In 2007, Paul Simon was honored as the inaugural recipient of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, marking a momentous occasion in his illustrious career. Described by James H. Billington, the Librarian of Congress, as a songwriter whose influence transcends genres and cultures, Simon’s contributions to music are unparalleled.
To commemorate this prestigious award, the Library of Congress organized a star-studded gala concert at Warner Arena in Washington DC. Among the memorable performances of the evening was the rendition of Simon & Garfunkel’s timeless classic “The Boxer,” beautifully interpreted by Alison Krauss and Shawn Colvin, accompanied by a stellar band featuring the legendary Steve Gadd on drums and Jerry Douglas on dobro.
The harmonious blend of Krauss and Colvin’s vocals, coupled with the impeccable musicianship of Gadd and Douglas, captured the essence of the original song. An insightful anecdote shared by Colvin on Instagram sheds light on the personal touch Simon imparted to their performance, underscoring his dedication to his craft and fellow artists.
Graceland, the iconic album from 1986, marked a pivotal moment in Simon’s solo journey, earning acclaim and accolades, including induction into the National Recording Registry. The enduring legacy of “The Boxer” and other classics like “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and “Still Crazy After All These Years” further solidifies Simon’s status as a music legend.
Reflecting on Krauss and Colvin’s rendition of “The Boxer,” viewers on YouTube lauded Jerry Douglas’s masterful performance on the dobro, elevating the song to new heights. The emotional resonance of the performance, coupled with the seamless harmony and instrumental prowess, resonated deeply with audiences, becoming a cherished memory for many.
In addition to his musical contributions, Jerry Douglas’s esteemed career as a member of Alison Krauss’s band Union Station and his role as a sought-after player and producer underscore his indelible mark on the music industry.
As we celebrate Paul Simon’s remarkable career and his 2023 album “Seven Psalms,” which garnered widespread acclaim and secured top positions in various album-of-the-year lists, we extend our heartfelt congratulations to a true visionary and musical pioneer.