The impressive Instagram campaign by musicians Rusty and Kelsy Vining attracted several hundred followers by the time they attended a Simon concert in Detroit, just prior to his retirement announcement.
Grand Rapids musicians Rusty and Kelsy Vining love legendary singer-songwriter Paul Simon so much, they launched an Instagram tribute: The couple captured 100 covers of his songs on video, posting one per day, in the months leading up to his June show in suburban Detroit.
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So earlier this week, the Vinings were stunned to learn that the 74-year-old legendary singer-songwriter is weary of “showbiz” and now contemplating retirement (as reported by The New York Times) – and even more thrilled that they got a chance to see him June 19 at Meadow Brook Amphitheater.
“We are very happy we saw him,” Kelsy Vining conceded. “We are so grateful to have been able to see him live, especially after (hearing of) the announcement.”
Actually, the Vinings had hoped the Instagram effort would help them meet Simon — half of the 1960s hit-making duo Simon & Garfunkel — at the Rochester Hills concert, which happened to fall on their wedding anniversary. They were unsuccessful, but enjoyed the concert and did garner 600 followers for their “Songs for Paul” social media project.
Rusty Vining said he and his wife have both been Paul Simon fans for as long as they can remember.
“I started asking myself questions like ‘Why are things the way they are?’ and ‘If things were different, would we be better off?’” he said. “Paul Simon writes about a lot of these existential questions I had started asking myself, so I was drawn to his music the instant I heard it. It’s about exploring what we have in common, instead of focusing on our differences.
“It’s meant to be shared with everybody.”
CHECK OUT THE VININGS’ PAUL SIMON INSTAGRAM JOURNEY ONLINE HERE
The Vinings have been members of several West Michigan bands. Rusty Vining began playing guitar at the age of 9, and started playing in bands when he was 12, including Birds on a Wire, Skies Revolt and, with Kelsy, Patchwork. He now is part of Valedictorian and has his own project, The Reckless Remnant.
Both musicians have day jobs away from their musical pursuits: Kelsy at Family Promise, a shelter program for homeless families, while Rusty works in catering for G.B. Russo & Son.
Some of the duo’s favorite tracks from the “Songs for Paul” project include “Punky’s Dilemma,” “Loves Me like a Rock” and “Still Crazy After All These Years.”
“A lot of these songs have a deeper meaning that even casual listeners can understand and connect with,” Rusty Vining said.
Even though the couple wasn’t able to meet Simon, they’re grateful that they got the experience of working on this project and seeing their idol on stage.
Kelsy has always loved Simon’s music, whether it was listening to it or singing along.
“Even if we don’t meet Paul, the experience has been worth it,” said Kelsy, who loves listening to and singing his music. “It’s been fun.”
Follow the Vinings on Facebook and on Instagram @songsforpaul. You can also learn more about the project and watch some snippets of their performances in the video below.
VIDEO: Rusty and Kelsy Vining’s 100 Paul Simon Songs in 100 Days
Copyright 2016, Spins on Music LLC