Happy Birthday Paul Simon: Your music transcends time and continues to inspire

By Mark A. Leon

Many times of in our lives we hit a wall, a moment of weakness and vulnerability or a state of temporary depression or loneliness. Yet somehow we recover. We find something of comfort to take us back to that place of happiness or contentment. It is those non-material values that we lock away in the memory box in our heads that we reserve for those specific moments.

Life moves fast so taking it in can be overwhelming. I have a little habit or game I play when I take a road trip. I bring a pad and write down all the weird, unusual, funny, sad, sentimental or just bizarre things or events during the trip. After I return home, we read the list and reflect on truly how amazing that adventure was instead of summarizing it to ten hours on the road and a few statues and museums. Life is everywhere. It is the farms and cows on the side of the road in Indiana, the amazing homemade chili at a road side diner in Wyoming, it is the first view of the Chicago skyline, it is the desert ride from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and seeing all the things that are on the cover of the Sheryl Crow CD, the hundreds of billboards for “South of the Border” (that end up being more exciting than the site), the over friendly locals in the south, smell of dew on a cold Minnesota morning or a warm rainfall in Seattle.

Wow, I managed to get off on a tangent without actually initially getting to my point. That is impressive.

One of my boxed memories that puts me back in my good place is American Tune. A newly discovered classic by Paul Simon that takes a very personal look at his life and expands it out to the unimaginable depth and magnitude of our being. It is a song that when you close your eyes you feel something very strong and individualized within you.

I want to share one of my simple inspirations with you:

American Tune – By Paul Simon

Many’s the time I’ve been mistaken
And many times confused
Yes, and I’ve often felt forsaken
And certainly misused
Oh, but I’m all right, I’m all right
I’m just weary to my bones
Still, you don’t expect to be
Bright and bon vivant
So far away from home, so far away from home

And I don’t know a soul who’s not been battered
I don’t have a friend who feels at ease
I don’t know a dream that’s not been shattered
or driven to its knees
but it’s all right, it’s all right
for we lived so well so long
Still, when I think of the
road we’re traveling on
I wonder what’s gone wrong
I can’t help it, I wonder what’s gone wrong

And I dreamed I was dying
I dreamed that my soul rose unexpectedly
And looking back down at me
Smiled reassuringly
And I dreamed I was flying
And high up above my eyes could clearly see
The Statue of Liberty
Sailing away to sea
And I dreamed I was crying

We come on the ship they call the Mayflower
We come on the ship that sailed the moon
We come in the age’s most uncertain hours
and sing an American tune
Oh, and it’s alright, it’s all right, it’s all right
You can’t be forever blessed
Still, tomorrow’s going to be another working day
And I’m trying to get some rest
That’s all I’m trying to get some rest

I continue to think back fondly of the time my two brothers and I secretly stalked Paul Simon as he walked in mid town Manhattan with his tweed jacket and hat.? It was one of the full bonding moments I have shared with my brothers.? It goes without saying that sharing a live performance in Central Park in 1991 with 750,000 friends will stay with me forever.

Happy Birthday Paul Simon.? From all your fans, we thank you for six decades of thought, inspiration and spiritual awakening.

Your music transcends time and will continue to influence for generations to come.

From Graceland to Charleston: Pour House Brings The Music of Paul Simon to Life

pour3By Mark A. Leon

Music is forever; music should grow and mature with you, following you right on up until you die.– Paul Simon

One Band; Ten Members; One night; All Paul Simon

“The way the camera follows us in slo-mo” showered through the microphone at 9:50 PM on Wednesday night as ten musicians banded together to pay homage to the legendary Paul Simon.? From the first note of Boy in the Bubble to the final encore and reprise of Call me Al at 12:45 PM, the night was filled with a collaborative tribute to the man who has donned us with iconic, thought provoking and get up and dance lyrics and music for over 50 years.

Paul Simon has evolved and re-defined his music over the years from the harsh brutal streets of New York with a comforting sense of home to the struggles of Africa.? The pure honesty in his lyrics have given generations fuel for thought and change.

The first set was a unique concept bringing the entire Graceland album to life from The Boy in the Bubble to All Around the World (Or The Myth of Fingerprints).? Each musician, including some special guests, lent their vocals to some of their personal favorites.? The crowd was won over immediately and maintained a level of energy well into Thursday morning.

The second set brought us back to our familiar classics including Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard, Still Crazy After All These Years, 50 Ways to Leave your Lover and Obvious Child.

The final two performances of the act took us down a sentimental path with Mother and Child Reunion and Slip Slidin’ Away.

As the words, “you know the nearer your destination, the more you’re slip slidin’ away” came from the stage, we observed fans swaying, eyes closed absorbing the power of a song that defines the notion of lost opportunity and love.? It was a poignant way to end the set.

The band did return for one final reprise of Call Me Al to showcase the individual instrumental talents of these fine musicians that came together for this tribute.? The ensemble included guitar, accordion, symbols, drums, keyboards, base, bongos, trombone and saxophone.? Each member of that band brought a tremendous amount of talent and a truly spectacular tribute to Mr. Paul Simon.

Throughout the concert, the Pour House complimented the music with strobe lighting and images of Paul Simon and pictures related to the mood of the songs.

During a musicians life, to be recognized with rewards and honors is a beautiful symbol of your achievements, but when fellow musicians pay homage to the embodiment of your life’s work, there are no words to define the importance of such an act.

Tonight, was a memorable act of kindness from the musicians of Charleston to the great Paul Simon.