I Am Snow Angel Releases Moving Cover of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Tower of Song’

“Now I bid you farewell, I don’t know when I’ll be back
They’re moving us tomorrow to that tower down the track
But you’ll be hearing from me baby, long after I’m gone
I’ll be speaking to you sweetly from a window
In the Tower of Song”

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The above verse is one of many in Leonard Cohen’s brilliant track, “Tower of Song.” As with much of Cohen’s canon, the sentiment of the lyrics feels appropriate for a wide array of situations and emotions. While the Canadian songwriter wasn’t speaking directly about a quarantine, the song’s imagery of isolation feels especially poignant now. Julie Kathryn — who releases music under the name I Am Snow Angel — agrees. 

Kathryn recently released her version of “Tower of Song,” which is an ethereal demonstration of her own artistry. Walking the line between ‘songwriter-core’ and dream pop, the glossy guitars and reverberated vocals of Kathryn’s cover captures the essence of Cohen’s original while also breathing new life into it. 

“’Tower of Song’ is a very unique and beautiful song that has so many layers to it,” Kathryn told American Songwriter. “What’s cool about it is that it’s a song about songwriting. It brings up the isolation and the loneliness of being an artist, so it felt like something I should release now with isolation going on for everyone. It’s so haunting. Like the line about Hank Williams — just the idea of being a songwriter and leaving a legacy, forever playing in the ‘tower of song.’ I had tickets to see John Prine this June, but with his passing it makes me feel — almost in a way I can’t articulate — that ‘Tower of Song’ is especially topical right now. I’m just glad that I can share it with people.”

Kathryn has been writing and recording music for years, but I Am Snow Angel began as a project when she began experimenting in production and home recording. Energized by this new method of creating music, she began putting out releases, the most recent being her 2019 concept album, “Mothership.” 

“I think it opened me up to be more free creatively,” Kathryn said of her self-production. “In recent years, that process has inspired me to write the melody and lyrics. I’ve gotten more into production, sound design in particular. The soundscape was something which made me realize that before I started producing there was a lot going on in my head creatively that I wasn’t manifesting. So, that really changed my pattern. One thing that’s cool about being a singer-songwriter is that you develop characteristic styles of playing, like fingerpicking patterns or chord progressions. But I think that when I was playing the same acoustic instruments over and over, my patterns began to hinder my writing. I think taking it into another realm where I might start with a beat and then write off of that yields a very different song than playing acoustic guitar.”

Which is reminiscent of Cohen’s career. Starting as a folk artist in the late ’60s, he switched to a more eclectic and electronic sound after working out a method of writing songs using his keyboard’s pre-programmed beats. Coincidentally, one of the greatest examples of that is Cohen’s own version of “Tower of Song.” A reminder of the camaraderie and shared experience of songwriters who, ultimately, all live under one roof: that of the tower of song.

Listen to I Am Snow Angel’s cover of “Tower of Song” below:

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