Review: Paul Simon – In The Blue Light
Paul Simon’s voice will always be a familiar comfort, but if the titles of some of the songs on his 14th studio album are familiar, too, that doesn’t mean you’ve heard them before. Not like this, anyway. Instead, he’s dug out lesser-known tracks from his catalogue and hired an impressive line-up of crack musicians to give them a dramatic overhaul. It’s not hard to understand why the idea must have felt so enticing.
If in doubt, head straight for his fresh take on One-Trick Pony’s How The Heart Approaches What It Yearns, in which the original’s lazy strings are replaced by Wynton Marsalis’ languid trumpet. Marsalis is present, too, on Pigs, Sheep And Wolves, with the down-home atmosphere of the 2000 version from You’re The One bizarrely but satisfyingly substituted by what sounds like a particularly cheerful colliery band.
Bill Frisell, meanwhile, brings his cultured guitar skills to bear in transforming the same album’s Love into a more successfully touching sentiment. But an inspired, sprightly version of Can’t Run But from 1990’s The Rhythm Of The Saints’ arranged by contemporary composer and member of The National, Bryce Dessner, and performed with New York chamber ensemble yMusic – recently heard collaborating with The Staves – proves most startling.
Written by Wyndham Wallace. Released on Legacy Recordings.