James Taylor's Mellow Rebirth: Inside 'Before This World'

James Taylor's new album is a collection of mellow, folky music that's reminiscent of Taylor's most enduring work from the 1970s. Highlights range from a reflection on the Red Sox's miraculous 2004 season ("Angels of Fenway") to a song about Taylor's difficult path to recovery ("Watchin' Over Me") to the road song "Stretch of the Highway," which references President Eisenhower's 1950s interstate highway project and Chicago's "first-class poontang."Taylor explains, "Where I grew up, a woman was as apt to say poontang as a man. It sort of meant 'lovin'.' When I play it for people from other parts of the country, they're sort of like, wow."