Some news and notes from around:
- Album art for So Beautiful Or So What has been released, on Paul Simon’s website. We think it’s pretty nifty.
- Paul Simon debuted “Getting Ready for Christmas Day” on The Colbert Report last week; the performance included the extended sample of Rev. Gates’s sermon, as well as a video put together for the song (also available at Simon’s website). Simon discussed the song briefly with Colbert, though the interview was more awkward than revealing. It’s clear, though, that Simon is really proud of his work. Here’s the interview, and here’s the performance. As for the performance, it was pretty good; the band did a good job of replicating the track’s pulse, and the inclusion of the sample and some lovely percussion made for some enjoyable television. One weak point, I suppose, was Mark Stewart’s harmony vocals – usually solidly reliable, they just didn’t mesh well with Simon’s lead. He made up for it, though, with an excellent guitar tone on the solo.
- Roger Friedman, the showbiz columnist who tipped us to the move of Simon’s catalogue from Warner to Sony earlier this spring, reveals that Simon is already slated to appear on Saturday Night Live around the time of the new album’s release.
- Simon’s wife, the talented musician Edie Brickell, has two new projects coming out in the coming months. As the San Francisco Examiner notes, Brickell will release an eponymous solo CD in January (produced by Charlie Sexton, the excellent Austin guitarist who produced her previous Volcano and is a regular in Bob Dylan’s gunslinging touring band). Further, Brickell is one of the Gaddabouts, a group put together by legendeary drummer, (and longtime Paul Simon sideman – he came up with the marching-band pattern on “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover”) Steve Gadd. The group also features Pino Palladino, who played bass on the first two legs of the Simon & Garfunkel “Old Friends” tour in 2003 and 2004. See www.ediebrickell.com and www.thegaddabouts.com for more information and to sample some music.
- The City of New York has decided to name the 59th Street Bridge after former mayor Ed Koch. The bridge, which serves as the title of the Simon song better known as “Feelin’ Groovy,” is being renamed after the 86-year-old former mayor, who told the Daily News that he doesn’t expect the name change to catch on. Simon, for his part, offered to rename his song, pending a request from Koch (who introduced Simon & Garfunkel at their legendary 1981 Central Park concert).
- Lyrics to Simon’s classic “America” have popped up graffiti’d to structures in Saginaw, Michigan. The song famously name-checks the town as the singer describes his journey to find the American soul against a backdrop of national turmoil. Clearly, Simon’s lyrics resonate to this day.