Paul Simon to roll out new album of fresh takes of his songs

US singer Paul Simon performing in Barakaldo, Spain. He is set to release new versions of previous hits in an upcoming album as he prepares to retire from touring.
US singer Paul Simon performing in Barakaldo, Spain. He is set to release new versions of previous hits in an upcoming album as he prepares to retire from touring.PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (AFP) - Folk rock legend Paul Simon has announced an album with new versions of previously released songs as he prepares to retire from touring.

The former half of Simon and Garfunkel, who pioneered world music fusion in the 1980s, will stop touring after a Sept 22 concert in the New York borough of Queens, where he grew up.

Preparing for his live finale, Simon said he will on Sept 7 release a 14th solo studio album, In The Blue Light, in which collaborators join him to reinterpret his songs.

"It's an unusual occurrence for an artist to have the opportunity to revisit earlier works and rethink them; to modify, even completely change parts of the originals," Simon, 76, writes in the liner notes.

"I hope the listener will find these new versions of old songs refreshed, like a new coat of paint on the walls of an old family home."

The album will not feature his hits such as You Can Call Me Al or Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard.

Instead, it will emphasise lesser-known tracks such as the surrealist-inspired Rene And Georgette Magritte With Their Dog After The War.

Star guests will include iconic jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and Bryce Dessner, composer and guitarist of indie rockers The National.