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Sweet Baby James Sings In The New Year At Raleigh Arena

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RALEIGH — Raleigh's new entertainment and sports arena will be ringing New Year's Eve as local favoriteJames Taylorsings in the year 2000 with 23,000 of his closest Carolina friends.

Taylor plays dozens of concerts every year but has not performed in the Triangle since 1997. Since then, one of North Carolina's favorite sons has traveled around the world performing before hundreds of thousands of his fans.

WRAL's David Crabtree caught up with him in London where he played two sold-out shows at the Royal Albert Hall.

Taylor left North Carolina more than 30 years ago, but the influence of North Carolina never left him. He says the time he spent here taught him to look for humor in life and to never lose your sense of humility, even when you are playing one of the most famous concert halls in the world.

"I think the audience likes to be in that place. I like to be on that stage because it's kind of meaningful, like Carnegie Hall. It's one of those places," Taylor says.

"It put it in perspective somewhat when I asked the stage manager 'What's in here tomorrow night?' sort of expecting the Royal Ballet or something. In fact, it's some sort of mass aerobics."

He learned all about performing as a young high school student when he lived on the outskirts of Chapel Hill.

"I performed a lot locally when I was in a band when I was in high school," he says. "We played all over the place in Chapel Hill and in the state." The band was called The Fabulous Cosshairs.

The accomplished guitarist describes a special Carolina memory: the first guitar he got for Christmas when he was 12.

"My brother spray painted it blue, strings and all. He thought it looked a lot better blue. It does too. Was it Carolina blue? Yeah, I think it was -- Rust-Oleum blue."

During the course of his career, Taylor has earned 37 gold, platinum and multi-platinum albums.

Tickets for the New Year's Eve concert go on sale September 18.

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David Crabtree, Reporter
Jay Jennings, Producer
Julie Moos, Web Editor

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