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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

We're going to hear new music now from a performer with a famous last name and a hauntingly familiar voice. NPR's Vince Pearson reports on the solo debut of the son of Paul Simon.

VINCE PEARSON: Harper Simon has recorded with other groups before, but this is his first attempt to carry a record.

Pick a track. It's easy to hear where the man gets his voice.

(Soundbite of song)

Mr. HARPER SIMON (Singer): (Singing) Everyone seems so certain. Everyone knows who they are.

PEARSON: Some performers might be flattered to hear they sound like Paul Simon. Harper, now 37, sounds conflicted.

Mr. SIMON: Is that true? Sometimes you hear people and they sound like their parents and it kind of makes you cringe.

(Soundbite of song)

Mr. SIMON: (Singing) They all got more friends than they can use. Except me �cause I'm a fool.

PEARSON: As a younger performer, Harper says he sought to avoid the comparison. Paul Simon played folk music, Harper got into punk.

Mr. SIMON: I just didn't have the voice. It doesn't carry over the loud distorted guitars. So I had to go back to the acoustic guitar, �cause actually it suits my voice.

(Soundbite of song)

Mr. SIMON: (Singing) It's even money, you think it's funny if I got a pie in the face.

PEARSON: Simon says the album is a tribute to rock records he admires from the '60s and '70s. Think Bob Dylan's �Blonde on Blonde� or The Byrds' �Sweetheart of the Rodeo.� And he even recruited some of the same players.

(Soundbite of song)

Mr. SIMON: (Singing) The northern winds have found their home�

PEARSON: With help from a producer known for his work with Dylan and Johnny Cash, Simon booked a group of veteran Nashville session musicians.

Harper's dad, Paul Simon, also helped write songs. Harper toured with Simon as a teen and even joined him onstage occasionally. But he says this was the first time the two ever really collaborated.

Mr. SIMON: And I didn't intend to collaborate with him. I guess he got inspired, and I had so many tracks, I was kind of swamped. So I was happy that someone was going to try to solve some problems for me. You know, what can I say? He's a good writer.

PEARSON: Harper Simon says he never thought it would take this long to find his voice. So maybe it's fitting that with this album, an album he made with help from his father and other early musical influences, he may have done just that.

(Soundbite of song)

Mr. SIMON: (Singing) Someday you'll find out who you are. Someday you'll be more than just a shooting star.

PEARSON: Vince Pearson, NPR News.

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