Paul Simon‘s surprise July appearance at the Newport Folk Festival might be part of a larger return to music.
Sessions are on-going at New York’s Reservoir Studios for a new album that’s tentatively titled The Seven Psalms, according to Spin magazine. In a conversation with Malcolm Gladwell for the Miracle and Wonder audiobook series, Simon says a dream helped him rediscover his muse.
Barbara Fasano, a New York City cabaret singer who’s also recording at Reservoir, confirmed Simon’s presence after running into him in the studio’s communal kitchen. She just happened to be preparing to cover “Old Friends” from Simon and Garfunkel‘s 1968 studio album Bookends.
“I introduced myself and said I was sorry to interrupt, but we were actually about to record his song,” Fasano says in a Facebook post. “His face lit up and he was on his feet, walking into our studio.”
In a moment Fasano described as “crazy surreal,” Simon pulled out “the same guitar he’s been playing on his solo records for 50 years, while I sang along.” He “coached us on voicings and instrumentation” then hung out for nearly an hour, she added, before returning to his own work. “And then we laid down ‘Old Friends,’ now sprinkled with pixie dust by this American icon,” Fasano said.
Simon previously announced his retirement from both the studio and long-form tours. His final album of original material was thought to 2016’s No. 3 hit Stranger to Stranger. Simon later returned to some of his older material for 2018’s In the Blue Light.
“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 told Gladwell. At 80, he was less concerned with an artistic decline than with the ever-lengthening time he needed to reach the same level of artistry: “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.’”
A spokesman told Spin that no release date has been set for The Seven Psalms, and that no additional information is available as yet.
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