Right now, Paul Simon is in looking-back mode. He’s currently on a huge farewell tour, hitting all the big arenas one last time before going into touring retirement (though he says he might play the odd benefit here and there). And next week, he’ll release In The Blue Light, an album of new versions of his own older songs.
For the new album, Simon has said that he’s focused on “songs that I thought were almost right, or were odd enough to be overlooked the first time around.” So: No hits, no Simon & Garfunkel songs, nothing from his self-titled solo album or from Graceland. Instead, he’s reworked his own deep cuts, finding new places to push songs that were already plenty adventurous the first time around. And he’s working with an interesting group of collaborators, including avant-garde guitar veteran Bill Frisell, trad-jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, the National’s Bryce Dessner, and yMusic, the experimental string ensemble who joined Simon onstage at last year’s Eaux Claires festival.
We’ve already posted Simon’s new versions of “One Man’s Ceiling Is Another Man’s Floor,” “Can’t Run But,” and “Rene And Georgette Magritte With Their Dog After The War.” And right now, you can stream the entire new album at NPR.
In The Blue Light is out 9/7 on Sony Legacy.