The ‘60s folk duo Simon & Garfunkel were a match made in musical heaven, but nothing seemed to be missing when Art Garfunkel performed at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee, on Sunday.
Garfunkel, whose spry in both his singing and storytelling, performed over the course of 90 minutes, opening with “April Come She Will” followed by “The Boxer.” In between a string of classic songs, Garfunkel weaved poems, prose and anecdotes about his music and film career, friends, family and, most admirably, Simon.
“He’s one of the best songwriter’s I know,” Garfunkel said before the opening lines of “Kathy’s Song,” a song he thanked Simon for writing back in the mid-’60s.
Art’s setlist was a colorful mix of classic Simon & Garfunkel material, a couple Garfunkel originals like “A Perfect Moment,” a Randy Newman cover, among others. While Garfunkel’s voice sounded just as youthful on songs such as “Scarborough Fair” and “Homeward Bound” he also breathed new life into tracks like “The Sound of Silence” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” the latter he admits he hasn’t quite remastered on this tour.
Towards the end of the evening, Garfunkel praised some of his favorite songwriters, which included Simon, Newman, Jimmy Webb and others before launching into Newman’s ’83 song “Real Emotional Girl.” It took a couple songs for Garfunkel’s vocals to warm up, but, when they did, they reached a place I didn’t expect them to go. While his voice could easily stand alone, it was often carried by two musicians, one of which is Nashville guitarist Tab Laven, who seems to have mirrored Simon’s guitar style for the tour.
Garfunkel’s candid prose certainly made the evening more intimate, but his hallmark voice was the main attraction. Garfunkel noted that, although he almost lost his voice a few years ago, several sessions of intensive vocal therapy were his savior.
Although some may have been at the historic venue for a taste of nostalgia, most attendees seemed to be there for Art, and only Art. There were times when a note would send a shiver down your spine; the audience adored him, which was evident by both the thunderous applause and standing ovations to the pin-drop silence that accompanied each song.