Rehearsing is always a pleasure. Especially when it’s for one of my favourite small festivals – Melbourne Ukulele Festival – and one of my favourite songwriters – Leonard Cohen. I was going to post a clip of Leonard singing Come Healing live in Dublin, but the musical wormhole is a rich place. So much material to digest and I thought you might like Teddy Thompson’s version of The Ballad of the Absent Mare.
When I left Melbourne for the country, I remember people saying to me that I was leaving any hope of a musical career. What they didn’t understand is that country audiences are wonderful and while it may be a different musical career, it’s a more connected one. I find country audiences are more varied – people come together when something is on because there’s not so much choice as the city – and often they’re more open to what is presented. With that comes a richer, more connected experience for all of us. My Leonard Cohen gig in the south-western Victorian town of Terang on Saturday night was just that – connected, full of heart and happy. Lovely, warm people in a lovely, warm venue. Thanks Terang!
I listened to Leonard Cohen’s posthumous album today. It’s beautiful and gentle and very Leonard. The songs of a man who knew he was leaving. It needs a lot more listening, and that will be a pleasure because it warms the heart in a dark kind of way.
Watch the video for the story of how the album was made.
When was the last time you heard poetry being read out loud? Or read poetry to someone else? Tonight I read poems to the audience between songs at my Leonard Cohen gig. It’s such a gentle and vulnerable thing to do and to listen to – just the human voice and beautifully crafted words. With all the beauty and darkness of Cohen’s penmanship.
I recommend this little book of his poems to sooth a troubled heart.
Learning new songs is always a pleasure. I’ve been learning Come Healing for my Leonard Cohen tribute gig on Wednesday night. I love its simplicity, and the hymn-like beauty and harmonies paired with carefully crafted secular poetry.