Posts Tagged ‘Leonard Cohen’

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Over two nights at the Royal Dramaten Theatre in Stockholm in March 2017, Swedish indie/folk act First Aid Kit paid tribute to the songs and poetry of Leonard Cohen. They did so with an ambitious theatrical staging that involved guest actors and artists, and eight-piece band with strings and a twenty-piece choir. ‘Who By Fire’, a double-LP live album, commemorates those two evenings. there’s a long history of covers of leonard cohen tracks showing just how incredible the canadian’s song writing was. First Aid Kit are the latest to breathe new life into his songs on this “theatrical staging” of his songs, poems and letters. we can think of few better people to take on his unparalleled canon than the Swedish duo – this will be stunning. that (famous) blue (raincoat) wax looks lush too!

First Aid Kit have announced that they’ll be releasing a live tribute album to Leonard Cohen, originally performed across two nights. Made up of 20 tracks of songs, poems, and letters, the duo were joined by Swedish guest artists, an 8 person band & strings, two actors, as well as a 20+ person choir on two of the songs. Conceived and anchored by First Aid Kit, the band are joined by an array of guest artists, two actors, an 8 member band and strings and on two songs a 20 strong choir. an incredibly ambitious undertaking, they selected and sequenced all of the material performed and collaborated with the theatre and their music director to stage and orchestrate the show.

Speaking today about Who By Fire, the Söderberg sisters say: “We recently listened back to this concert and realized that this was something out of the ordinary for us. It was a challenge to create a performance that wasn’t centered around First Aid Kit songs. It was something we’d never done before, but everything came together so well. Dwelling deeply into Cohen’s world was a pleasure, he was so prolific as both a poet and a songwriter, and everything he ever put out held a very strong standard. He cared immensely for his work. The band, the guest artists, the atmosphere on stage…everyone had a great passion and it felt magical. This is definitely a record that is best enjoyed listening to back-to-back with no interruptions. Allow yourself to just disappear into Cohen’s world for a little while.

“We decided not to edit any of the performances. The flaws are part of the live experience. In a time when you sadly can’t go to an actual physical live show, you can listen to this and imagine you were there…”

Who By Fire is Swedish sister duo First Aid Kit’s tribute to Leonard Cohen. Recorded live, they were joined by an array of fellow Swedish guest artists, an eight-person band & strings, two actors, as well as a 20+ person choir on two of the songs. Double indie shop exclusive LP pressing on Blue vinyl.

‘Who By Fire’ Tracklisting:
1. Tired (First Aid Kit, Nina Zanjani, Maia Hansson-Bergqvist)
2. Suzanne (First Aid Kit)
3. Sisters of Mercy (First Aid Kit, Nina Zanjani, Maia Hansson-Bergqvist)
4. Who by Fire / As The Mist Leaves No Scar (First Aid Kit, Nina Zanjani, Maia Hansson-Bergqvist)
5. Twelve O’Clock Chant (First Aid Kit, Nina Zanjani, Maia Hansson-Bergqvist)
6. Everybody Knows (Frida Hyvönen, First Aid Kit)
7. Avalanche (Loney Dear)
8. The Future (Maia Hansson-Bergqvist, First Aid Kit, Nina Zanjani)
9. Chelsea Hotel No.5 (Jesper Lindell, First Aid Kit)
10. You Want It Darker (First Aid Kit, Nina Zanjani, Maia Hansson-Bergqvist)
11. If It Be Your Will (First Aid Kit)
12. The Asthmatic (Nina Zanjani, Maia Hansson-Bergqvist, First Aid Kit)
13. Famous Blue Raincoat / Anthem (Maja Francis, First Aid Kit, Nina Zanjani)
14. Show Me The Place (Jesper Lindell, First Aid Kit)
15. Hallelujah (Annika Norlin, First Aid Kit)
16. Prayer for Messiah (Klara Söderberg)
17. Bird on the Wire (First Aid Kit )
18. Who by Fire (Reprise) / Letter to Marianne (First Aid Kit, Nina Zanjani, Maia Hansson-Bergqvist)
19. So Long Marianne (First Aid Kit, Frida Hyvönen, Loney Dear, Jesper Lindell, Annika Norlin, Maja Francis, Nina Zanjani, Maia Hansson-Bergqvist)
20. You’d Sing Too (Johanna Söderberg)


“Avalanche” was the first Leonard Cohen song Nick Cave ever heard, as the lead-off track to Cohen’s third album “Songs of Love and Hate”. Cave comments  “I discovered Leonard Cohen with Songs of Love and Hate,” Cave said in a 1994 interview on French radio. “I listened to this record for hours in a friend’s house. I was very young and I believe this was the first record that really had an effect on me. In the past, I only listened to my brother’s records. I liked what he liked, followed him like a sheep. Leonard Cohen was the first one I discovered by myself. He is the symbol of my musical independence. I remember these other guys that came to my friend’s house that thought Songs of Love and Hate was too depressing. I’ve realized that this ‘depression’ theory was ridiculous. The sadness of Cohen was inspiring, it gave me a lot of energy. I always remember all this when someone says that my records are morbid or depressing.”

Fittingly, Nick Cave’s cover was probably the first song of his many heard, as the lead-off track of his first album with longtime backing back the Bad Seeds in 1984. Thirty-one years and a few other Cohen covers later (“Hallelujah,” “I’m Your Man,” “Tower of Song,” “Suzanne,” “Dress Rehearsal Rag”) Cave has revisited that first song for the Starz pirate show Black Sails. It strips it back to just a piano and haunting violin, presumably played by Cave’s longtime collaborator Warren Ellis.

Fairport Convention remain a footnote in the careers of Richard Thompson, who was already growing into one of the most remarkable guitarists in British folk and rock , The band also included Ian Matthews and Ric Grech among others.  Heralded as one of the truly great folk rock British bands of the late ’60s. Initially inspired by American rock and folk  ( the band started out as the U.K.’s response to Jefferson Airplane as you can certainly hear in this song ) , they were immersed in songs by such artists as Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan, the Everly Brothers and Leonard Cohen. Though their take on “Suzanne” which failed to end up on their debut LP, a version was finally released on “Heyday”, a 1987 collection of BBC recordings. first released in 1987. As its title suggests, it consists of live versions of songs recorded for John Peels’s Top Gear radio programmes. They electrify the song and give it an edge only hinted at in the Leonard Cohen original with the gorgeous vocal of Sandy Denny’s. 

I think this is the best interpretation and live version of Leonard Cohen´s classic song.
Performed by Jeff Buckley, one of the guitarists and vocalists I admire most.
This song was recorded on May 13th, 1995, at Cabaret Metro, during the Mistery White Boy tour.

In a tragic case of what could’ve been, Jeff Buckley left the world with only one album to his name. Despite the posthumous release of his incomplete second album and countless reissues of Buckley’s tiny discography, the ten songs that make up Grace is better than what most artists do in an entire career.

Grace is an audacious debut album, filled with sweeping choruses, bombastic arrangements, searching lyrics, and above all, the richly textured voice of Jeff Buckley himself, which resembled a cross between Robert Plant, Van Morrison, and his father Tim. And that’s a fair starting point for his music: Grace sounds like a Led Zeppelin album written by an ambitious folkie with a fondness for lounge jazz. At his best — the soaring title track, “Last Goodbye,” and the mournful “Lover, You Should’ve Come Over” — Buckley’s grasp met his reach with startling result.



Los Angeles Band  Black English with Laura Burhenn of the Mynabirds covering “Suzanne” by Leonard Cohen