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Is Paul Simon Recording A New Album Despite His Retirement?

Paul Simon
Paul Simon in the studio (photo courtesy of Barbara Fasano)

Last year, Paul Simon announced his retirement. “After I finished the album “Stranger to Stranger,” it was like, literally a click that said, ‘I’m done. I think I’m done,’” Simon recalled in an excerpt of the audio biography, “Miracle and Wonder: Conversations with Paul Simon” with Malcolm Gladwell. “I said, ‘I don’t think that I can do this any better than I’m doing it right now. I think I can do it just as well, but it takes me three years typically to make these kinds of albums. And since I don’t think I can make an album any better than I’m making it now, I think I’d rather spend my three years traveling.’”

This sounded quite definitive, he was done. After a farewell tour in 2018, the 80-year-old singer-songwriter seemed to have put a definitive stop to his career. However, he recently made a few appearances here and there. Last July, he performed at the Newport Folk Festival where he joined Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats onstage for “Graceland” and three other songs, marking Simon’s first-ever appearance at the legendary festival. I also had the chance to see Simon during a Grammy Salute at the Pantages Theater in April.

He may not have said his last word after all. Despite originating from a Facebook post by Barbara Fasano, this seems to be reliable information. A few days ago, Fasano, a resident artist at New York’s legendary Birdland Jazz Club, posted the story below, accompanied by a few photos:

“Here’s how it happened: Eric, Sean, Vito, & I are at Reservoir Studios this week making our new CD. & yes, that’s Paul Simon, who is making HIS new record in Studio B. We had laid down 4 tracks & were about to record OLD FRIENDS. So how could I resist? Around 4:00, there was Mr. Simon having lunch in the communal kitchen, & I introduced myself & said I was sorry to interrupt, but we were actually about to record his song. His face lit up & he was on his feet, walking into our studio. Everyone got introduced & Paul Simon pulled out his guitar & coached us on voicings & instrumentation. In a crazy surreal moment, he began to play OLD FRIENDS on the same guitar he’s been playing on his solo records for 50 years, while I sang along. He stayed with us for nearly an hour. And then we laid down OLD FRIENDS, now sprinkled with pixie dust by this American icon.”

This is a nice story, but, of course, the bombshell is that Simon “is making HIS new record in Studio B.” After announcing he was done with making music? Few people seem to have picked up the news except for this Music Times, and Spin magazine, but there’s nothing official. The possible title of the album could be “The Seven Psalms.”

I completely understand retiring from touring, I still don’t comprehend how the Rolling Stones and McCartney still manage to play all these giant stadium concerts at their age, but they are probably freaks of nature. However, making albums is different, and Simon can take all the time he wants, as he has always done it. In the pictures posted by Barbara Fasano, Paul appears to be in great shape, and in good spirit, so if he still finds inspiration, fans will certainly rejoice at the idea of a new album.

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