There's still some life in that old L.A. pop-rock sound.James Taylor and Kim Carnes proved it last night at the Merriweather Post Pavilion. They romped through the familiar combination of old soul hits, energetic rockers and their own romantic confessionals. None of it was innovative, but much of it was quite enjoyable.
In recent years, Taylor's singing has far overshadowed his songwriting. Last night he understated some lines so effectively they became inside jokes between him and the crowd. On "How Sweet It Is," he savored the Motown harmonies lustily. He brought an appealing simplicity to the old folk song, "Blue," and rocked out with surprising energy on his encore, "Summertime Blues."
Kim Carnes is best known for "Don't Fall In Love With A Dreamer," her maudlin country duet with Kenny Rogers. In last night's opening set, though, she didn't even sing the hit, but modeled herself on Linda Ronstadt instead. Carnes' grainy tone gave Ronstadt's familiar formula of up-tempo oldies and quivering ballads a personal touch. Carnes doesn't have Ronstadt's lush tone, but the newcomer does have plenty of power when she opens the throttle on the rockers.
Taylor and Carnes -- who were so relaxed they performed barefoot -- return to the Pavilion tonight.