The Art of Singing: Garfunkel at the Bardavon

Art Garfunkel, the eccentric singer from Queens, NY, has found his voice after suddenly losing it in 2008. On Oct. 24, Garfunkel read poetry, told stories and, of course, sang to an admiring crowd at Poughkeepsie’s Bardavon Opera House.  A true master of singing, Art has reacquired his talent and is proud to share his voice with fans once again.

The legendary performer was joined by Nashville native Tab Laven on the acoustic guitar for a long set of music. The room was held in reverence as Art sang Simon and Garfunkel classics “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme,” “Scarborough Fair” and “Homeward Bound.” The evening included much more than Garfunkel reproducing hits, though. He painted a picture of singing to a sold out Royal Albert Hall, recalling fans leaning over five tiers to cheer him on.  Garfunkel described the tragedy of losing his voice and the challenges imposed by finding it again with a national audience listening. He joked about whether he or Paul Simon would speak at the other’s funeral, leading into a goosebumps-inducing “Sound of Silence.”

Dressed in dark jeans, a white button-up shirt, and black vest, tufts of Art’s signature curly hair still sprouted from the sides of his head. While most of the proud anti-war singer’s hair may be gone, his vocal acuity is breathtaking once again. After taking a couple of songs to get primed, Garfunkel’s unmistakable voice carried beautifully during “Perfect Moment.” He later stated his top five favorite singers, then sang a hit from one of them—Randy Newman’s “Real Emotional Girl.”

Garfunkel also read prose poetry including pieces dedicated to Jack Nicholson and his son Beau. He read another poem to a nine-year old version of himself: “Life is a fabulous mystery. You must be kind to people and remember that singing brings joy.” From 8:10-9:40 Friday night, he brought that joy, massaging souls with the melodic caress of his voice. The evening concluded with a version of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” that launched the audience onto its feet, whistling and catcalling to the adoring singer.

It is hard to imagine a singer as soothing and comfortably familiar as Art Garfunkel.  His voice is a national treasure that was on full display in Poughkeepsie Friday night.  If you get the chance, do not pass up the opportunity to catch this living legend.