Garth Brooks, Eric Church Among Performers for Paul Simon Tribute Special

by Joe Rutland
(Photo by Shannon Finney/Getty Images)

Country music superstars Garth Brooks and Eric Church were among the performers taking part in a Paul Simon tribute special. The amazing singers did join others in paying homage to Paul Simon, one of the most respected singers and songwriters in music.

They were part of an event that took place on Wednesday in Los Angeles. titled “Homeward Bound: A Grammy Salute to the Songs of Paul Simon.” It will air on CBS at a time to be determined. This taping was at L.A.’s Pantages Theatre and was open to the public.

Garth Brooks, Eric Church, Trisha Yearwood Show Up For Paul Simon Special

Other performers on there did include Trisha Yearwood, Brad Paisley, Little Big Town, Dave Matthews, Billy Porter, Rhiannon Giddens, Angélique Kidjo, Trombone Shorty, Shaggy, Take 6, and Irma Thomas. Also, Stevie Wonder, the Jonas Brothers, Jimmy Cliff, Ledisi, the Bangles’ Susanna Hoffs, and Eric Idle in tandem with Puddles Pity Party were there.

Presenters did include Oprah Winfrey, Dustin Hoffman, Woody Harrelson, Herbie Hancock, and Sophia Carson. Sting and Bonnie Raitt appeared on the big screen during the live show. They did previously filmed appearances. Brandi Carlile did bow out of an in-person appearance. It is believed that she’ll be part of the show when it airs later this year. We get more from Variety.

Kidjo did take part in a “Graceland”/South-African-themed segment alongside Matthews and Take 6. Porter did a full-gospel performance of “Loves Me Like a Rock” with help from Take 6.

Oprah Winfrey Makes Surprise Appearance On Show

Winfrey did make a surprise appearance to introduce a climactic three-song set by Simon. She said, “I am out in an enclosed space, with people [who] are not my family, for the first time since March 2020.” She tells Paul Simon, alluding to the lyrics of “The Boy in the Bubble,” she said, “Your music has indeed brought us miracle and wonder.”

This Paul Simon playlist is from selections by executive producer Ken Ehrlich, who produced the Grammys for 40 years. He’s also done other “Grammy Salute” tapings and tributes to Elton John, Whitney Houston, the Bee Gees, and the Beatles.

But the last one of these to take place before a live audience, the Grammys’ salute to Prince, went down a little over two years ago, just before lockdown. Most of these have been done at the L.A. Convention Center, where production elements are usually already in play from the preceding Grammys.

But the Grammys were held in Las Vegas this year. It allows producers to pick another place for this Grammy Salute. The Pantages is the pick with elegance to it. Ehrlich says he was enjoying it as a Grammy-special setting for the first time in decades.