Graceland is American musician Paul Simon’s most successful studio album. It has been praised by critics and public alike, won the 1987 Grammy Award for Album of the Year, and sold over sixteen million copies world-wide. The recording features an eclectic mixture of musical styles, including pop, rock, a cappella, zydeco, isicathamiya, and mbaqanga. It includes collaborations with many South African musicians and groups, particularly Ladysmith Black Mambazo, as well as prominent North American artists Linda Ronstadt and Los Lobos. Tracks include such popular songs as “Graceland”, “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes” and “You Can Call Me Al”. Now, Edmonton-area Paul Simon fans can experience Going to Graceland, a pivotal concert experience that includes covers of all eleven album tracks along with some of Simon’s other hit singles, at Horizon Stage on Saturday, September 17 at 7:30 p.m.
Released in August 1986, Graceland transcended racial and cultural barriers. It was a bridge between cultures, genres and continents, and a global launching pad for the musicians whose popularity been suppressed under South Africa’s white-run apartheid rule. Rolling Stone Magazine called it "lovely, daring and accomplished” and The Village Voice said that it was "a tremendously engaging and inspired piece of work”. In the past 30 years it has continued to influence, and be covered by, a wide variety of singers and bands, and in 2012 it placed 71st on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
In Going to Graceland a nine-piece group of Edmonton-based musicians have deconstructed and recreated Simon’s genius-level compositions to make them their own. Starting as an idea for a New Year’s show, this amazing tribute concert has been selling out venues around the province. It has allowed band members to connect with audiences of many ages and share the album that they all grew up hearing their parents play for the first time in 1986.
The current Going to Graceland ensemble consists of Neil MacDonald (lead vocals and guitar), Jason Kodie (accordion, keyboards, and vocals), Nathan Carroll (guitar and vocals), Thom Golub (bass), Lindsey Walker (vocals and keyboard), Chris Budnarchuk (drums and vocals), Ben McNab (percussion), Brock Tyler (trumpet and vocals), and Laura Craig (saxophone).
Spend a Saturday night experiencing and enjoying some of the best music of the 1980s at Horizon Stage on September 17. Tickets for Going to Graceland are $40 for adults and $35 for students and seniors and may be purchased at the City Hall Ticket Centre (315 Jespersen Ave), by phone at 780-962-8995 or 1-888-655-9090, and online at Ticketpro.ca.