In this brand-new show, Liverpudlian singer-songwriter, Gary Edward Jones, not only recites the music of one of his idols, but also tell the unique story of Paul Simon combining visuals, stage design and, of course, his music.
For people of a certain age, the music of Paul Simon has cemented itself into the lives of many of an audience worldwide, as well as having an important place in music history.
A set comprising two mics, four MDF cut-outs of a bench, an ABC TV camera, an old gramophone and a reel to reel tape recorder set the scene of a recording studio. Warm and affable, Edward Jones, who bears some resemblance to his idol, weaves the songs of Simon (and Art Garfunkel) chronologically telling the stories behind the songs. Singing for the most part from only one of the mics, the other lone mic, gives a suggestion to the audience of the missing part of the jigsaw, his tempestuous relationship with his singer Art Garfunkel, during their time as ‘Tom & Jerry’ and later as Simon & Garfunkel.
Each song delivery requires a different guitar change, with each new guitar ably delivered on-stage by ‘the very important Anthony’, who weaves onto the stage seamlessly in his stage blacks at each song change.
Occasional video backdrops projected on the screen behind, reflect the themes of the song, including sepia images of Widnes, juxtaposed with images of a speeding train for ‘Homeward Bound’, whilst digitalised images of flowing water, accompany ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water‘. Far from being distracting, they enhance the enjoyment of the songs suggesting a visual interpretation of the auditory.
Edward Jones has a knack of giving us insight into Simon’s songs. We learn ‘The Sound of Silence‘ reflects the silence that US people took to reflect on the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the social injustices that had silenced a generation; and that ‘America’, a road trip taken across America by Simon and his then-girlfriend, Kathy Chitty, who inspired many of his songs, is a musical sequel to ‘Homeward Bound.’ Meanwhile, whilst die-hard fans might think that ‘The Boxer’ is about Bob Dylan, Edward Jones tells us that Paul Simon says it’s his story, learning that the lyrics are a metaphor “for how we can get bruised and battered without stepping into the boxing ring.”
The show finishes with Edward Jones changing to a small guitar as he moves over to the second mic and a metaphoric recording studio where he talks us through his take on creating Simon’s song, ‘Wristband’ “with a twist” (from the 2016 album, Stranger to Stranger), talking us through how a song can be built up using technology, adding layers of the rhythm, bass and finally the harmony.
A natural storyteller with Liverpudlian charm and warmth, it’s an hour of familiar Paul Simon songs, beautifully delivered and skillfully played by Edward Jones. Something About Simon will have audiences closing their eyes, and swaying and toe-tapping to the songs of a genius song-writer that has played such an important part in social and music history.