Royal Oak Mayor Jim Ellison told approximately 150 grassroots supporters of President Barack Obama that he shared a few things in common with five-time Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter James Taylor – other than the same first name.
"We're both old white men that love Obama," Ellison said. "And, I am pretty sure that these old white men don't talk to empty chairs."
Obama supporters crammed into a space at 811 N. Main, which was once the ballroom of the Arthur Murray Dance Studio, to see Taylor who is fresh off his performance at the Democratic National Convention in his home state of North Carolina. The singer delivered two songs.
"I am so happy to be in a room with people who are willing to put their time and energy on the line for this fantastic president," said Taylor sporting a baseball cap, glasses and an Obama 2012 campaign button.
The crowd joined in as Taylor sang Carole King's "You've Got a Friend." (King was in Royal Oak four years ago at the in support of Obama.) Taylor's wife, Kim, joined the music legend on stage for one song before Taylor signed autographs for campaign workers.
Kristen and Ryan Blankenship, of Royal Oak, brought their children Kaitlyn, 7, and Luke, 4, to see the 64-year-old singer.
"The last time I saw James Taylor I was pregnant with Kaitlyn," said Kristen, who snapped a photo of Taylor with her 7-year-old daughter. "She's heard him live before - sort of - but I wanted her to finally see him in person.”
The Blankenships, like so many others in the crowd, heard about Taylor’s stop at the last minute and could not believe their good fortune to see the singer in such an intimate setting.
Much of the crowd got to work knocking on doors and canvassing their neighborhoods after the performance. Taylor promised to think of them the whole time. "It does my heart good," he said.
Next up for Taylor was another stop in Michigan before heading to Chicago and Nashville, he said.