Paul Simon Returns with New Album ‘Seven Psalms,’ Shares “Making-Of” Trailer

At 81, Paul Simon is still crafting music that inspires him and weaves into an already intricate book of songs throughout his nearly 60 years. His latest offering is the forthcoming composition, Seven Psalms, out May 19.

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Starting with “The Lord” and closing on “Wait,” the seven-track, 33-minute album was intended to be listened to as one continuous piece and was recorded entirely on acoustic instruments with a majority performed by Simon.

Set mostly around Simon’s vocals and guitar, the hymnals are also interlaced with other acoustic instruments, along with strings, a chorus of voices from the British vocal ensemble VOCES8, and singer/songwriter Edie Brickell. The album is also complemented by a portion of artist Thomas Moran’s 1917 landscape painting “Two Owls” as the cover art.

“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,'” reads a descriptor of the album. “The result is a quietly moving musical experience which uncovers a wealth of subtle details with every repeated listen. A step apart from anything Paul Simon has released before, Seven Psalms defies categorization.” 

Produced by Simon and Kyle Crusham, Seven Psalms is the first piece of new music from Simon since In the Blue Light in 2018.

A 12-time Grammy winner, Simon was honored on Homeward Bound: A Grammy Salute to the Songs of Paul Simon, a televised concert on Dec. 21, 2022. The show included performances by Stevie WonderSting, Brad Paisley, Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood, Rhiannon Giddens, Eric Church, The Bangles’ Susanna Hoffs, and the Jonas Brothers, among many others.

“I don’t see large themes that span my songwriting career unless it’s the story of my life,” said Simon in a 2011 interview with American Songwriter. “There are the usual song subjects: love songs, family, social commentary, etc. And, of course, the changing perspective of aging. I think you could look at my work as divided into three distinct periods: Simon and Garfunkel, pre-‘Graceland’ solo albums, and ‘Graceland’ to the present.”

Elaborating on his songwriting, Simon added, “I spend more time writing music than writing words. The music always precedes the words. The words often come from the sound of the music and eventually evolve into coherent thoughts—or incoherent thoughts. Rhythm plays a crucial part in the lyric-making as well. It’s like a puzzle to find the right words to express what the music is saying.”

Seven Psalms Track List:

1. “The Lord”
2. “Love Is Like A Braid”
3. “My Professional Opinion”
4. “Your Forgiveness”
5. “Trail of Volcanoes”
6. “The Sacred Harp”
7. “Wait”

Photo: Ian Gavan/Getty Images

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John Lennon being interviewed by journalist Steve Turner of Beat Instrumental magazine, Apple Records, London, 19th July 1971.

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