Tuesday, Aug. 15, Alliant Energy Center Coliseum, 8 p.m.
I'm gonna go out on a limb and say this James Taylor kid's got the chops to make it big. After all, he's got a song on the soundtrack to the movie Cars, and apparently has a few other albums people have purchased. I'm not sure if there is much of a market for his brand of soulful singer-songwriting, but if there is, I imagine former President James Taylor will do well.
Ha, I kid. That's a line from Taylor's role in what may be the funniest episode of "The Simpsons" ever, the one where Homer nearly crashes the space shuttle, which aired long enough ago to be tasteful. The point: Taylor is everywhere, and everyone loves him. And if you don't, you once did. And if you never did, you still put "Fire and Rain" on a mix tape to your high school BFF. Anyone claiming different is a terrorist.
Sure his new music doesn't hold a candle to his old, and he's often the first to admit it. (His Cars single, "Our Town," is pure-cut treacle.) But he's not filling stadiums with people demanding new material. Taylor's classics are so cemented into society, I imagine they will be centuries-old classical music that future generations will be forced to perform in holo-school.
See him now, and maybe your great-great-granddaughter can bring the ticket stub in for show and tell, before selling it on holo-eBay with your ancient "Simpsons" DVDs.
Saturday, Aug. 12, the Annex, 9:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Aug. 16, Club Majestic, 8 p.m.
Fans of Fiona Apple and Aimee Mann will be happy to know that up-and-coming songwriter Sierra Swan will be performing Saturday, then dye her hair slightly darker and perform a few days later under the name "Anna Nalick."
Wait...I just learned Swan and Nalick are, in fact, not the same person, but actually two distinctive, individual musicians with distinctive, individual sounds that nonetheless sound similar. Nalick has been around a little longer and has already had a hit with "Breathe (2AM)," but Swan's debut album has a little more fire to it. Both are quite listenable, with lots of stage experience ' which you'd expect from vanguards of the invading singer-songwriter clone army.u