ARTIST OF THE MONTH: PAUL SIMON
September 1, 2018
With ‘In The Blue Light’ released this month, and with his final tour coming to a close, our Artist of the Month for September is perhaps the greatest contributor to the American Songbook, Paul Simon.
It’s often been said that a song’s greatness can be measured by whether or not it can be played simply on an acoustic guitar. And while there’s more than a kernel of truth to that particular yardstick, it only tells us part of the story. No, the real gauge for measuring the greatness of a song is whether it can be stripped down, re-assembled and still maintain its original impact.
This will hardly come as news for anyone lucky enough to have secured one of the hundreds of thousands of tickets that flew out of the door for Paul Simon’s farewell tour this year. This wasn’t a run-through of crowd pleasers and obvious moves by one of the most celebrated singer-songwriters of all time, but a show revealing an artist still willing to push himself – and, by extension – his audience with what can be done to existing material when approached from another angle.
Who can forget ‘America’’s transformation from its folk roots into a song that stood proudly with his homeland’s neo-classical tradition? Or ‘Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard’’s metamorphosis into full-blown, neo-Tropicália? And if you were mesmerized by these readings, then ‘Into The Blue Light’ will leave you captivated.
The premise for this 14th studio album is simple enough. Taking 10 deeper cuts from across the last 45 years, Paul Simon has worked with a variety of guest musicians including the New York-based instrumental chamber ensemble yMusic, jazz legend Wynton Marsalis, guitarist Bill Frisell, drummers Jack DeJohnette and Steve Gadd, The National’s Bryce Dessner and many more, and given them an entirely new twist.
“This album consists of songs that I thought were almost right, or were odd enough to be overlooked the first time around,” says Simon of ‘In The Blue Light’. “Re-doing arrangements, harmonic structures, and lyrics that didn’t make their meaning clear, gave me time to clarify in my own head what I wanted to say, or realize what I was thinking and make it more easily understood.”
The results are both stunning and reinvigorating. Working with yMusic, ‘Can’t Run But’ – originally on 1990’s ‘The Rhythm Of The Saints’ – is here reconfigured from its South American roots into something closer to home as it acknowledges the cultural impact of modernist classical composers such as Aaron Copland.
Similarly, and in tandem with his friend, Winton Marsalis, Paul Simon takes ‘Pigs, Sheep And Wolves’ from ‘You’re The One’ (2000) all the way back to its vernacular roots. Elsewhere, ‘How The Heart Approaches What It Yearns’ from 1980’s ‘One Trick Pony’ evokes the smoky, afterhours New York of a time long gone. And there are much more awaiting your attention.
In many respects, ‘In The Blue Light’ is the work of an artist coming full circle and returning home from a lifetime of travel and musical exploration. Not only is Paul Simon a songwriter of great talent and distinction, he’s also uniquely American and his considerable contributions to the Great American Songbook cannot be overstated.
With ‘In The Blue Light’, Paul Simon is to be found centre stage once more and the place where he’s always belonged.
Paul Simon – our Artist of the Month and one of the greatest authors of the American songbook – today releases ‘In The Blue Light’.Read more
With ‘In The Blue Light’ released this month, and with his final tour coming to a close, our Artist of the Month for September is perhaps the greatest contributor to the American Songbook, Paul Simon.Read more
Ten years since their rulebook-defying, multi-platinum eponymous debut, The Script are our Artists of the Month for August.Read more
With a new tour and a comprehensive set of vinyl reissues on the way, our Artist of the Month for July is cult alt. rock Glaswegian outfit Teenage Fanclub…Read more
As the former Kinks frontman turns his eyes back stateside on ‘Our Country: Americana Act II’, out June 29, we present Ray Davies, our Artist of the Month for June…Read more
As we revisit one of The Boss’ most urgent, powerful eras, our artist of the month for May is the one and only Bruce Springsteen.Read more
Far too prolific to have a single signature tune, ‘Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)’ is nonetheless the track our Artists of the Month, Eurythmics, are perhaps best known for. but it wasn’t the first or last song about the popular nocturnal hallucinations. Here’s our dreams top ten…Read more
As Paul Simon gears up to say goodbye at Hyde Park this summer, it’s worth considering his monumental journey.Read more
There are few bands that have not only come to define a decade, but also to transcend it, with music that’s inarguably timeless. Ladies and gentlemen, our Artists of the Month for March: Annie Lenox and Dave Stewart. Eurythmics.Read more
Legendary authors of countless Rock Classics and with brand new music surfacing shortly, our Artist of the month for February is the one and only ToTo…Read more
40 years on from perhaps his greatest masterpiece – and in the year that will see War of The Worlds return to UK stages as well as turntables worldwide – we’re celebrating the orchestral genius of Jeff Wayne.Read more
For teaching a generation that ridicule is nothing to be scared of. Ladies & Gentlemen. Our December Artist of the Month. Adam Ant.Read more
Joining forces with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the late Roy Orbison releases ‘A Love So Beautiful’, a re-scored collection of classics from his inimitable songbook. We couldn’t be prouder to name America’s Maestro our Artist of the Month.Read more
One of the most groundbreaking, inventive and entertaining artists of the modern era, George Michael was also one of a handful of stars to successfully walk the line from Pop Sensation to Critically Acclaimed Artist.
