On the heels of her highly acclaimed Arista album Letters Never Sent, Carly Simon, the internationally renowned singer, composer and lyricist, is embarking on a prestigious U.S. tour. Simon will perform alone and together with Daryl Hall and John Oates, who will join her on her much anticipated return to the stage. The tour is a departure for the very private Simon, who has taken a fourteen year hiatus from life on the road. However, fans need not worry that this break from live performance might have affected Carly's stage presence. In April 1995, Carly surprised thousands of commuters at New York's historic Grand Central Station with an unannounced performance which was filmed for a Lifetime Television Special. The concert proves that Carly is one of the premier singers of our time, blessed with a natural voice that conveys the emotion inherent in her songs.
The tour will feature material from the new album, Letters Never Sent, a brilliant and deeply personal collection of songs. "Letters is the most personal album, in a sea of personal albums, I have ever made," states Carly. "The songs evolved from letters that I had squirreled away in the top of my closet. You know, the kind of letters you write in the heat of the moment, and then you have second thoughts and decide to 'sleep on it'. About a year ago, spring cleaning, I came upon such a box of letters. Checking them out, I found myself reliving a lot of thoughts and feelings and attitudes which were the genesis of the songs: my first love, a spiritual crisis, whimsy, rebellion, confusion, sadness and loss. Blowing off the dust, I massaged some of the letters into songs."
Between some of the ten cuts on the album are interludes: snippets of letters, between full-blown ones. These pieces give the whole album continuity, gluing the letters together like pages in a book, which is then bookended by a charming violin and guitar theme.
The title track, backed by a funk-style groove laid down by drummer Sammy Merendino and Living Colour bassist Doug Wimbish, announces what the rest of the album is all about and how the letters came about as songs. " Some I crumpled, some I burned, some I tore to shreds/lifetimes later, here they are, the ones I saved instead." The song has a powerful hook and the vocal is delivered with Simon's characteristically sharp-edged warmth.
The highly emotional "Like A River" was written and recorded soon after the death of Carly's mother, Andrea Simon. Driven by Carly's signature piano and acoustic guitar sound, "Like A River" came easily and quickly and was the only letter that was "current." "My yearning to communicate with her was so strong," says Carly, "it seemed to me that she could really hear me. I had one of those experiences that many people report after a loved one has passed away, where you feel them around you and even believe you see them."
The coda to "Like A River" comes from a one-act opera for young people she composed as a commission for the Metropolitan Opera Guild and the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, DC She was the first popular artist to receive such a commission. The opera album was released on Angel Records in the fall of 1993. Carly is proud to be able to merge the two styles and especially to present these "great voices" in her music.
Carly's new single, "Touched by the Sun," is an anthemic, gutsy rock ballad about faith and courage. Introduced by Ben Taylor's singing the interlude, "Time Works On All TheWild Young Men," the song was co-written by Ben and Carly. This performance will stun many listeners who will want to hear and know more about the eighteen year old son of Carly and James Taylor. His voice also appears in the body of the song, joining Marc Cohn on back-up vocals. "It's a song, originally a letter, to a great friend of mine who was unlike anyone I have ever known in the role model department. From this friend, I am inspired to jump through the hoop, to go through my fear, to do what I have to do, say what needs to be said, in spite of it." Her breakthrough video for "Touched by the Sun" is played frequently on VH-1.
The well crafted narratives on Letters Never Sent owe a lot to Carly's literary talents; she is an author of children's books and an Oscar winning film score composer. Her first movie song was "Nobody Does It Better," sung for the 1977 James Bond hit "The Spy Who Loved Me." It was eight years later that Mike Nichols asked her to write the score for the movie "Heartburn" and from that soundtrack came the hit single "Coming Around Again." Following that, in 1989 she wrote and performed "Let the River Run" for "Working Girl" which won her not only the Oscar, but the Golden Globe and Grammy as well. In 1991 she scored "Postcards From The Edge" and in 1992 she wrote the soundtrack for Nora Ephron's "This Is My Life" which spawned the song "You're the Love of My Life," one of Carly's best love songs.
Carly has written four books for children, including "Amy the Dancing Bear," "The Boy Of tThe Bells," "Fisherman's Song," and "The Nighttime Chauffeur." Besides working on her own projects, Carly sang with Frank Sinatra on Duets 1, with Larry Adler on his album of Gershwin songs, entitled "Glory Of Gershwin", and performed two different versions of "Take Me Out To The Ball Game" for Ken Burns' "Baseball." Along with her opera, "Romulus Hunt," all these outings demonstrate Carly's ability to feel at home in a variety of musical climates. Letters Never Sent brings many of them together.
This album is produced by Carly with Frank Filipetti, who engineered as well. In addition, several cuts had guest producers, including Teese Gohl on the title track, Paul Samwell-Smith on "Half-Way 'Round The World" and Danny Korchmar on "The Reason." Planned for the fall of 1995 is the Arista release of a special boxed set of Carly's much loved hits, never before released songs and "special suprises." The impressive package is sure to be a "must have" this holiday season.