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American Tune (by Paul Simon)



 Genre: Acoustic

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This has been one of my favorite Paul Simon song ever since I first heard it while I was a senior in high school. "American Tune" first appeared on "There Goes Rhymin' Simon" (1973), Simon's second solo album following the breakup of Simon and Garfunkel. I arranged this song for a backyard Woodstock party, a couple of years ago when the economy was sinking, thinking I would find a song most people hadn't heard. It is also apropos for a recession, and I had a meaningful spoken intro ready. However, the energy I put into rehearsing caused a collapse lung, so I never got to perform it. I put it on my album, Song of Myself, instead, after recovering.

When I was in 6th grade, my sister brought home a Simon & Garfunkel album with "The Boxer" on it. I used to sneak into her room and play that song over and over, trying to not scratch the record as I lifted and dropped the needle over and over. I had never been so moved by a song before. I wanted to know why it did that to me. It was the first song I ever analyzed in this manner. It was the beginning of my life as a composer. I was going to cover "The Boxer" in honor of that moment, but the words didn't fit me. These lyrics, however, are perfect.

One of the greatest songs ever written. The kicker moment for me is about 2:30 in when the bridge hits. So brilliant, so personal to me. Whew. And that last verse works really well with my spent voice. Hope you enjoy it, and find the promise, peace and quiet triumph in the music.

Other draft tracks from "Song of Myself" shared on MacJams include:
Dignity (by Bob Dylan)
Blackbird (by Paul McCartney)
Blue Tattoos (based on songs by Joni Mitchell)
Frozen Man (by James Taylor)
I Have Been Deceived (based on songs by Elton John/Bernie Taupin)
American Tune (by Paul Simon)
Oh Danny Boy (traditional)
No Place Like Home (a duet: piano/soprano sax)
Before There Were Gods (with Michael Hedges)
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Many's the time I've been mistaken
And many times confused
Yes, and often felt forsaken
And certainly misused
But I'm all right, I'm all right, all right
I'm just weary to my bones
Still, you don't expect to be
Bright and bon vivant
So far away from home, so far away from home
And I don't know a soul who's not been battered
I don't have a friend who feels at ease
I don't know a dream that's not been shattered
or driven to its knees
But, oh, it's all right, it's all right, all right
Cuz we've lived so well so long
Still, when I think of the road we're traveling on
I wonder, can't help but wonder
What's gone wrong

And I dreamed I was dying
And I dreamed that my soul rose unexpectedly
And looking back down at me
Smiled reassuringly
And I dreamed I was flying
And high up above my eyes could clearly see
The Statue of Liberty
Sailing away to sea
And I dreamed I was flying

We come on the ship they call the Mayflower
We come on the ship that sailed the moon
We come in the age's most uncertain hour
and sing an American tune
But it's all right, it's all right, all right
You can't be forever blessed
Still, tomorrow's going to be another working day
And I'm trying to get some rest
That's all I'm trying just trying to get some rest

- lyrics by Paul Simon
Song Stats
Hits: 3547
Comments: 10
Fans: 10
Plays: 232
Downloads: 45

Uploaded: Aug 08, 2013 - 10:38:35 AM
Last Updated: Aug 08, 2013 - 11:02:13 AM Last Played: Apr 11, 2019 - 02:45:59 AM
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Alimar said 2118 days ago (August 8th, 2013)
A fine arrangement
Is that little melody at the end what I think it is? Good to hear your voice.
TobinMueller said 2118 days ago (August 8th, 2013)
Yes, it is. A little lullaby at the end as I sing "just tryin' to get some rest..."
Thanks, Al. Miss you... Hope all is well.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
paul f. page said 2118 days ago (August 8th, 2013)
I am reminded of ...
... the old RCA Record logo: "His master's voice." Such a powerful song, Tobin, that you sing with such authority and such aching beauty. You are indeed a master at performing this style of music. It is such a pleasure to hear you sing with such authority and conviction in your voice. And the underlying Piano accompaniment is perfectly wrought, with wonderful fills to surround the harmonic structure of the song. Choosing just the solo piano as the accompaniment was an excellent idea on this song as it supports your lyrics and vocal without encumbering either. It is no wonder that you were so affected by this song years ago. You have now breathed new life into it in a most satisfying way. His master's voice, indeed.
Check out my latest song called Caprice
Philip18 said 2118 days ago (August 8th, 2013)
American Tune
Wonderful song and you do it justice. There's an immediacy and a poignancy to the performance. Piano is all that's needed and your touch is just perfect. Excellent work, Tobin, that I enjoyed listening to.
Check out my latest song called Refuge
KCsGROOVE said 2118 days ago (August 8th, 2013)
american tune
Oh, this is wonderful :-)
Paul Simon is one of my favorite composers too
Great, personal version
Thanks for the download!

Check out my latest song called MOVING THROUGH THESE CHANGES
PeterB7858 said 2118 days ago (August 8th, 2013)
American Tune
I agree with you re the importance of this song, Tobin. I have loved it since it was first released. It is not the easiest song going around to sing but you have done a fine job interpreting it. "That's all I'm trying, just to get some rest". Thanks, Peter.
Check out my latest song called The Parting Of The Ways
Doug Somers said 2118 days ago (August 8th, 2013)
smiled reassuringly
These songs sound so personal when you sing with such familiarity and ownership it's as if you conceived the original lyrics. Your backstory (thanks for that too) makes clear where the resonance comes from and so when your heart pours out either vocally or on the keys it's understood where this font of emotion is coming from.

Lovely work again Tobin. Don't change a thing.

Check out my latest song called Western Stranger
MartinD28 said 2117 days ago (August 8th, 2013)
Tribute to Paul Simon
Tobin, what a great tribute to Paul Simon. He has shaped our lives and our ears! You do such a wonderful job of capturing life in music. Thank you!
Check out my latest song called Don't Lose Me Lord
Franciscus_Henri said 2115 days ago (August 10th, 2013)
a fine and usual approach this iconic song.
Check out my latest song called FRIENDSHIP VOLUME 2 Tribute to PHIL18
tonestones said 2112 days ago (August 14th, 2013)
Beautiful arrangement
I love your chord voicing. This is beautifully done. I'll have to go back to the original for another listen. I agree with you about the lyrics of this tune. They are amazing.
Check out my latest song called Stairway to Heaven (LZ Cover)
Artist Info
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Name: Tobin Mueller
Location: Rowayton CT USA
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I am a professional musician, composer, playwright and director. I've led a charmed life. I'm married to fellow MJer Suzanne and MJer Twonicus is my son, who currently sings and writes for rock bands in the NYC, D.C. and Cleveland areas. My second s... [see more]

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