Just in time for the release of his new compilation, "The Singer," Art Garfunkel is singing again.
Garfunkel, who was sidelined with vocal paresis in 2010 -- scratching a planned Simon & Garfunkel North American tour -- recorded a pair of new songs for "The Singer, "Lena" and "Long Way Home," both produced by Maia Sharp.
Listen to "Lena"
"You bet I'm grateful," Garfunkel tells Billboard. "I could fall to my knees with gratefulness to God for allowing the verb 'mending' to be part of the picture. I didn't count on anything like the voice coming back. I counted on nothing. I was just kind of depressed over, 'How come I can't sing, man?' The doctors would say '...the direction is towards mending,' but, gee, the slowness was hard."
Now, in addition to the new material on "The Singer" -- which comes out Aug. 28 -- Garfunkel feels that "I need to get back on the stage now. There's enough recovery to go for it. I told the manager I want to create the groove of working again. If I can get back into that routine, maybe routine helps singing."
He'll take it easy on his voice, however, by playing with a piano and guitar duo on his recently launched tour.
"I'm going to go after that silky thing I can do, with an emptier backing," Garfunkel says. "I've rarely worked so empty. There's no low register that we're going to use on many of these songs, but we'll fill up the sound picture with the right mix that puts the vocal in the right place. The mix is everything."
Garfunkel's next live date is set for Sept. 6 in Hartford, Conn. He's also scheduled to play Boston, Milwaukee and eleven other U.S. cities, as well as three nights in Sweden, through the end of the year.
As for making up the canceled 2010 shows with Paul Simon, or doing more together, Garfunkel is circumspect.
"I call that the big bang for your buck," he explains. "If you get the Queens partner to tap the love he has for me and bring it to a bunch of rehearsals and have the business people book a tour, that's called good effort for a lot of sweetness. We have a lovely, poetic, nice thing to bring to people when we blend together. I want to put that all over the world. So now go to Paul and tell him that."
In the meantime, Garfunkel, who's also working on a memoir, is happy with "The Singer," a two-disc, 34-track set that follows Simon's 2011 compilation "The Songwriter."
"I felt excited by the chance to move to the center of the stage and be the guy who sings, with and without Paul" explains Garfunkel, who personally oversaw the project. "I thought it was an interesting format I had never quite done. I really tried to be very personal; only I know best where I pulled the vocal off really good. That's what I look for. So if the listener's headphones are on and there's real attention for a bunch of songs and you follow the flow of what's happening, you end up going, 'The singer can sing!'"