A Dash of James Taylor + A Bit of Carley Simon = Ben Taylor at Higher Ground

Surrounded by lush, velvet draperies, candlelit cocktail tables and dozens of personal fans, Ben Taylor, son of the legendary James Taylor and Carly Simon, performed on Wednesday night in the Showcase Lounge of Higher Ground.

The smoky atmosphere of the red-lit stage drew fans into Taylor’s quiet, yet intimately piercing voice.

The night began with opening acoustic act Lowell Thompson. This twenty-two year-old’s soothing, unique voice transcended the audience into an enchanting mood that lasted throughout the performances and into the night.

His versatility both as a songwriter and musician has been compared to that of Beck, Jeff Tweedy and Gram Parsons, and has won him the annual Singer/Songwriter Acoustic Guitar Search of 2004.

Thompson’s intimate performance introduced the audience to his new album, currently being recorded and soon to be released: an album looking to be an incredibly personal display of talent.

Taking time away from his tour with Tracy Chapman, Taylor was able to include this personal show for Burlington: an unusually long performance for Taylor compared to his half-hour act on the tour. With his whispering voice, Taylor commented that he enjoyed performing “showcase songs in broken-down forms,” as the audience remained silent, absorbing the essence of each song in his new album Another Run Around the Sun.

Taylor lightened the mood with humorous remarks between songs and with his performance of “Boyfriend,” a song written by his friend that proved to be an excellent ice-breaker for the show.

Alone on stage, with a single black chair and two acoustic guitars, Taylor drew the audience into his entrancing music. “Surround Me,” a song written about the passion for his home in Martha’s Vineyard, was inspired by Taylor’s dramatic move into the desert, leaving him starving for life on the ocean: “Love surround me while you can, till these waves grow cold, I’ve gone too deep, I cannot stand, I burned before I froze. Running to save my life, leaving you, now in the heat of this dreadful dry, I’m needing you, surround me.”

With each note, word and tactful pause, Taylor penetrated the audience, leaving them with an elated feeling that carried them into a night of bliss. After the show, Taylor warmly greeted the audience with personal conversations and autographs, leaving each with unforgettable memory of the night.

Taylor will be touring with his mother, Carly Simon, in her “Serenade Tour” kicking off in Boston on November 19th. Sister Sally Taylor, and Ben will be performing both as opening acts as well as with their mother.