Yesterday, I got home from work, and Brian played Paul Simon's performance of American Tune (1975). Please watch this video for yourself and draw from it what you will.
As for me, perhaps I am just emotional right now, but tears came to my eyes as I watched him perform. His honesty and humility are so evident and so beautiful. It is not everyday you see a musician/artist who comes off so "transparent". Paul is simply standing on stage: him and his guitar. Many artists are so quick to prove their skill and to have a "cool" image. ((When in reality, who cares! Well...actually, having skill does provide more contingencies to interesting music, but I will say that I have seen many "unskilled" children make way more interesting art pieces compared to many "skilled" adults! I will save this for another blog!))
Another thing about this Paul Simon's performance is seeing him makes all the difference! His expressions, his eyes, how he stands, where he looks, how he holds his head, etc. They all reveal so much as to his own relationship with his song. This song means something to him. And as a listener, I want to feel what Paul is feeling. I want to understand what he is communicating.
The final thing I want to talk about is in reference to how my husband reacted to the performance. Brian was taken back by it--even more so than I was! I love that! I don't mean to generalize men, but men (women too!) can learn a lesson from Paul Simon-his honesty, tenderness, humility, gentleness. Paul actually sings about his feelings in his song:
"I'm alright, I'm just wearied to my bones..."
"I don't have a friend that feels at ease...."
"When I think of the road we're traveling on, I can't help but wonder what went wrong"
"Still tomorrows going be another working day and I'm trying to get some rest"
I wish I knew more men who were aware of their feelings (no offense to the men in my life). Honesty & humility are some of the most attractive attributes to me, but, sad to say, they probably come off as weak to most people. That is too bad.
As for me, through this one performance of Paul Simon, I feel inspired to be more "transparent" with my own artwork. To really care about the feelings and ideas that I am trying to communicate- And also to stand side-by-side with my art. I know I have a tendency to talk my art down (as do most artists)-but Paul sang American Tune as if he was letting his own little bird fly free out of its cage. I think that is beautiful.