James Taylor awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom


James Taylor was one of 17 recipients presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House on Nov. 24. Mr. Taylor, a onetime Island resident, kicked off his career on Martha’s Vineyard with gigs at venues like the MoonCusser. According to a press release, the medal “is the nation’s highest civilian honor, presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”

Of Mr. Taylor, President Barack Obama said: “I’m proud to call the next honoree a friend, as well. The truth is, a lot of people say that about James Taylor. That’s what happens when you spend four decades telling people, ‘Just call out my name, and I’ll come running.’ But that’s the thing about James — you always feels like he’s singing only to you. As a fan of his once said, James can ‘turn an arena into a living room.’ It’s why he became one of the driving forces of the singer-songwriter movement. And his honesty and candor about overcoming substance abuse has inspired not only his music, but people all around the world. So come Fire or Rain; come Carolina, Mexico, or a Country Road — James Taylor is there to comfort us, to help us look within, and to urge us all to Shower the People we love with love.”