“[Leonard Cohen] never has explained why he works with me. He’s very generous and gracious. I think that I was just able to provide an atmosphere that’s comfortable for him to express himself and get his work done.” Sharon Robinson

From The California Girl and the Ladies’ Man by Doug Saunders. Toronto’s Globe & Mail: October 11, 2001. Accessed 19 May 2014; 2:25 PM at Ten New Songs. Originally posted May 19, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“In a certain way Ten New Songs is an answer to The Future.” Leonard Cohen

When I heard your album “The Future” I felt certain that this would be your final work. It seemed to me that there was nothing much left to say. Did this occur to you, and if so, what inspired you to release another album?

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In a certain way Ten New Songs is an answer to The Future.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

Online Web Chat October 16, 2001.

“[Ten New Songs is] deceptively spare, like a Sade record, with an agreeable groove from beginning to end. You can lean on it, relax into it. There are doors and windows you can enter if you have the time” Leonard Cohen

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[Ten New Songs is] deceptively spare, like a Sade record, with an agreeable groove from beginning to end. You can lean on it, relax into it. There are doors and windows you can enter if you have the time, and I don’t think there’ll be disappointment with the furniture and appointments. It may seem to be a spare outer surface, but with investigation much filigree and ornament can be discerned. It may not be apparent, but it is there.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen by Eric Rudolph (Mix: Feb 1, 2002)

“The most I can hope for is that the songs [from the Ten New Songs album] in some small way have some utility in providing solace, because they are gentle and on the side of healing in some sort of way.” Leonard Cohen

From Look Who’s Back at 67: Gentle Leonard Cohen by Frank DiGiacomo. New York Observer: Oct 15, 2001. Note: Originally posted May 10, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“For me, singing has always been a struggle. Sharon [Robinson], who is a very skillful musician, promised me she wouldn’t write any tunes with more than four or five notes.” Leonard Cohen On Ten New Songs

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The album [Ten New Songs] I think could be described as a duet. Personally, when I listen to my songs, I’m always more comfortable when my voice is surrounded by harmonies, which to me would naturally suggest the female voice. I never had much confidence in my voice. My son [Adam Cohen] sings beautifully, he has perfect pitch, but I’ve never really been able to hit a note right. For me, singing has always been a struggle. Sharon [Robinson], who is a very skillful musician, promised me she wouldn’t write any tunes with more than four or five notes.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From Songs Of Love, Not Hate by Sylvie Simmons. Yahoo! Music: Oct 8, 2001.

“Ten New Songs – There’s a sense of relaxation in the tunes that comes through, there’s a kind of pulse, an invitation to get into it – a groove. A lot of people have danced to it… well, actually, one person. And she was erm, an executive of Sony in France, & she’s a trained dancer.” Leonard Cohen

From I Never Discuss My Mistresses Or My Tailors by Nick Paton Walsh. The Observer, October 14, 2001

“There were dogs barking, birds singing, garbage trucks. Also, occasionally Leonard [Cohen] would forget to turn off the Jacuzzi that is adjacent to the studio” Leanne Ungar On Recording Ten New Songs

Tracking final vocals in Cohen’s home studio (which, despite its reasonably high-tech trappings, [Leanne] Ungar says “is not acoustically isolated”) was an environmental challenge. “There were dogs barking, birds singing, garbage trucks. Also, occasionally Leonard would forget to turn off the Jacuzzi that is adjacent to the studio — the studio resides in a second story Cohen added above his garage, next to his Los Angeles home. When you’re involved in doing vocals and your ears are full of track, it is easy to not notice these noises,” Ungar says. She removed most of these sounds, but says she can still hear their remnants on the finished CD.

Leanne Ungar is a sound engineer and producer, who worked on several Leonard Cohen albums, beginning with New Skin for the Old Ceremony.

Leonard Cohen by Eric Rudolph (Mix: Feb 1, 2002)

“Working with Leonard [Cohen] was a dream. In terms of the man/woman thing, he always respected you fully as an equal.” Sharon Robinson

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As soon as I met Leonard at that Field Commander Cohen audition, we seemed to hit it off. There was a really nice chemistry. He was extremely gracious and hospitable and warm. He seemed to like me right off the bat, so it was very comfortable. He hadn’t made an album for six years before Ten New Songs and was looking for a way to express these lyrics he’d written that would feel like a whole body of work – that’s how we ended up doing the whole project together. He was interested in soul and blues and R&B, all of that. We often referred back to the blues greats and to the Muscle Shoals stuff. Working with Leonard was a dream. In terms of the man/woman thing, he always respected you fully as an equal. Discussing all sorts of things that were on his mind was part of the friendship, part of the interaction. Leonard had an immeasurable wisdom and intellect, and was able to access it and put it into his work. He spent a lot of time on these words. Working and then re-working them brought another level of depth that probably even he couldn’t predict. That’s why his songs are so timely – and so timeless. He worked on it so much. Leonard would send me a lyric, and I’d go to my piano and try to understand where the verse was and what the chords should be, and just shape it into less of a poem and more of a song lyric, if you will, without changing any of the words. Sometimes I would change the order, or I’d decide, ‘Okay, this stanza should be the chorus.’ And I would build a melody and chord changes based on my interpretation of the lyrics. I’d present a couple of ideas to Leonard and then we worked through the rest of it together.quotedown2

Sharon Robinson

 

Quotation from Happy Birthday, Leonard Cohen by Abby Steward. Hot Press: Sept 2017. Photo by Dominique BOILE.