Paul Simon Project

PAUL SIMON PROJECT
An Irish tribute to a great songwriter & musician

Ailie Blunnie // Keith Burke // Órlaith De Burca // Marco Francescangeli // Paj // Josh Johnston // Carol Keogh // SJ McArdle // Rob Molumby // Sive // Gillian Tuite // Jane Willow

    1. America – Carol Keogh (19th January 2019)
    2. April Come She Will – Paj (19th January 2019)
    3. Rene And Georgette Magritte (With Their Dog After The War) – Gillian Tuite (5th May 2019)
    4. Still Crazy After All These Years – Rob Molumby (5th May 2019)
    5. You Can Call Me Al – Ailie Blunnie (19th January 2019)
    6. Slip Slidin’ Away – Adam Fleming (5th May 2019)
    7. Kathy’s Song – Jane Willow (5th May 2019)
    8. The Boy In The Bubble – SJ McArdle (19th January 2019)
    9. Feelin’ Groovy (The 59th Street Bridge Song) – Keith Burke (11th January 2020)
    10. Old Friends / Bookends Theme – Órlaith De Burca (11th January 2020)

The brainchild of Dublin pianist and songwriter Josh Johnston, the Paul Simon Project was born of a desire to toast the man and the music he has created.

In January 2019, five of Ireland’s finest singer-songwriters and two musician friends were invited to Josh’s house in Dublin on a cold winter’s day. It was an afternoon of intense social and musical activity where, after a light lunch, the eight musicians set about arranging, rehearsing and performing six Paul Simon classics from across his career. At 6pm, they were joined by director of photography Alan Rogers who videoed each song in turn.  It was so much fun that he decided to do it again and in May, he was joined for the second installment by a mix of returning musicians and new faces. A third session was recorded in January 2020.

This meeting of musical minds, while also being fantastic fun, primarily pays homage to a songwriter who has provided musical company to three generations of families growing up. Paul Simon has recently retired from live performance with sixty-five years in the music industry to his credit. On that basis, we felt it was timely to tip the hat and thank him for the gift of his music.  (The session was so successful that some of the group did it again in May but more of that later).

Paul Simon’s songs songs have formed the soundtrack to many lives and continue to be performed and re-interpreted by himself on stage and on his recent album In The Blue Light, as well as in cover versions in increasing quantities.

Over the course of 2019, the Paul Simon Project will gift ten videos of different Paul Simon songs to the world, with each of the singer-songwriters personally selecting a favourite tune and arranging it with the rest of the group. Creative decisions have been made in the choices and the arrangements while always staying true and sensitive to the spirit of the songs. The selections cover a wide span of songs from 1964 to 1992 and the videos will be uploaded gradually to YouTube via Josh Johnston’s channel. I will add links at the top of this page above on this page and info about the songs and videos below.

All songs by Paul Simon.
All videos filmed and edited by Alan Rogers

1. America (uploaded 14th February 2019) – Carol Keogh
Filmed January 19th 2019 in Josh’s living room, Dublin 8

To get the ball rolling, we are pleased to present the first video. Dublin singer Carol Keogh (The Plague Monkeys, The Tycho Brahe, Autamata, The Natural History Museum, The Wicc) sings America from the Simon & Garfunkel 1968 LP Bookends.

Carol Keogh – Vocal www.carolkeogh.ie
Paj – Acoustic Guitar, Vocal pajmusic.com
Josh Johnston – Piano www.joshjohnston.com
SJ McArdle – Electric Guitar, Vocal sjmcardle.com
Rob Molumby – Bass, Vocal robertmolumby.com
Sive – Vocal www.sivemusic.com
Ailie Blunnie – Vocal ailieblunnie.com
Marco Francescangeli – Soprano Sax

2. April Come She Will (upoaded 7th April 2019) – Paj
Filmed January 19th 2019 in Josh’s living room, Dublin 8

The second Paul Simon Project video features Paj singing April Come She Will. Originally written during Paul Simon’s stint as a solo singer-songwriter in England in 1964, it was recorded for his solo album The Paul Simon Songbook and then slightly rearranged and re-recorded for the Simon & Garfunkel album The Sounds Of Silence with Garfunkel singing the lead vocal. Its lyrics very closely mirror an old English nursery rhyme which Paul Simon may have heard while there.

