At first glance, this isn’t the “Covers” album one might expect from a folk titan like James Taylor. Sure, he once scored a hit with an easy listening interpretation of Marvin Gaye’s “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You),” but to tackle Buddy Holly’s Bo Diddley-inspired “Not Fade Away,” Jr. Walker and the All-Stars’ “(I’m a) Road Runner,” Eddie Cochran’s rockabilly rumble “Summertime Blues” and George Jones’ honky-tonk standard “Why Baby Why”? Now that’s playing outside the box for Taylor for sure. He knows his limits, however, and doesn’t attempt to toughen up. Instead, he searches for the nuance, much like Lyle Lovett and his stylized approach, immersing himself in the melodic joys residing in these aggressive compositions. Taylor is in his most rewarding and comfortable territory when he jazzes up Jimmy Webb (and Glen Campbell’s) “Wichita Lineman,” emphasizes the romantic longing of the Drifters’ “On Broadway,” brings out the story-song behind John Anderson's “Seminole Wind” and retains the solemnity of Leonard Cohen’s “Suzanne.” Still, it’s a kick to hear Taylor take a rip at “Hound Dog,” a song so far from his own comfort zone that he turns its raw blues into nightclub jazz.