Simon to mark touring retirement with album
NEW YORK, July 15, (Agencies): Folk rock legend Paul Simon has announced an album with fresh takes on previously released songs as he prepares to retire from touring.
The former half of Simon and Garfunkel, who pioneered world music fusion in the 1980s, previously said that he will stop touring after a Sept 22 concert at Forest Hills Stadium in the New York borough of Queens, where he grew up.
Preparing for his live finale, Simon said he will on Sept 7 release a 14th solo studio album, “In the Blue Light,” in which collaborators joining him to reinterpret his songs.
“It’s an unusual occurrence for an artist to have the opportunity to revisit earlier works and rethink them; to modify, even completely change parts of the originals,” Simon, 76, writes in the liner notes, according to a statement announcing the album.
“I hope the listener will find these new versions of old songs refreshed, like a new coat of paint on the walls of an old family home.”
The album will not feature his best-known hits such as “You Can Call Me Al” or “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard.”
Instead it will emphasize lesser-known tracks such as the surrealist-inspired “Rene and Georgette Magritte With Their Dog After the War.”
Star guests will include the iconic jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis on “How the Heart Approaches What It Yearns” and “…, Sheep and Wolves” as well as Bryce Dessner, the composer and guitarist of indie rockers The National who arranged a new take of “Can’t Run But,” Simon’s 1990 song about the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.
“Can’t Run But” appeared on “The Rhythm of the Saints,” in which Simon incorporated the sounds of Brazil. The album followed his career-reviving 1986 album “Graceland,” in which Simon found a new voice by working with South African musicians.
“This album consists of songs that I thought were almost right, or were odd enough to be overlooked the first time around,” Simon said in a statement. “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.”
Musicians joining Simon for the re-interpretations include trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, guitarist Bill Frisell, and drummers Jack DeJohnette and Steve Gadd, as well as the chamber ensemble sextet Music, who are performing with on tour.
The songs originally appeared on the albums “There Goes Rhymin’ Simon” (1973), “Still Crazy After All These Years” (1975), “One-Trick Pony” (1980), “Hearts and Bones” (1983), “The Rhythm of the Saints” (1990), “You’re the One” (2000) and “So Beautiful Or So What” (2011).
Simon explains in the album’s liner notes, “It’s an unusual occurrence for an artist to have the opportunity to revisit earlier works and re-think them; to modify, even completely change parts of the originals.
“Happily, this opportunity also gave me the gift of playing with an extraordinary group of musicians, most of whom I hadn’t recorded with before. I hope the listener will find these new versions of old songs refreshed, like a new coat of paint on the walls of an old family home.”
The family of Tom Petty on Wednesday released a previously unheard song by the late rocker as a preview of a box set full of new discoveries.
“Keep A Little Soul” — accompanied by a video created of archived concert footage and personal videos — is true to Petty’s classic style, driven by a guitar that he plays at hard-rock volumes, but is rooted in the country and blues of the US South.
Petty’s family said it uncovered the song from tapes of the sessions in which he recorded “Long After Dark,” his 1982 album notable for his rare flirtation with the synthesizers then being popularized by the New Wave movement.
The song will appear on “An American Treasure,” a four-CD set coming out on Sept 28 that features dozens of entirely new tracks or alternate and live versions of Petty’s songs.
His daughter, Adria Petty, and widow, Dana Petty, said that the box set spanned all 40 years of his career and that they expected more new music in the future.
Petty “accumulated a wealth of unreleased music in his vaults, and we have collectively uncovered one gem after another that will keep us all listening and discovering new facets of Tom’s talent for many years to come,” they said in a statement.
The box set was apparently designed with serious fans in mind and includes few of Petty’s best-known hits. It features a live version of “I Won’t Back Down” but not “Free Fallin’,” “Runnin’ Down a Dream,” “Learning to Fly” or “Don’t Come Around Here No More.”
Petty, a 66-year-old Florida native whose catchy melodies belied his dark storytelling, died from an accidental overdose of drugs including opioid painkillers.
Petty, who had just completed a tour celebrating four decades with his band The Heartbreakers, had been suffering pain from a fractured hip.
His death came amid an epidemic in the United States of painkiller addiction.
As announced on SiriusXM yesterday, on Sept 28, Reprise Records will release “An American Treasure” — a career-spanning Petty box set containing dozens of previously unreleased recordings, alternate versions of classic songs, rarities, historic live performances and deep tracks. The set marks the first release of Tom Petty music since the artist’s passing in October 2017.
The first single from the set is “Keep A Little Soul,” a previously unreleased recording from 1982 sessions that resulted in Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers’ album, “Long After Dark.”
According to the announcement on a redesigned Petty website, Tom’s daughter, Adria, and his wife, Dana, were the primary catalysts for the commission, creation and release of “An American Treasure.” Both serve as the project’s Executive Producers, and, together with Tom’s bandmates of 45 years, Heartbreakers Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench, and his studio collaborator, Ryan Ulyate, curated the box set’s track list
“Everyone involved in this project chose each track with tremendous care and deep respect for the body of work Tom Petty created over the course of 40 years,” Adria and Dana said. “He also accumulated a wealth of unreleased music in his vaults, and we have collectively uncovered one gem after another that will keep us all listening and discovering new facets of Tom’s talent for many years to come. We can’t wait to share with Tom’s fans this musical portrait of an artist who deeply affected our culture and indelibly touched the lives of fans the world over.”
The custom cover artwork for “An American Treasure” was created by American artist Shepard Fairey from an image of Petty by photographer Mark Seliger.
The set will be released in multiple formats:
“An American Treasure: Deluxe Edition” — A 4-CD set that features all 60 tracks, plus a 52-page booklet with rare and previously unseen photographs of Tom, his bandmates, family and friends. The booklet also features detailed track-by-track liner notes by noted journalist and Tom Petty aficionado Bud Scoppa, who drew upon his previous interviews with Tom and new conversations with Campbell, Tench and Ulyate, as well as Adria and Dana.
“An American Treasure: Super Deluxe Limited Edition” — A 4-CD set that features all 60 tracks and an 84-page hardbound book expanded from the Deluxe Edition to include many additional photographs and an essay by renowned author Nicholas Dawidoff – written especially for An American Treasure – that speaks to Tom Petty’s presence in our lives and influence on our culture for more than 40 years. This special package also includes a newly-created lithograph of Shepard Fairey’s cover artwork, as well as custom reproductions of Tom Petty’s handwritten lyrics to four songs featured in this collection and a numbered certificate of authenticity.
“An American Treasure: Vinyl Edition” — A 6-LP set that features all 60 tracks and a 48-page booklet containing all of the photographic and editorial elements found in the CD Deluxe Edition. This set also includes the Nicholas Dawidoff essay. This special Vinyl Edition will be released on Nov 23, but is available for pre-order now.
“An American Treasure: Standard Edition” —A 2-CD set that features 26 career spanning tracks chosen from the Deluxe editions, as well as Bud Scoppa’s detailed track-by-track.