Dublin guitarist, composer, singer and songwriter Paj has chosen this song and has arranged it in a very straightforward way while adding simple and effective backing vocals from Carol, Sive and Ailie and gentle flute at the end. Paj is well known as a session guitarist and singer, often appearing with Danny G And The Major Sevvenths and jazz singer Emilie Conway, and has recently released his first solo single Friends Confused. A full-length CD is planned for late 2019.

Friends Confused on Youtube
pajmusic.com

Paj – Acoustic Guitar, Vocal pajmusic.com
Josh Johnston – Piano www.joshjohnston.com
SJ McArdle – Mandolin sjmcardle.com
Rob Molumby – Bass robertmolumby.com
Sive – Vocal www.sivemusic.com
Ailie Blunnie – Vocal ailieblunnie.com
Carol Keogh – Vocal www.carolkeogh.ie
Marco Francescangeli – Flute

3. Rene And Georgette Magritte (With Their Dog After The War) (uploaded 20th May 2019) – Gillian Tuite
Filmed May 5th 2019 in Josh’s living room, Dublin 8

A seemingly daft, surreal tale but actually a multi-layered, post-modern slice of songwriting genius (in this correspondent’s humble opinion), this song was born in an idle moment in Joan Baez’s apartment when Paul Simon was left to occupy himself. A coffee table book about Belgian surrealist artist Rene Magritte featured a photo that was labelled “Rene And Georgette Magritte with their dog after the war”. The idea occurred to create a story around the title, a challenge that, when finished, featured elements of surrealist thought, doo-wop, lovesong, nostalgia, loss, and French artsong and, knowing Paul Simon, other things yet to be discovered. It is one of a number of standouts on his unfairly overlooked 1983 album Hearts And Bones.

Meath singer-songwriter Gillian Tuite has chosen this song, much to the delight of Josh as it’s one of his favourite Paul Simon songs. She is currently enjoying airplay and critical acclaim for her current single Something We Should Try (written with American songwriter Fred Koller) and is looking forward to recording her debut CD in 2019 for release early 2020.

Something We Should Try on Youtube
www.gilliantuitemusic.com

Gillian Tuite – Vocal & Guitar www.gilliantuitemusic.com
Jane Willow – Vocal www.janewillow.com
Adam Fleming – Vocal Adam On Facebook
Josh Johnston – Piano www.joshjohnston.com
Rob Molumby – Bass robertmolumby.com
Marco Francescangeli – Clarinet

4. Still Crazy After All These Years (uploaded 8th July 2019) – Rob Molumby
Filmed May 5th 2019 in Josh’s living room, Dublin 8

The jazz-tinged, melancholic, world-weary title track to his 1975 Grammy-winning album is now considered a signature song for Paul Simon’s middle period.

Dublin multi-instrumentalist, composer and arranger Rob Molumby is not often in front of the mic but he can be heard often, playing keys and synths in the band Let’s Set Sail and bass in the band Ana Gog.

sdfsdf Powell by Let’s Set Sail on Youtube
robertmolumby.com

Rob Molumby – Lead vocal & Wurlitzer Piano robertmolumby.com
Adam Fleming – Guitar & backing vocal Adam On Facebook
Gillian Tuite – Backing vocal www.gilliantuitemusic.com
Jane Willow – Backing vocal www.janewillow.com
Josh Johnston – Piano www.joshjohnston.com
Marco Francescangeli – Clarinet

5. You Can Call Me Al (uploaded 13th August 2019) – Ailie Blunnie
Filmed January 19th 2019 in Josh’s living room, Dublin 8

Carrick-on-Shannon singer/songwriter/pianist Ailie Blunnie has included this 1986 Paul Simon song (taken from his huge hit album Graceland) in her live set the last few years and it was fun for the group to find ways to add instruments and harmonies to the mix. And Marco got to use the ocarina he had brought along to the session.

