Blue Note Records will honor the legacy of Leonard Cohen with a new tribute album, Here It Is. Out on October 14th, the album will feature 12 of the legendary singer-songwriter’s compositions recorded by an array of artists including Peter Gabriel, Mavis Staples, Iggy Pop, and more.
The full tracklist for Here It Is hosts recordings from Nathaniel Rateliff, Norah Jones, David Gray, Sarah McLachlan, who turns in a rendition of “Hallelujah”, and more, with the lead single coming from folk icon James Taylor.
“When 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.”
The album was produced by Cohen’s longtime friend and collaborator, Larry Klein.
“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.”
Related: David Gilmour Covers Leonard Cohen In Literary Webcast [Video]
For the first preview, Taylor dug up “Coming Back To You” from Cohen’s 1984 album, Various Positions. A celebrated singer-songwriter in his own right, Taylor broke from his trademark vocal delicacy to deliver a brooding tribute worthy of Cohen’s vast influence.
“For the project, I was drawn to a relatively obscure piece that was new to me, ‘Coming Back To You’,” Taylor shared. “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 accompany the celebrated singers, Klein recruited a stable of jazz-based musicians including guitarist Bill Frisell, saxophonist Immanuel Wilkins, pianist Kevin Hays, bassist Scott Colley, and drummer Nate Smith. The album also hosts contributions from Greg Leisz on pedal steel guitar and Larry Goldings on organ.
Check out James Taylor’s cover of “Coming Back To You” by Leonard Cohen and click here to pre-order the Here It Is: A Tribute To Leonard Cohen.
James Taylor – “Coming Back To You” (Leonard Cohen)
Here It Is: A Tribute To Leonard Cohen Tracklist:
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