In a year pock-marked by artistic loss, the passing of Leonard Cohen in 2016 particularly stung. With a body of work spanning 14 albums over the course of five decades, Cohen’s influence is boundless, his words and music embedding themselves in the DNA of not just music, but culture writ large. No stranger to tribute […]
Archive for the 'Leonard Cohen' Category
“He was looking forward to playing Israel,” writes Leonard Cohen’s biographer Sylvie Simmons of the songwriter’s first tour of the Holy Land in 1972. “He was terrified of playing Israel.” The kickoff show in Tel Aviv was certainly eventful, as a tape of the gig shows us all these years later. You wouldn’t think that […]
Leonard Cohen’s “Suzanne” is a strange, haunting thing. Largely carried by Cohen’s monotone, yet slightly lilting voice and sparse guitar accompaniment, the song evokes a dark, ambiguous feeling. The angelic backing vocals and seraphic strings that periodically emerge give the song a heavenly relief – a bittersweet release of giving yourself into a formless and […]
Robert Altman’s 1971 film McCabe & Mrs. Miller is a western quite unlike any other. It has in fact been described as an anti-western. Gone are the heroic, alpha-male and defenseless female archetypes, the numerous and gratuitous gunfights and the proud American spirit. In their stead is a quiet, moody and subtle depiction of frontier […]
Old Ideas, Leonard Cohen’s first studio release since 2004’s Dear Heather, sets a new paragraph in what has been an exhilarating late chapter in a lengthy career. After breaking with his management following an ugly legal battle that left him essentially penniless, Cohen embarked on a lengthy tour, selling out arenas throughout Europe and his […]
Bill Callahan’s dark country & western croon takes on “So long, Marianne,” the opening track off side two of Leonard Cohen’s 1968 debut, Songs of Leonard Cohen. Slowing things down, Callahan and co. eschew the original’s violin and backing female vocals and in their stead add weeping pedal-steel and a dose of Texas heartache. The cover […]
Leonard Cohen’s Old Ideas, his 12th studio album, will be released a week from today. If I might I offer a suggestion, listen to the album cold – sans any outside editorial critique. You’ll be glad you did…it’s worth it. You can stream to the record, in its entirety, here.