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Paul Simon's 'So Beautiful or So What' Contains Mix of Musical Styles

Paul Simon

Pop legend Paul Simon recently released his first new album in five years. Simon’s new album, So Beautiful or So What contains a mix of folk, blues, Afropop, South Indian rhythms and even a dash of bluegrass music.

Simon co-produced the album with innovative South African-born producer Phil Ramone, and refers to his new project as “the best work I’ve done in 20 years.” Rolling Stone magazine agreed, calling the collection “his best since ‘Graceland.’” Elvis Costello wrote in the liner notes, “This remarkable, thoughtful, often joyful record deserves to be recognized as among Paul Simon’s very finest achievements.”

Paul Simon's "So Beautiful Or So What" CD
Paul Simon's "So Beautiful Or So What" CD

“Dazzling Blue” is one of two tracks Simon recorded with the award-winning bluegrass band Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver.

For the first time in his career, Simon used samples on a few of the tracks. He incorporated harmonies by the Golden Gate Jubilee Quartet, a harmonica solo by blues great Sonny Terry and pieces of a 1941 church sermon read by Reverend J.M. Gates.

Simon is supporting the album with a sold-out North America theater tour. He’ll also perform several smaller club dates in some of the cities. Future plans include recording a duets album with his wife of 19 years, singer-songwriter Edie Brickell. Simon also hopes to reunite with his longtime musical partner Art Garfunkel for a tour later this year. Simon & Garfunkel’s 2010 tour was canceled after Art suffered vocal chord paralysis.