Paul Simon – In the Blue Light

The new album In The Blue Light shines fresh perspectives on 10 of Paul Simon’s favorite (though perhaps less-familiar) songs from his unparalleled body of work. Discover new insight and energy in compositions like “Can’t Run But,” “Darling Lorraine,” “One Man’s Ceiling Is Another Man’s Floor” and “Questions For The Angels,” revisited here by Simon and a talented cast of musicians, including jazz icons Wynton Marsalis, Bill Frisell, Steve Gadd and Jack DeJohnette, as well as New York-based modern chamber sextet yMusic, currently accompanying Simon and his band on Homeward Bound – The Farewell Tour.

“This album consists of songs that I thought were almost right, or were odd enough to be overlooked the first time around,” he said in a statement. “Re-doing arrangements, harmonic structures, and lyrics that didn’t make their meaning clear, giving me time to clarify in my head what I wanted to say, or realize what I was thinking and make it more easily understood.”

This will be Simon’s 14th solo studio album, following 2016’s Stranger to Stranger.

Produced by Paul Simon and Roy Halee, In The Blue Light is available everywhere on Friday, September 7.

Paul Simon, Collaboration vs. Apartheid

I recall when I attended community college in 1972 that I had protested against apartheid in South Africa. We wrote a petition to Polaroid against the use of their instant cameras as the photography medium for black South African inter-country passports. I bitterly opposed the suppression of rights in that country. Eventually apartheid was abolished.

Paul Simon faced controversy for seemingly breaking the cultural boycott imposed by the rest of the world against South Africa because of its policy of apartheid. In addition, some critics viewed Graceland as an exploitive appropriation of their culture. Following its completion, Simon toured alongside South African musicians, combining the music of Graceland and their own music.

My interest in this period of Paul Simon’s discography was reawakened when I saw CBS Sunday Morning. I was overjoyed to see Paul Simon’s world music instrument collection.

I listened several times to the 25th anniversary remastering of Graceland and decided to dive deeper with the Paul Simon documentary, Paul Simon: Under African Skies which examines multiples sides of the controversy that occurred. It has great concert footage and helps us to see the true common bond music and friendship can achieve.


Paul Simon – Stranger to Stranger

Paul Simon’s new album, STRANGER TO STRANGER  to release on June 3rd, 2016.


Stranger to Stranger Track List

1. “The Werewolf”
2. “Wristband”
3. “The Clock”
4. “Street Angel”
5. “Stranger To Stranger”
6. “In A Parade”
7. “Proof Of Love”
8. “In the Garden Of Edie”
9. “The Riverbank”
10. “Cool Papa Bell”
11. “Insomniac’s Lullaby”

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Paul Simon, Under African Skies

Image via Wikipedia

I love how monumental Paul Simon’s Graceland recording has become in  cementing and furthering the ties of American popular music with the syncopated rhythms of South Africa. Paul Simon and the musicians of South Africa have forged an indelible common bond that is strengthened by the 25th anniversary  celebration of a very special concert and music recording experience in South Africa.

The story of the making of Graceland, and the controversy created when Paul Simon went to South Africa to record with local artists, is told in “Under African Skies,” the new full-length documentary by two-time Emmy and Peabody Award winning filmmaker Joe Berlinger (“Brother’s Keeper,” “Metallica: Some Kind of Monster,” the West Memphis Three/”Paradise Lost” trilogy) and and A&E IndieFilms.

I urge you to visit Paul Simon’s Graceland page here. Discover more about this wonderful achievement in music sociological and cultural circles.

Watch the official film trailer here. I can’t wait to witness this heartwarming, engaging film on the big screen!

Under African Skies film poster

Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M.- Simon & Garfunkel

Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M.
Image via Wikipedia

I learned about the poetry of Simon & Garfunkel when I attended high school. I had a very hip English teacher who played folk music for us in her class. We were taught to decipher and appreciate the poetic lyrics of Paul Simon in direct relationship to the exquisite voice of Art Garfunkel.

My English teacher was very enamored with the debut album by Simon & Garfunkel. I associate this recording with junior year when my music consciousness was raised above AM radio. I was about to enter the expanding universe of FM radio, where full album recordings enlightened the listener. This all took place in the fall of 1967, after the dust settled from the Summer of Love.

Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. is both the album title and the last song on the album.

Paul Simon, Set List, MGM Grand 5/29/11

Paul SimonSo Beautiful or So What Tour, May 29th, 2011

Foxwoods MGM Grand Theater

  • Superior band
  • Excellent percussion
  • Wonderful harmonic fusion

Set List
1. Boy in the Bubble
2. Dazzling Blue
3. Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover
4. So Beautiful or So What
5. Vietnam by Jimmy Cliff
6. Mother & Child Reunion
7. That Was Your Mother
8. Hearts and Bones
9. Mystery Train
10. Slip Slidin’ Away
11. Rewrite
12. Peace Like A River
13. The Obvious Child
14. The Only Living Boy in NY
15. Love is Eternal Sacred Light
16. Father and Daughter
17. Diamonds On the Soles of Her Shoes
18. Gumboots

19. Sounds of Silence
20. Kodachrome
21. Gone at Last
22. Here Comes the Sun
23. Late in the Evening

2nd Encore
24. Still Crazy After All These Years

Sent from my iPhone

Paul Simon 5/29/2011 Foxwoods MGM Grand

We’re getting pumped for the Paul Simon concert, Sunday night at Foxwoods Casino‘s MGM Grand Theater. Nice part its late in the evening and the next day is Memorial Day!

