Published: Oct 11, 2012 06:35 PM
Modified: Oct 11, 2012 06:36 PM
CHAPEL HILL - James Taylor played several songs for Barack Obama’s most dedicated Triangle volunteers at the Obama for America office on Franklin Street Wednesday night.
A Chapel Hill native, Taylor, 64, has been popping up at Obama field offices across the country. Wednesday, he performed his hit “You’ve Got a Friend” and the lullaby “You Can Close Your Eyes.”
But for the hometown crowd, he had to add another song: “Carolina In My Mind.”
Performing under a tent in the the parking lot, Taylor got loud applause from the crowd of about 100 “super-volunteers,” who run neighborhood teams for Obama. Some have been working on the campaign since before the Chapel Hill office opened in March.
“I’m honored to be among you,” he said. “You guys are the ones who are going to make it happen.”
Between songs, Taylor praised Obama and spoke of his hope that politics will change, with the help of his “brothers and sisters” in the crowd.
“We need to make compassion a part of our political process, rather than just serving the most powerful,” he said. “We are unusually fortunate to have this public servant in office. I can’t believe our luck.”
While Taylor was full of appreciation for the campaign workers, the crowd was excited to hear his music.
“We’re exactly the right age to have grown up with his music,” said Erica Eisdorfer, who attended with her husband, David Deming, and has run phone banks for Obama out of her home in Carrboro.
But Taylor also appealed to the younger volunteers.
UNC sophomore Anna Noone, who grew up in Chapel Hill and has worked the phone bank and canvassed for Obama, said, “I crossed the James Taylor Bridge every day growing up.”
Born in Massachusetts, Taylor moved to Chapel Hill when he was 3 years old and attended Chapel Hill High School.
Vernetta Farrington of Chapel Hill, whose grandmother Effie Hairston was Taylor’s nanny growing up, was also present and looking forward to seeing Taylor. She volunteers every Tuesday calling voters to register and vote for Obama.
In 2008, Taylor performed five free concerts across North Carolina in support of Obama’s candidacy, appearing in Chapel Hill, Raleigh, Charlotte, Asheville and Wilmington.
Taylor performed at Obama’s inauguration in 2009, as well as a state dinner in the Rose Garden. Obama awarded Taylor the National Medal of Arts at the White House in 2011.
Taylor has also appeared on behalf of other Democratic candidates – he performed alongside the Dixie Chicks in 2004 in support of John Kerry’s presidential campaign.