Ailie’s debut album West To The Evening Sun is brilliant and is available now – go to YouTube to hear (and watch) the beautiful title track.
Ailie has a website and a https://www.facebook.com/ailiemusic/ page as well as loads of other social media places.

Musicians

Ailie Blunnie – Lead Vocal & Ukulele ailieblunnie.com
Paj – Acoustic Guitar pajmusic.com
SJ McArdle – Electric Guitar sjmcardle.com
Josh Johnston – Chime Bars & Backing Vocal www.joshjohnston.com
Rob Molumby – Bass robertmolumby.com
Marco Francescangeli – Ocarina
Carol Keogh – Backing Vocals www.carolkeogh.ie
Sive – Backing Vocals www.sivemusic.com

6. Slip Slidin’ Away (uploaded 24th September 2019) – Adam Fleming
Filmed May 5th 2019 in Josh’s living room, Dublin 8

Only ever released as a single, this 1976 song was nonetheless a popular single and remained a live favourite at Paul Simon concerts up to and including his farewell tour in 2018. From the moment we’re born we die. Dressed up in a soulful groove.

Dublin guitarist Adam Fleming is known as the guitarist in Ana Gog. He has recently kickstarted a solo career and also plays as a duo (The Final Stations) with singer Sinéad Toomey.

Adam’s most recent solo single, Victory on YouTube

Adam on Facebook

Adam Fleming – Guitar & lead vocal Adam on Facebook
Rob Molumby – Bass & backing vocal robertmolumby.com
Josh Johnston – Piano & backing vocal www.joshjohnston.com
Jane Willow – Bodhrán & backing vocal www.janewillow.com
Gillian Tuite – Backing vocal www.gilliantuitemusic.com
Marco Francescangeli – Alto Sax

7. Kathy’s Song (uploaded 16th October 2019) – Jane Willow
Filmed May 5th 2019 in Josh’s living room, Dublin 8

This song, written for his partner while they were seperated by the Atlantic Ocean, was recorded twice – once solo on The Paul Simon Songbook, and once with Art Garfunkel (sung by Art).  It is an evocative, poetic love song, simple in comparison to Paul Simon’s later compositions but touching.

Born in the Netherlands and based in Ireland, singer-songwriter Jane Willow has been getting a name for herself on the back of an EP and two critically acclaimed singles channeling Leonard, Joni, Stevie and Paul Simon too but also leaving room for a generous dollop of Jane too. Fans keen to support her further have discovered she is an engaging live performer too.

Jane Willow – Lead vocal www.janewillow.com
Gillian Tuite – Guitar & Backing vocal www.gilliantuitemusic.com
Josh Johnston – Wurlitzer Piano www.joshjohnston.com
Marco Francescangeli – Clarinet

8. The Boy In The Bubble (uploaded 11th November 2019) – SJ McArdle
Filmed January 19th 2019 in Josh’s living room, Dublin 8

The opening track from the landmark 1986 Graceland album, originally recorded in South Africa and USA with African and American musicians, this song is a song of hope for the future despite hard and oppressive times.  Drogheda singer-songwriter SJ McArdle has recorded three CDs in his own name over a 20 year career with a style that fuses his interests in folk, traditional and rock music.  More recently, he is a founder member of traditional music group Kern whose second CD The Left And The Leaving was launched in October 2019.  Josh and SJ have co-written often and many of these songs appear on Josh’s CDs.

