Speak to anyone in their 50s about Carly Simon and their eyes flicker. It's like asking today's youth about Jay-Z or Radiohead; she's a musical powerhouse that changed the trajectory of boomer culture. Her life story is made for daytime TV, from her early rise in her hometown of New York City to her public love affair with James Taylor to her battles with her demons. Yet through it all, Carly Simon remains a beloved figure to so many who grew up with her in the '60s and '70s. Fast-forward to 2008 and Simon, who has more than 40 years in the business, is still putting out new material like This Kind of Love, released last month. Unlike her previous sound of award-winning pop heavyweights like "Let the River Run" and commercial hits like "You're So Vain" and "Nobody Does It Better," This Kind of Love is Simon's entrée into the world of Brazilian bossa nova and jazzy melodies, à la Gilberto Gil. The album's title tune is immediately transporting, the perfect soundtrack for a moody summer evening at an old world wine bar in Sao Paulo. The album also marks her first collection of original material since 2000. Meanwhile, her appearance in Miami marks a rare occasion. Unlike contemporaries such as Carole King and Joni Mitchell, Simon is something of a recluse who spends most of her time at home in Martha's Vineyard. In fact, previously, the closest she's ever come to performing in Miami was in Naples in 2005. But this Friday, she'll take the stage at the Gusman Theater downtown as part of a benefit concert for CHARLEE Homes for Children, a foster-care agency that takes care of a thousand abused and abandoned children in Miami-Dade County. Along for the ride will be her son, Ben Taylor, a musician himself who's been compared to guys like Jack Johnson and Ben Harper and has the flare of a hippie gone hip-hop.
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