Touring with his 15th studio album, Seven Psalms, may not be an option for Paul Simon.
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The 81-year-old musician’s health suddenly took a turn, when he suffered unexpected hearing loss. While speaking with The Times, Simon revealed that his current condition made him question future plans.
“Quite suddenly, I lost most of the hearing in my left ear, and nobody has an explanation for it,” explained Simon. “So, everything became more difficult.”
Simon said he didn’t worry too much when his hearing began to dwindle. He thought, “It would pass. It would repair itself.” His hearing remained the same and hasn’t improved since. Simon admitted he felt a sense of “frustration and annoyance” towards his lack of hearing.
Although his health is declining, the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer has decided to see the silver lining in the situation. He told the publication that he’s been debating on stepping back from touring for quite some time.
“The songs of mine that I don’t want to sing live, I don’t sing them,” shared Simon. “Sometimes there are songs I like, and then at a certain point in a tour, I’ll say, ‘What the fuck are you doing, Paul?’ Quite often, that would come during ‘You Can Call Me Al.’ I’d think, ‘What are you doing? You’re like a Paul Simon cover band. You should get off the road, go home.'”
It’s been five years since Simon was on the road. In 2018, the award-winning musician embarked on his Homeward Bound – The Farewell Tour. The hitmaker stopped at legendary venues across North America and traveled to Europe for his final hurrah.
Following the critically acclaimed tour, Simon caught a life-threatening case of COVID-19.
“Boy, have I been beaten up in these last couple of years,” he recalled.
The “Graceland” singer dropped his acoustic-soaked album, Seven Psalms, on May 19. The seven-track collection features the faith-centric ballad “The Lord,” reflective melody “Your Forgiveness,” “The Sacred Harp,” and eye-opening track “Wait.”
“It’s a spooky thing to be writing something and just be thinking, ‘Oh, this is what the song needs,” said Simon of “Wait,” which explores life after death. “And then it’s, ‘By the way, this is about you. You’re actually the subject of this.’ It’s just the age we’re at. Gordon Lightfoot just passed away. Jeff Beck too. My generation’s time is up.”
Seven Psalms follows his 2018 collection, In the Blue Light.
Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images