Few musicians have had as substantial an impact on the evolution of American music as Paul Simon.  Personally, Simon has been an integral part of my personal musical journey.  Some of my earliest memories of music involve running through my mom’s Simon and Garfunkel records over and over.  The first thing you notice about Simon’s compositions are their delicate sonic beauty – they are almost universally unfailingly pleasant to the ear.  No doubt this is what first attracted me.  Of course, as you grow with these songs they reveal hidden depths.  Simon is a keen observer of humanity and he possesses a strong desire for balance in all things.  From his voice and phrasing you get the sense that he has made his personal experiences universal.  Somehow everything is going to be ok because we are all facing similar challenges and similar triumphs.  It is as though he understands that the world is just a little wrong – just a little absurd – and we are not crazy for thinking that we could make things better together. 

As a live performer Simon is incomparable.  I still maintain that of all the amazing things I have seen at Jazz Fest over the years, his 2001 performance stands alone.  Nothing in Simon’s catalog of songs ever remains static.  He is constantly producing new arrangements and new meanings from even his oldest material.  On Wednesday evening Simon will bring his farewell tour – Homeward Bound – to the Smoothie King Center.  The performance features a career spanning set list and has been garnering rave reviews.  There are just a few tickets left but I’m sure the evening will be well worth our time.  I’m sad to see such an august figure pull back from the touring circuit, but somehow I don’t think that such a creative spirit will remain silent for too terribly long.  It will be interesting to see what the next phase of his career becomes. 

Check out this recording of “Boy in the Bubble” from that epic Jazz Fest performance below.


To Do This Week

Tonight, Umphrey’s McGee is at the Joy.  Tomorrow, you can catch John “Papa” Gros Band at Tipitina’s.  Saturday, Flosstradamus is at The Metropolitan.  Sunday, catch Ggoolldd at Gasa.  Tuesday, Ariadne is at Gasa with Mouth.  Wednesday, Paul Simon brings his farewell tour to the Smoothie King Center.


To Listen This Week