the physical landscape of my fondest early memories, and I delight in the connection that the good people of Orange Co. have established….a proud, James Taylor.”
— James Taylor, June 7th, 2013
James Taylor has sold millions of albums and is one of the most well-known performers of our time. He still appreciates his Chapel Hill roots, however, and delights in the honor of having a bridge named after him.
Whether it’s traveling to a good restaurant or grabbing some bagels on the way to church, I often drive over the James Taylor Bridge.
The bridge, dedicated to the folk-rock legend who hails from Chapel Hill, crosses over Morgan Creek near a road split that takes drivers into the heart of UNC.
It was dedicated 10 summers ago to Taylor, who so many of us grew up listening to — no matter where we grew up, even outside of North Carolina.
Passing over JT’s bridge for the past seven years since moving here from New York never fails to put a smile on my face (to almost use one of his song titles) and bring up fond memories.
Taylor is easily one of the finest singer-songwriters of our time, along with the legendary Billy Joel, who hails near my hometown of Port Jefferson Station on Long Island.
Who didn’t occasionally sing the irresistible “comma, comma, comma …etc…I’m your Handyman…yeah, yeah, yeah” for that terrific song?
Of all his hits, JT’s brilliant remake of “Up on the Roof” may hit home the most, literally. The roof of my old house on Jarvin Road was a great place for my older brother and me to escape the challenges of our youth.
Or perhaps he was just trying to get away from me?
Scott also shared a love for that same song, but generally preferred much harder Rock.
I preferred to mellow out to the likes of Harry Chapin, America, Electric Light Orchestra and of course, JT.
My listening habits had a lot to do with another brother Chris, who once amassed over 3,000 albums, including just about the best of every genre of music.
I was never a big Rock concert goer, but one of the few shows I ever saw was JT at the now-defunct LIU-Southampton College nearly two decades ago.
I happened to attend with a girl named Barbara, whom I went on to marry a short time later.
Why did I marry her? Along with being one of the smartest and funniest people on the planet, now as then there’s also “Something in the Way She Moves.” (Sorry, couldn’t resist!)
Finally, there’s a draw to North Carolina that calls so many people from around the country to make it home. Whether it’s superb barbecue, generally nice weather or lower taxes, there are many reasons to come to the “land of the long leaf pine.”
When my wife and I decided to move here seven years ago, JT’s “Carolina In My Mind” took on a special meaning for me.
As for Long Island I was glad to say “I’m gone, I’m gone … say nice things about me … I’m gone!”
I was headed for Chapel Hill near the “monument” to James Taylor, truly a bridge to somewhere special…