Thursday, May 19, 2016

Reid Jamieson – Dear Leonard: The Cohen Collection

Dear Leonard: The Cohen Collection

There are many tributes to Leonard Cohen that have been recorded over the years. Some have drawn on various artists while others have been by specific artists. Among my favorites are Famous Blue Raincoat by Jennifer Warnes, Bird on the Wire by Perla Batalla and Judy Collins Sings Leonard Cohen: Democracy Judy Collins Sings Leonard Cohen: Democracy by Judy Collins. To that list add Dear Leonard: The Cohen Collection by Vancouver-based singer-songwriter Reid Jamieson.

In this seemingly too-brief, 33-minute set, Reid offers sublime versions of seven Cohen classics and the title song, his own tribute – written with his wife, Carolyn Victoria Mill – to the master songwriter and poet. The arrangements – mostly just Reid’s vocals and guitar and Anne Lindsay’s always-exquisite violin – serve to focus attention on Cohen’s sublime lyrics and melodies. And while each of the Cohen songs is so very familiar these interpretations make them sound new again.

Among the highlights here are haunting versions of “Dance Me to the End of Love,” so beautifully enhanced by Anne’s violin, “Tower of Song,” Cohen’s homage to the art of great songwriting, and a version of “Suzanne,” THE great Montreal song which features a lovely lead vocal by Carolyn.

The CD cover, by the way, is a homage to the cover of The Best of Leonard Cohen, Cohen’s first compilation LP released in 1975.

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--Mike Regenstreif

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