For all its alluring qualities, there's something slightly discomfiting about this debut offering from Paul Simon's son, Harper.
It's as if the lad had spent years locked in a room with only his dad's record collection for company – including, of course, a copious selection of Simon & Garfunkel albums. As the first strains of Harper's voice spill over the hymn-like opener "All to God", it's like you're hearing the essence of both his father's and Art Garfunkel's voices distilled into a single vessel of vocal purity, pristine and alabaster-toned; and so uncanny is the similarity on "Tennessee" I'm convinced it must be a father/son duet. Which is hardly a drawback, in the greater scheme of things – as neither is Harper's employment of the same Nashville sessionmen who played on those classic Dylan, Cohen and Byrds records, plus a few former Elvis sidemen. Simon explicitly wanted to emulate the seamless unity of the classic long-playing record, something he achieves through using only the subtlest embellishments – a discreet woodwind arrangement here, a pedal steel or glockenspiel there – around his acoustic guitar, on 10 songs whose superficial slightness ("I'm simple as a beat, as a melody in C", as he notes in "Wishes and Stars") belies their gentle power.
Download this All to God; Wishes and Stars; The Audit; Tennessee; Berkeley Girl