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Albums Of The Week: Paul Simon | Seven Psalms

The folk icon's decade-long creative streak continues with an album-length suite of introspective & reflective acoustic works exploring love, faith, forgiveness and more.

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Paul Simon has consistently crafted some of the most influential music in the history of music — from his early classics, to the pioneering Graceland, right through to his previous collection of original material, 2016’s No. 1 album Stranger To Stranger. Now the veteran singer-songwriter takes another creative leap with his latest work Seven Psalms.

A step apart from anything Simon has released before, Seven Psalms defies categorisation. The record is a continuous 33-minute piece of music, a journey which consists of seven interlinked segments. It’s a record which establishes a meditative, almost hymnal ambience, with Paul’s vocals at the top of an acoustic arrangement. Predominantly performed by Paul, the record is seasoned with esoteric percussion instruments, choral elements from the Grammy-nominated British vocal ensemble Voces8, and a beautiful vocal appearance by Edie Brickell.

True to the origin of psalms as hymns meant to be sung rather than spoken, Seven Psalms reaches back to the very genesis of folk music: King David’s Psalms. The result is a quietly moving musical experience which uncovers a wealth of subtle details with every repeated listen. Lyrically, Paul’s philosophical musings also provide plenty for fans to unpack and reflect upon.

The record’s tone is complemented by its artwork, which features a closeup extract of Two Owls by the celebrated landscape artist Thomas Moran.

Seven Psalms is Simon’s first album project since releasing In The Blue Light in 2018. A collection of re-imaginings of the artist’s favourite deep cuts from his vast back catalogue, the album debuted in the UK Top 10. While Simon retired from touring in 2018, his surprise performance at last year’s Newport Jazz Festival proved to be one of the most memorable moments in the event’s history.

Produced by Simon and Kyle Crusham, Seven Psalms is comprised of the following seven interlinked movements: The Lord, Love Is Like A Braid, My Professional Opinion, Your Forgiveness, Trail Of Volcanoes, The Sacred Harp and Wait.