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Musician David Saw believes in good luck charms: Among the many objects the 33-year-old carries in the pocket of his favorite brown velvet blazer is a jade fish, given to him by childhood idol Carly Simon.
And tonight the folk legend herself will join Saw onstage at Joe’s Pub, where she’ll perform old hits as well as songs from her new album, “This Kind of Love,” out the same day. As for Saw, he’s in the middle of a bicoastal tour to promote his latest album, “Broken Down Figure,” out now on Iris Records, a label owned by Ben Taylor, Simon’s son with James Taylor.
This story first appeared in the April 29, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Singing with Simon is a situation that Saw, who grew up in a working-class suburb of London, could have scarcely dreamed of when he picked up his first guitar at age eight. His affection for the instrument (not to mention the pretty girls it attracted) led to many skipped classes, hours spent at a local guitar shop and gigs with a local band. In 2005, he met Ben Taylor at Ginglik, an underground venue located in Shepherd’s Bush Green. “Our eyes met across a crowded bar,” Saw jokes. The very next night, the duo decided to play an impromptu 2 a.m. concert in Camden Town and they’ve been inseparable ever since.
Following their London bacchanals, Taylor invited Saw to his mother’s Martha’s Vineyard home, where Saw settled down in his friend’s childhood bedroom. The constant creative energy at the Simon-Taylor residence resulted in innumerable late-night performances and several collaborations.
One night, for example, Simon came downstairs to find her son and Saw jamming in the kitchen. They were playing “Quiet Evening,” a song Saw wrote at age 16 but had never recorded. “She turned around and said she was going to record this song on her album the next day,” recalls Saw. “I thought she was joking, but she was serious.” Indeed, the song ended up on Simon’s 2007 album, “Into White.”
In turn, Taylor helped Saw produce “Broken Down Figure,” an album that captures the travails of unrequited love. Among the songs is “Savannah’s World,” which the singer-songwriter dedicates to a 14-year-old British schoolgirl who confessed her love to him through MySpace, asking him to marry her. “She was having family problems and stuff like that,” he says. “I basically ended up writing a song about her to tell her to calm down a little bit.”
And for Simon’s forthcoming album, Saw copenned “How Can You Ever Forget.” “He’s the only person that’s let me get away with telling everybody that I’ve written his songs,” says Simon affectionately.
Of collaborating with his hero, Saw is shockingly calm. “I don’t think you really decide to work together,” he says. “It’s how things just happen.”