Some Paul Simon covers that have been circulating recently:
Grizzly Bear, who performed at the Love in Hard Times: American Tunes suite of concerts in Brooklyn last year – “Graceland”
Deer Tick – “Still Crazy After All These Years”
John Boutte, Paul Sanchez & Leroy Jones – “American Tune”
“Graceland” is epic, electronic and atmospheric. Grizzly Bear slows the tempo down, much like Alison Krauss and Jerry Douglas did at the Gershwin Award concert, allowing the chord changes to take on a majestic air. An innovative and compelling take on a song that abandons its country/African roots without ridding it of its essence.
Deer Tick’s take on “Still Crazy” is more straightforward. While the performance is top-notch, the arrangement (think Van Morrison performing a straight-up cover) lacks a imagination; it hardly rivals Simon’s recorded or live versions of a song that has become something of an anthem.
The three New Orleans musicians offer a simple, soulful cover of another Simon classic, though it’s hard to innovate or improve a melody dreamt up by J.S. Bach.