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DEAR LEONARD: The Cohen Collection
Reid Jamieson Independent APRIL 2016
Catalog: RAJ010. UPC Barcode: 875531012118.
A luminous tribute to Leonard Cohen, seven compelling covers plus one original ode to the man himself. Reid is joined on this homespun homage by Anne Lindsay (Blue Rodeo) on burning violin, and his wife and long-time songwriting partner Carolyn Victoria Mill. in memory of Marianne Ihlen
1. Dance Me To The End Of Love 4:13
2. Hey That's No Way To Say Goodbye 3:07
3. Tower Of Song 4:44
4. Bird On The Wire 2:44
5. Alexandra Leaving 5:10 *
6. Suzanne 5:03
7. Dear Leonard 4:03 **
8. Hallelujah 4:39
All songs written by Leonard Cohen,
except * 'Alexandra Leaving’
written by Leonard Cohen & Sharon Robinson,
and ** ‘Dear Leonard’
written by Reid Jamieson & Carolyn Victoria Mill.
All vocals and instruments Reid Jamieson,
except Anne Lindsay on violin,
and additional vocals by CVM on ‘Suzanne’.
Recorded and mixed by Reid at home in Vancouver, BC. Produced by CVM. Photos and artwork by CVM.
Mastered by Brock McFarlane/CPS.
The only original on the album, this haunting ode to a lady’s man puts forth the deal one tongue-tied singer is willing to strike; Reid’s comparative youth and voice, in exchange for Leonard’s wisdom and words. Written by Reid Jamieson and Carolyn Mill.
Though still primarily known in and around his native Vancouver, singer-songwriter Reid Jamieson is a frequent flyer here at Cover Lay Down thanks to a grinning, gorgeous way with the songs of others and an especially prolific penchant towards interpretation: he’s previously published an album of Elvis songs and dozens of single-shot coverage tracks; in 2011, we offered his tribute to the songs of 1969, recorded for his wife’s birthday, as a release-day exclusive. Reido’s newest homage Dear Leonard: The Cohen Collection takes on the songs of Leonard Cohen lovingly and gleefully, and we’ve been stuck on it since it dropped in March. Like most of his work, it is deceptively light; the intros hit like Caribbean elevator music, and Reido’s husky tenor is sweet and plaintive as always. But there’s a huge diversity here, and something truly triumphant about the brightening of sound in songs like Suzanne, which tingles with robust steel drum rhythms and spousal harmonies, the driving countrified romp of Tower Of Song, and Hey That’s No Way To Say Goodbye, which gets turned on it’s ear, transforming the somber, pensive original into a bright and upbeat trainsong, chugging along light and lively with perfect layers of overdubbed harmony, gentle guitars and brushes. Elsewhere, ukes, brushes, and fiddle hold sway, adding flourishes and finishing touches to a sweet, sweet EP from somewhere under the sunniest of cowboy skies.
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.