Paul Simon has reunited his live band for rehearsals as he battles to end his enforced retirement from touring.
The folk legend, 81, announced his retirement from touring in 2018 and played his final ever concert in Queens, New York – near where he grew up.
During the final gig, Simon hinted that he would be “open” to playing “one-off” performances but would no longer be touring as he is battling hearing loss. He briefly appeared at Newport Folk Festival last summer in a surprise return to the stage.
Speaking to Mojo about his new music the Graceland musician said writing new songs is a “lifesaver” as his health problems make it difficult to rehearse and get back to playing live again.
“I haven’t figured out how to perform with the hearing loss,” he said. “I’ve tried to rehearse with the guys in my touring band, to see if I could manage it. I can’t so far. This is at least an outlet for thinking musically.”
However, a return is still unlikely for now, as he added: “I’ve often wondered what it would feel like to reach the point where I’d consider bringing my performing career to a natural end. Now I know: it feels a little unsettling, a touch exhilarating, and something of a relief.”
The Simon and Garfunkel star went on to say that he still loves music and if it weren’t for the hearing loss he’d still be able to put on a good show for fans.
“I love making music, my voice is still strong, and my band is a tight, extraordinary group of gifted musicians,” he explained. “I think about music constantly. I am very grateful for a fulfilling career and, of course, most of all to the audiences who heard something in their music that touched their hearts.”