So Beautiful or So What 4/12
For his first album since 2006, Simon holed up in a guitar-crammed cottage on his Connecticut property and kept the songs and arrangements intentionally simple. "I didn't want to build the record too much," he says. "Once I put two or three guitars on, that was all." He tried out some new sounds, too: "Dazzling Blue" features a bluegrass vocal group, and the album includes Simon's first-ever use of sampling (see the bit of blues-harp great Sonny Terry on "Love Is Eternal Sacred Light"). "That opened up a whole new world," he says. "I like things that sound old and new at the same time." - David Browne
-Listen: "The Afterlife"