- 19 May 23
Still rhymin' after all these years...
For his fifteenth solo album, Paul Simon brings a hymnal twist to Seven Psalms. An unbroken 33-minute sequence of acoustic guitar, it comprises seven thematically-connected sections, dressed up in their Sabbath best, even if it’s not always easy to spot the joins.
The work sets off with tolling bells, Mason Williams flourishes, and that unmistakeable Simon vocal and guitar style. With almost all the instruments played by himself, it can’t help coming on like an acoustic Mike Oldfield. Never the most raucous of performers, the format suits Simon’s delicate approach.
Lyrically it opens with musings on ‘The Lord’, before the pace picks up for the ‘Love Is Like A Braid’ segment, which includes a bluesy groove and husky harmonica. Simon’s ex-New Bohemians wife, Edie Brickell, injects contrasting vocal parts into ‘The Sacred Harp’ and ‘Wait’, while other guests include jazz giant Wynton Marsalis and VOCES8, a choral group from the UK.
Seven Psalms displays all the musical nous we’d expect from a seasoned performer like Paul Simon, who consistently seeks new musical horizons. It’s a relatively bold venture, and no less welcome for that. But the nature of the record means that we won’t be humming it like ‘You Can Call Me Al’..
Listen: ‘Love Is Like A Braid’
Out now via Sony Music Legacy. Listen here.