July 29, 2022 | « back

ROLLINGSTONE.COM — Norah Jones, Peter Gabriel, James Taylor Tapped for Leonard Cohen Tribute Album

By Emily Zemer

Blue Note Records will release Here It Is: A Tribute to Leonard Cohen, featuring 12 covers of Leonard Cohen’s songs, on Oct. 14. The collection was produced by Larry Klein and features contributions by Norah Jones, James Taylor, Nathaniel Rateliff, Peter Gabriel, Iggy Pop, Mavis Staples, and more.

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. Taylor’s intimate take on “Coming Back to You,” from Cohen’s 1984 LP Various Positions, is the first listen from the album.

“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.”

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 gathered a core group of jazz-based 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.”