Playing the role of Paul Simon in the show “The Simon & Garfunkel Story,” Taylor Bloom said he has a hard time picking his favorite songs.
“It depends on the day, it changes between different songs and different sets all the time,” Bloom said. “I love a couple of the bigger hits that we play later in the show. They’re so much fun, and the whole band is together, and the audience is totally with us.”
Bloom and friend Benjamin Cooley, who sings the Art Garfunkel role, will kick off their U.S./Canada tour in Idaho Falls at 7:30 Sept. 27 in the Colonial Theater. Tickets can be purchased online at idahofallsarts.org.
Bloom said the show is not just hearing your favorite music performed live but offers more depth.
“They’re going to hear it played with a new life and breath of these young musicians coming in and sort of attacking it with fresh eyes,” he said. “There’s also this audio-visual element. Part of what we’ve done to help tell the full story, not only what was going on with Paul and Art, but also with the world at the time. A lot of that affected their songwriting. There’s news clips and reels telling what was going on in the world between some songs, sometimes during the songs.”
Bloom said he and Cooley have been performing the show since 2017 after the pair auditioned for the roles.
“I knew a handful of Simon and Garfunkel songs going into it,” he said. “That’s really where my relationship with Simon and Garfunkel began. That’s part of the reason I love doing the show so much, because I get 2 ½ hours a night to play some of my absolute favorite music that I didn’t even know very well before. And now I’m such a huge fan of it.”
The show also includes a four-piece backup band.
“It’s a little bit more than just a concert because we talk about their lives, what was going on with them, what was going on with the world when this music was being created,” Bloom said. “We play the music as we go along. We are kind of like an MC for the audience through their story. Myself and Ben are the two biggest Simon and Garfunkel fans on the planet, and we tell you all of the factoids and all the things we know.”
Bloom said he was about 11 when his brother first introduced him to Simon and Garfunkel’s “America.”
“Going into the chorus of ‘America,’ Paul put in chords that are not in the key that started the song,” Bloom said. “It was the first time I had heard anything like that, and it was like seeing a new color. As a young person, I was like WHOA! that is so cool.”
Since that time, his appreciation for the music has only increased. Bloom said the music is still relevant because of its quality.
“There’s the really, really good music — the actual melodies that Paul Simon wrote are very unique and beautiful,” he said. “Then you have that X factor which is all the harmony lines that Art Garfunkel wrote. And the thing that makes them still hit home after all this time is the lyrics. Paul Simon’s lyrical style is very down to earth. It’s poetic and universal but not high brow. It’s something that anyone can listen to and understand and relate to, but still poignant at the same time.”