Here’s a video of Paul Simon playing “The Afterlife” from his new album, So Beautiful or So What. Just love the feel of this song and the variety of instruments used to accent it.

You got to fill out a form first, then you wait in the line….

A Renewed Paul Simon

Paul Simon has been showing up ever stronger on my music radar screen lately. I was enthralled to learn that he was doing a small venue tour this spring. I snapped up tickets for us to see him at Foxwoods Casino MGM Grand Theatre on May 29.

Paul Simon is readying for his new album release, So Beautiful or So What, it’s scheduled to drop on April 12th. His tour commences April 15th in Seattle, Washington. Paul Simon is scheduled to appear two nights in a row on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, April 6th and April 7th.  Bruce Springsteen and The Rolling Stones leveraged Jimmy Fallon’s show for their respective boxed set recordings.

Paul Simon is an artist on Hear Music, the joint music venture between Starbucks and Concord Music Group.

Produced by Phil Ramone and Paul Simon, with liner notes written by Elvis CostelloSo Beautiful or So What is one of the most highly anticipated albums of the year. Rolling Stone magazine recently declared it, “His best since Graceland,” and National Public Radio affirmed, “…his new music balances great poetry and pop. Paul Simon is a national treasure.” In their current issue, Filter Magazine calls the new album, “…a new masterpiece from the Picasso of music.” (This paragraph is courtesy of the Paul Simon Website).

Two tracks are available for listening from So Beautiful or So What. “Getting Ready for Christmas Day” and “The Afterlife”. They offer strong hints at what the rest of this indie record has in store for us. Paul Simon self-financed the recording sessions. I am openly receptive to his meticulous songwriting talent. I can’t wait to embrace the new sounds and experiences that await our senses.

Paul Simon’s solo recordings are the highlight of my music collection. Paul Simon, There Goes Rhymin Simon & Graceland embody some of the finest songs and melodies known to modern music. Something tells me So Beautiful or So What compliments and embellishes his work to a new nth degree.

World Music and Wesleyan University, Daily Post 2011 #8

“When I think back
On all the crap I learned in high school

It’s a wonder
I can think at all

And though my lack of education
Hasn’t hurt me none

I can read the writing on the wall

“Kodachrome”  – Lyrics by Paul Simon, Copyright 1972, Paul Simon Music

High school didn’t teach me very much. College was the real education, especially when I minored in music at the University of New Haven, from September 1972 – June 1974. I was exposed to audio experiences from music professors who were graduates of Wesleyan University‘s World Music program. Their knowledge of world music sounds, cultures and instruments expanded my horizons in ways I never imagined before.  I took courses on the music of the Far East, where we studied such countries as India, China, Tibet, Bali and Japan. We studied Black Music, diving deep into the eras of jazz, deciphering John Coltrane and gaining a full appreciation for Miles Davis. We studied the music of Africa and its relationship with American blues and jazz.  My favorite book we discussed and read was Savannah Syncopators: African retention in the blues by Paul Oliver . We also studied the music of Europe, especially the music of the gypsies and Django Reinhardt.

The term “world music” was coined in the 1960′s at Wesleyan University by ethnomusicologist Robert E. Brown.Robert E. Brown, who passed away in 2005, was one of the first students to receive a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from University of California Los Angeles. He was appointed assistant professor in Wesleyan’s Music Department in 1961 and joined the tenured ranks of the faculty in 1966. He introduced Carnatic (South Indian) music to Wesleyan.

Brown wrote that he: “… invented the term ‘world music’ … to avoid using … ‘ethnomusicology’ for a new graduate program we were cooking up, and to emphasize music and music performance as the core of the program, as opposed to musicological research.” (Robert Brown, letter to the editor, “His fault,” Folk Roots (208 Oct. 2000), 1-2.).

I also had Paul Simon to thank as he championed world music in exciting, innovative ways.  Simon’s relationship with world music began with  Bridge Over Troubled Water, which featured an Andean song called el Condor Pasa.  Then in 1972, when his first solo album Paul Simon was released he created the reggae influenced hit, “Mother and Child Reunion”. He continued on that path by adding layers, textures and world music influences by recording much of Graceland in South Africa.

Paul Simon continued to imbue world music cultures into his music, for example he moved on to the music of Brazil with The Rhythm of the Saints recording.

Another famous Wesleyan graduate, John Perry Barlow has worked with Gilberto Gil, Brazil’s Minister of Culture to create an online music archive to catalog all the music of Brazil. It is an open source initiative that I heartily embrace as it will make all the music available for free download.