Leonard Cohen One Of “Country Music’s Fallen Greats of 2016”

lc-cowboyhatIn the wake of Leonard Cohen’s death, many print and online tributes focused on one or another aspect of Leonard’s life or career (e.g., concerts played in certain countries or cities, interviews with specific writers or entertainment/news outlets). While these slants resulted from a certain chauvinism, they do sometimes offer the benefit of emphasizing often overlooked features of Leonard’s talents and impact. In this case, his inclusion in In Memoriam – Country Music’s Fallen Greats of 2016 by Kyle Coroneos (Saving Country Music: December 30, 2016) spotlights country music as a genre that both influenced and was influenced by Leonard Cohen.

Leonard Cohen – November 7th

…Incredibly revered by a beloved crowd of creative types ranging all across the musical and literary world, Cohen was irreplaceably influential on so many songwriters specifically in the way he could weave verse on subjects and emotions so many of us otherwise find too esoteric to communicate. Though Leonard Cohen is rarely identified with country (he was mostly considered a folk artist), you will be hard pressed to find a country music songwriter worth their salt who wasn’t touched by Cohen’s influence in some way, if not overtly challenged by the bar he set for all in the songwriting craft in country music and beyond. But a little known fact about Cohen is that he could have been, and maybe should have been, a country music songwriter and performer. Cohen’s very first musical experience was in a country band called The Buckskin Boys while attending high school in Quebec. It was during this time that he switched from playing regular style acoustic guitar to a more classical, Flamenco style. In 1966 when Leonard Cohen set out to become a professional composer, his plan was to move to Nashville and become a country music songwriter. But somewhere on that path he got sidetracked, and instead fell in with the folk scene in New York. If this seemingly simple decision had gone the other way, it could have significantly changed this history of country, and folk from the incredible impact Cohen could have left on the country space.

Credit Due Department: Photo by Anne M Bray

Brilliant Photos & Moving Review: Leonard Cohen Concert at Benicassim International Festival 2008

europa2008-005I swear I was not emotionally prepared for what was to happen on the last day of the 2008 Benicàssim International Festival. I swear. If I could have imagined that everything that happened was really happening, I might even be afraid of having a heart attack in the middle of the audience, I wiggled, there are things the heart can not take anymore. The heart, at this moment, still beats. The body is a mess and I do not know if I have recovered emotionally yet. We will see…

These striking photos and an equally stirring review (excerpt above via Google Translate) of the July 20, 2014 Leonard Cohen Benicassim concert embody the personal investment of photojournalist Marcelo Costa in this music. His take on Leonard Cohen’s performance at that show can be found at FIB 2008, Domingo (Scream & Yell Brazil: July 21, 2008). Happily, Marcelo has graciously allowed the posting of his photos here. Credit Due Department: Photos by Marcelo Costa / Scream & Yell Brazil

New Book: Leonard Cohen: The Complete A-Z Songbook Guide: All the Songs, 1967-2016

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Dominique BOILE notes the announcement of a new Leonard Cohen book on the French Amazon Site:

A beautiful and poetic indulgence into the inspiring work of Leonard Cohen.

This interactive songbook includes all of Cohen’s known work, with complete lyrics, accompanied by quotes and stories for each song. A comprehensive and thoughtful collection of lyrics and poems, thoughtfully constructed to celebrate Leonard’s life.

This Kindle e-book is fully interactive, containing links and drop-down menus for each song.

Soon to be paperback! Look for Leonard Cohen: The Complete Songbook Guide in bookshops early 2017.

 

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 1416 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l’édition imprimée : 42 pages
  • Utilisation simultanée de l’appareil : Illimité
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B01MR12LLV

 

“Kaddish for Leonard Cohen” By George Elliott Clarke, 7th Parliamentary Poet Laureate

kadd3Kaddish for Leonard Cohen
George Elliott Clarke
7th Parliamentary Poet Laureate (2016-17)
11 November 2016

Kaddish for Leonard Cohen

(a la maniere d’Allen Ginsberg)

This terrible, irritable dawn–
This morning of Mourning–
His obituary crowbars apart
Prophecy and Nostalgia….

Always native to Heaven,
Minting gleaming melodies,
Freeing a nailed-down Christ,
Obeying the mating-calls

Of mandolins and guitars, he
Never abstained from Liberty,
Never lost the Intelligence
Of Dylan-dark sunglasses

And light making masterpieces
Of shambles, or lighting up
Cages where lovers loll,
Lousy with tears and sighs….

Poet of Everything,
He transcended conclaves
Of critics, the murders
Of poets, all those copycats–

Sordid franchisees of blues–
Every presidency serving up
Immaculate Corruption, the stale,
white bread circulated with grease….

His insatiable suitcase,
Portaging Gog and Magog
(In eastern Quebec), Hydra,
Rue Main, Manhattan, Havana,

Pursued the ghosts of Glory–
Parliaments of movie screens–
Fiestas of butterflies, and secret
Eros, Eros, everywhere….

After auditing the News,
I suffered the insomnia
Of steel nails, heads battered
Until drowsy, woozy in wood.

Eternity expires as eyes close–
Or we succumb to sobbing….
But the honest poet voids
The dirty mind of Grief,

Knows the poet’s grave
Is his deathless poems–
Dark, remorseless Beauty–
Light that scalpels eyes open.

Credit Due Department: Thanks to George Elliott Clarke for allowing the posting of his poem on this site and to Mace Rosenstein, who alerted me to this poem.

Insights For Life Today From Leonard Cohen’s Song Lyrics

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12 Insightful Nuggets from Leonard Cohen’s Songs: Wisdom for Troubled Times by Virginia Small (AlterNet: November 18, 2016) offers thoughtful comments on selected Leonard Cohen song lyrics. I’ve included one of the 12 nuggets to offer a taste of the article, all of which is available at the link:

6. Tough times call for clear-eyed vision and empathy. “The Future (1992) is prophetically stark: “Give me back the Berlin Wall/give me Stalin and St. Paul/Give me Christ/or give me Hiroshima…I’ve seen the future, baby: it is murder.”

Cohen explained to Rolling Stone in 2009 that “The Future” and “Democracy” were on his concert set list, “because their apocalyptic vision seems truer now than when they were recorded. People really thought I needed help back then,” Cohen told the reporter, laughing.

The song warns: “Things are going to slide, slide in all directions/…the blizzard of the world/has crossed the threshold/And it has overturned/the order of the soul.” Nevertheless, he offers a way out: “I’ve seen the nations rise and fall/I’ve heard their stories, heard them all/But love’s the only engine of survival.”

Leonard Cohen’s You Want It Darker #1 On Artists Direct Top Albums Of 2016

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1. Leonard Cohen — You Want It Darker — Columbia Records

As should be no surprise, Leonard Cohen made the most definitive comment on 2016 with his album title. He told us, we “want it darker” and from the look of the current landscape, he couldn’t have been more spot on. He passed away just two weeks after the record was released, leaving us to decipher the final work of one of the finest writers of multiple generations. Much like “Hallelujah”, it may be years before anyone can really understand the importance and relevance of the final gift Leonard Cohen left to the world.

From Top Albums Of 2016: 1 – 10 (Artists Direct: Dec 29, 2016)