A tribute album for Leonard Cohen is in the works, with Norah Jones, James Taylor, Nathaniel Rateliff, Peter Gabriel, Iggy Pop, Mavis Staples, and more tapped to contribute.
The album, Here It Is: A Tribute to Leonard Cohen will be released on October 14 via Blue Note Records. The 12 tracks offer a range of Cohen’s compositions, spanning work from his 1967 debut Songs of Leonard Cohen, to his final album, You Want It Darker, released in 2016.
Ahead of the full album’s release, Taylor’s intimate take on “Coming Back to You” has been shared as the first listen from the impending work. The song comes from Cohen’s 1984 LP Various Positions.
“When [producer] Larry Klein invited me to participate in a Leonard Cohen tribute album, I accepted immediately,” Taylor said in a statement. “Both because Larry is a great producer of excellent recordings and a good friend, and because, like almost everyone in my generation, I venerate Leonard Cohen. As soon as I began seeking out my own musical preferences, Cohen’s songs were among my few favorites and had a major influence on my own progression as a songwriter.”
He continued, “For the project, I was drawn to a relatively obscure piece that was new to me, ‘Coming Back To You.’ Larry opted to cut the song in Cohen’s original key, which was certainly at the bottom of my own range. But somehow moving me out of my comfort zone helped me find my own approach to the song. Like so much of Leonard Cohen’s writing, this lyric resonates deeply with his forlorn and hopeless take on the bleak landscape of love and attachment.”
To record the tracks, Klein tapped a core group of Jazz musicians – guitarist Bill Frisell, saxophonist Immanuel Wilkins, pianist Kevin Hays, bassist Scott Colley, and drummer Nate Smith. The album features additional contributions from Greg Leisz on pedal steel guitar and Larry Goldings on organ.
“It was an immensely gratifying experience to re-contextualize these poems, and shine a different light on them,” Klein said. “I hope that this musical language that we developed together, the context that we put these things in, makes the songs connect with people in a new way.”
Here It Is: A Tribute to Leonard Cohen is available to pre-order on D2C exclusive color vinyl, black vinyl, CD, or digital download. See the full tracklist from the album below.
Here It Is: A Tribute to Leonard Cohen Track List:
1. Steer Your Way – Norah Jones
2. Here It Is – Peter Gabriel
3. Suzanne – Gregory Porter
4. Hallelujah – Sarah McLachlan
5. Avalanche – Immanuel Wilkins
6. Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye – Luciana Souza
7. Coming Back to You – James Taylor
8. You Want It Darker – Iggy Pop
9. If It Be Your Will – Mavis Staples
10. Seems So Long Ago, Nancy – David Gray
11. Famous Blue Raincoat – Nathaniel Rateliff
12. Bird on The Wire – Bill Frisell
Photo: Sony Music Publishing