SJ McArdle – Acoustic Guitar, Vocal sjmcardle.com
Josh Johnston – Piano www.joshjohnston.com
SJ McArdle – Electric Guitar, Vocal sjmcardle.com
Rob Molumby – Bass, Vocal robertmolumby.com
Sive – Vocal www.sivemusic.com
Paj – Vocal pajmusic.com
Ailie Blunnie – Vocal ailieblunnie.com
Marco Francescangeli – Alto Sax

8. The Boy In The Bubble (uploaded 11th November 2019) – SJ McArdle
Filmed January 19th 2019 in Josh’s living room, Dublin 8

The opening track from the landmark 1986 Graceland album, originally recorded in South Africa and USA with African and American musicians, this song is a song of hope for the future despite hard and oppressive times.  Drogheda singer-songwriter SJ McArdle has recorded three CDs in his own name over a 20 year career with a style that fuses his interests in folk, traditional and rock music.  More recently, he is a founder member of traditional music group Kern whose second CD The Left And The Leaving was launched in October 2019.  Josh and SJ have co-written often and many of these songs appear on Josh’s CDs.

SJ McArdle – Acoustic Guitar, Vocal sjmcardle.com
Josh Johnston – Piano www.joshjohnston.com
Rob Molumby – Bass, Vocal robertmolumby.com
Sive – Vocal www.sivemusic.com
Paj – Vocal pajmusic.com
Ailie Blunnie – Vocal ailieblunnie.com
Carol Keogh – Vocal www.carolkeogh.ie
Marco Francescangeli – Alto Sax

9. Feelin’ Groovy (The 59th Street Bridge Song) (uploaded 29th January 2020) – Keith Burke
Filmed January 11th 2020 in Josh’s living room, Dublin 8

One of the defining folk-pop songs of the 1960s, Dubliner Keith Burke chose the 1965 song “Feelin’ Groovy”. A mix between Tom Waits, Nick Drake and James Taylor (according to Irish radio legend Tony Fenton), Keith Burke is a writer, musician and storyteller. He first achieved critical success in 2004 with debut album “The Dancer Who Stole your Shoes” and, after a spell living and working in Milan, Italy, is back in Dublin and currently recording his fourth album with Irish producer Anthony Gibney. He has recorded and performed with many notable international musicians including John Earle, Salvatore Urbano, Dave Mooney and Irish singer-songwriter Sinéad Madden among others and his previous albums have given him the opportunity to perform live extensively across the world. His most recent single “Every Seaside Town” was released in March 2019.

Keith Burke – Vocal & Acoustic Guitar Facebook
Rob Molumby – Bass robertmolumby.com
Cormac Kenny – Wurlitzer Piano
Liam O Maonlaí – Melodica
Marco Francescangeli – Clarinet
Josh Johnston, Kayla Flynn & Órlaith de Búrca – Backing Vocals & Finger Clicks

A Brother To Hear Me Out by Keith Burke & The Little Black Book
Keith Burke & The Little Black Book on Facebook

10. Old Friends / Bookends Theme (uploaded 4th March 2020) – Órlaith De Burca
Filmed January 11th 2020 in Josh’s living room, Dublin 8

In 1968, Simon & Garfunkel released an album, Bookends. The span of Side 1 followed human life from childhood through to old age. The last two songs are Old Friends and the Bookends Theme. Obviously only imagining old age as well as a twenty-something songwriter can, this evocative song is chilling nonetheless. actress / singer Órlaith De Burca and pianist Josh Johnston waited until the end of the January 2020 session to deliver a frail and moving rendering of the song which places the song in a new musical sphere and yet understands the fragile impermanence of the lyrics completely. Órlaith and Josh perform together regularly as participants in the monthly Literary Cabaret at Buswell’s Hotel in Dublin (An evening of music, comedy and theatre performances inspired by literature on the third Sunday of the month) organised and curated by Leonor Bethencourt.

Órlaith De Burca – Vocal
Josh Johnston – Piano