Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ Share on Reddit Share on Pinterest Share on Linkedin Share on Tumblr Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel will always be inexorably linked, even though the duo ceased making records together 46 years ago. This fact must be especially trying on Garfunkel who, unlike Simon, didn’t enjoy a solo career quite as fruitful as his diminutive former partner. Not to say the man isn’t talented. While Garfunkel does not possess the sometimes otherworldly songwriter chops that Simon was gifted with, he was born with a beautiful, honeyed voice. How tragic it must have been for the singer when he suffered a vocal cord paresis in 2010 that robbed him of that attribute. Garfunkel’s insecurities and gifts were both on display at Portland’s Revolution Hall last week during a lovely and intimate performance. The singer, nearly recovered from his vocal cord issues, gave a two-hour show filled with Simon and Garfunkel favorites, deep solo cuts and a clutch of poetry about everything from fame to fatherhood to death. Meticulous and well-executed, the show felt more like a Spalding Gray monologue with music than a mercenary rock ‘n’ roll show. “I like pretty things,” Garfunkel claimed at one point, a statement that rang true through the 16 songs he selected to play. Beginning with “April Come She Will,” Garfunkel’s show was both emotional and inspirational. Unlike Simon, who I saw earlier this year and only played three of the duo’s songs, Garfunkel anchored his set with these much-loved classics, giving us delicate versions of “Homeward Bound” “The Boxer,” “Kathy’s Song” and more. It makes sense. Before playing solo song “Bright Eyes,” Garfunkel groused that it was a hit pretty much everywhere else in the world. It must be difficult living in Paul Simon’s shadow. There was no Paul-baiting that night, however. Garfunkel was gracious, listing his ex-partner as one of his top five songwriters (along with Randy Newman and James Taylor) and even calling him “friend” during the show. Feuds can be fascinating, but the most disarming moments came when Garfunkel was honest about his fears about losing his voice and instances from that past that still haunt him. Before singing “Scarborough Fair,” Garfunkel recounted the 1979 suicide of his lover Laurie Bird, claiming that whenever he sang the song, he sings it for her. Spine-tingling interludes such as these were common, especially when Garfunkel sang a snippet in Hebrew after telling a story about his childhood or when he read a poem about his father who passed away 25 years ago. Garfunkel’s poems will be published by Alfred A. Knopf next year, a late stage victory for the singer. And while many of the poems were quite good, the music was the main attraction. Accompanied only by guitarist Tab Laven, Garfunkel gave us the goods. When I saw Paul Simon, he ended the show with a funereal, solo version of “The Sound of Silence.” Here, Garfunkel turned that song into a stomping rock number, rising from his stool to pace the stage as he sang. Garfunkel has a reputation of being difficult and despite the warm performance, some of his more prickly quirks peppered the evening. We were expressly forbidden to take photos or video of the performance, and, if we left, we wouldn’t be re-admitted until a break between songs. At one point, Garfunkel ceased the show until a curtain in front of a door on the balcony was shut and he complained about the stage being too cold. But after nearly six decades in show business, hasn’t he earned it? Garfunkel proved that evening that he is more than just a singer, he is a legitimate artist, a status that has unfairly eluded him all these years.