Simon drew praise from another fellow musician, Elvis Costello, whom he gave an early copy of the disc after singing at a benefit with Costello’s wife, Diana Krall. Simon quickly prevailed upon Costello to write liner notes for the disc.
“That’ll teach him to keep his mouth shut,” Simon joked.
Simon is embarking on a spring concert tour on Friday in Seattle that will take him to smaller theaters than he has in the past, even to some clubs. He intends to shake things up: Instead of a greatest hits show, Simon wants to play much of the new album, some covers by Jimmy Cliff and Chet Atkins, and dig into his catalogue for songs he doesn’t perform often. He mentioned “Peace Like a River,” a 1971 song he doesn’t remember ever performing in concert.
Like many older artists, he’s interested in seeing how his music will be received in the marketplace at a time when the music industry has imploded.
“Some part of me says that if you make something that’s interesting enough, people will find it,” he said. “Maybe not in the numbers you once had, but enough so that you don’t feel like you’re irrelevant as a contributor to the culture.”
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