The Simon and Garfunkel story. (DM Civic Center photo)

Musicians portraying one of the most successful folk-rock duos of all time will make one stop in Iowa on their national tour this week.

George Clements is 37 and wasn’t even born when Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel were hugely popular in the 1960s and ’70. Clements portrays Simon in “The Simon and Garfunkel Story,” an immersive concert-style performance which features huge projection screens for original film footage and a full live band.

“We speak in third person as ourselves,” Clements says, “so there’s really not a lot of acting going on, but we do change our outfits as time progresses throughout the stories.” Clements says his parents were amateur singer/songwriters and they loved folk-rock.
“I grew up with ‘The Sound of Silence,’ ‘Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme,’ ‘Bookends’ and ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water,’ those albums were in my house,” Clements says, “and in high school actually, ‘Sound of Silence’ was kind of like a staple in my rotation of CDs and I owned.”

Clements graduated from Berklee College of Music in 2014 and over the past five years, toured internationally as the lead singer for the modern acoustic group, Lonely Heartstring Band. When that band went on hiatus, he says his guitar teacher told him about “The Simon and Garfunkel Story.”

George Clements. (DM Civic Center photo)

“I’d never done a tribute show or theater work before but I certainly think this would be something I could do so, I went down to New York and auditioned with about 20 other short, singer songwriter types,” he laughs, “and I got the gig.” The playlist for the show includes 28 of the songs that helped Simon & Garfunkel sell more than 100-million albums since 1965. The duo collected ten Grammy Awards and they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.

Clements anticipates that most of the audience will know the songs by heart. “The majority of the demographic is an older crowd that grew up with this music and want to just want to hear it again,” Clements says, “but we do get the occasional 20-something or 30-something that’s just a fan of the music and they’ll come and check it out.”

Born in Illinois and raised in Maine, Clements lives in Boston when he’s not on the road. His late grandmother lived in Des Moines so he’s been to Iowa many times over the years. The show is one night only, Saturday, at the Des Moines Civic Center.

Radio Iowa