With Taylor in the audience, both Brooks and Rucker put on performances of some of the music icon’s most famous songs. Brooks gave his take on the song “Shower the People” off of Taylor’s 1976 album In the Pocket.
Brooks’ performance had a little more twang than Taylor’s version, making the song all his own, but still paying respects.
Darius Rucker’s tribute to Taylor was a medley of sorts. The three-time Grammy winner opened up his tribute with “Sweet Baby James,” one of Taylor’s most moving songs. Seated in front of a countryside backdrop, Rucker finished his tribute to Taylor with “Carolina in My Mind.”
A native to Charleston, S.C., it seemed fitting Rucker perform a song with such admiration for the Carolinas.
Following Brooks and Rucker’s solo performances, the two returned to the stage alongside Sheryl Crow to perform one last tribute. The trio put on a lively version of “How Sweet It Is” for Taylor and President Obama. Garth Brooks and Darius Rucker put on a proper show honoring Taylor above all else. When the performance had finished, everyone was up out of their seats, celebrating James Taylor’s music.
The Kennedy Center honorees for 2016 were James Taylor, Al Pacino, Mavis Staples, The Eagles, and Martha Argerich.