Time, peaceful as a hurricane eye

This year, the Library of Congress has instituted a new cultural award, The Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. The prize “celebrates the work of an artist whose career reflects lifetime achievement in promoting song as a vehicle of musical expression and cultural understanding”. The distinction is, of course, named for George and Ira, and the winner is expected to “exemplify the standard of excellence associated with the Gershwins”.

RhyminSimonFor the inaugural year, LOC has decided to award the prize to Paul Simon. And a better choice I could not have imagined. Simon’s work is breathtaking in its scope and originality. His melodies, especially his more recent works, often have unexpected construction and harmonies and range from the exquisitely complex to the achingly simple.

For me, though, the real joy in Simon’s music is his utterly fantastic, evocative lyrics. Sometimes a single line can create an immediate and powerful image in my mind. You would be hard-pressed to find finer poetry in America today. I could rhapsodize endlessly, but I think I’ll just share a few of my favorite morsels instead.

The Mississippi Delta was shining like a National guitar.  Graceland

I have squandered my resistance for a pocket full of mumbles,
Such are promises.
The Boxer

Effortless music from the Cameroons,
The spinning darkness of her hair,
A conversation in a crowded room going nowhere.
The open palm of desire
Wants everything.

Further to Fly

A teardrop consists of electrolytes and salt.
The chemistry of crying
Is not concerned with blame or fault.

Sure Don’t Feel Like Love

There is a moment, a chip in time,
When leaving home is the lesser crime.

Another Galaxy

For information about the Gershwin Prize, visit LOC

For more info about the award going to Paul Simon, visit the Washington Post

Now hie you to your retailer of choice and get Rhythm of the Saints or You’re the One or Surprise. You won’t be sorry. You can trust me and the LOC.


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