For these and countless other reasons, George Michael is our Artist of the Month.Read more
With the seminal ‘Through The Barricades’ celebrating its 30th anniversary this month, the peerless Spandau Ballet are our artists of the month for September. Plus you can win a a pair of tickets to Spandau Ballet’s Through the Barricades Remastered/Revisited documentary screening and live Q&A on 12th September at The Soho Hotel.Read more
This month, we join the world in celebrating the life and music of Elvis Presley. The King is our Artist of the Month.Read more
Join us as we look back on one of the most incredible careers in pop…Read more
As Foo Fighters prepare to headline one of the biggest stages of them all, we’re proud to crown Dave Grohl and co our Artist of the Month for June.Read more
With his ‘Americana’ album out now, our Artist of the Month is Kinks frontman and international treasure, Ray Davies…Read more
Is it really 10 years since the release of Manic Street Preachers’ eighth studio album and muscular return to form, ‘Send Away The Tigers’? The Manics are our Artist of the Month for April.Read more
As one of the most original, influential and culturally fascinating artists to have emerged in the 20th century, the man born Robert Allen Zimmerman in Duluth, Minnesota in 1941 has also proved to be one of its most divisive…Read More...
Dr John Cooper Clarke and The Stranglers’ Hugh Cornwell run down ‘This Time It’s Personal’ – out now – one track at a time…Read more
Affectionately known as ‘The Bard of Salford’, performance poet John Cooper Clarke’s career has spanned some 40 years…Read more
- Me and Julio dpwn by the school yardPaul Simon
- 50 ways to leave your loverPaul Simon
- AmericaSimon & Garfunkel
- GracelandPaul Simon
- Father and daughterPaul Simon
- and lots more...
In our new feature we look back at what was happening in the Official UK Albums Chart, just about 44 years agoRead more
A Run Down Of Buckley’s CoversRead more
Jeff Buckley is our Artist of the Month throughout March. This week we uncover 6 great videos that shed a new light on our hero.Read more
Take a look at Jeff Buckley’s musical influences…Read more
Watch the video for ‘I Know It’s Over’…Read more
Here are 4 rare and amazing performances from our Artist of the MonthRead more
Discover more about the Original Soundtrack…Read more
An intro to Janis Joplin’s biggest track and an insight into the 60’s with these 2 ultimate playlistsRead more
To celebrate the release of the film ‘Janis: Little Girl Blue’, Janis Joplin is our Artist of the Month for February.Read more
Listen to 3 tracks from the forthcoming Bootleg series now!Read more
This week in 1941, the extraordinary singer songwriter Paul Simon was born.Read more
Bob Dylan’s 5th album “Bringing It All Back Home” was released in 1965 and was half acoustic half electric. What’s the story behind this artwork?Read more
‘Bob Dylan – The Cutting Edge 1965-1966: The Bootleg Series Vol 12’ is a deluxe 6CD anthology that will be released on November 6th.Read more
Did you not get a chance to see him live in Cyprus Avenue earlier this month? Then we’ve got a surprise for you…Read more
Last week, we brought to you 4 ultimate playlists… This week we give you 3 new playlists to rediscover overarching themes from the Van Morrison catalogue.Read more
An intro to Van Morrison’s amazing catalogue with these 4 ultimate playlists.Read more
Stop everything you’re doing and join the club of very famous Van-atics!Read more
Discover Paul Young’s life in music, from his influences to favourite live shows…Read more
In the UK alone, Van Morrison has earned over 20 top 20 albums, including an astounding 13 which were top 10… Van Morrison is our artist of the month for September!Read more
Don’t miss out on Paul Young’s Top Tracks and Ultimate Setlist playlists…Read more
Paul Young is one of the 80s biggest stars. Let’s take a look back at his performances on Top of the Pops…Read more
Paul Young became one of the 80s biggest pop stars, but how many of these facts do you know?Read more
Federico tells us the story of Miles Davis, with 10 chosen tracks which form “the ultimate soundtrack to a large part of the 20th century”.Read more
There are many miles of love for Miles Davis’ recently released Bootleg 4 reissue…Read more
Take a look at some of our Father’s Day deals…Read more
Sadly the Foos won’t be playing Glastonbury this year, but here are our top 5 favourite videos of the band, including funny Dave Grohl moments…Read more
Time to revise all your classics before Glastonbury with the ultimate playlistRead more
They’ve been going for 20 years and headlining Glastonbury this month… How many of these facts did you know?Read more
The Foo Fighters are our artist of the month. Gearing up to headline Glastonbury, the band are set to have a great summer and have lots more to come.Read more
Big news from the Miles Davis camp…Read more
We’ve selected 5 videos you have to watch!Read more
Every month at Legacy HQ, we will be picking essential tracks from our Artist of the Month in this brand new playlist.Read more
Did you know our Artist of the Month turned his life around aged 32? Have you ever heard ‘Hallelujah’ in hebrew?Read more
As his new album ‘Can’t Forget: A Souvenir of the Grand Tour’ is released this month, we will be looking back at Leonard’s finest throughout the month of May.Read more
…with Paul Simon: The Ultimate CollectionRead more