Legendary singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen died on November 7, 2016, one day before the 2016 Presidential Election, but the world didn’t find out for several days after. On January 24, 2017 (shortly after the inauguration of Donald Trump and the succeeding Women’s March), New York City finally paid tribute to the Poet Prince of Montréal with a concert featuring dozens of singers, songwriters and musicians, including Richard Thompson, Josh Ritter, Will Sheff (Okkervil River), Amy Helm, Lee Ranaldo (Sonic Youth), Lenny Kaye (Patti Smith Group), Elvis Perkins, Holly Miranda, Joan As Police Woman, Delicate Steve, and many more. It was an evening the Village Voice called “a loving, thoughtful tribute to Cohen’s life in music and poetry.” The live album features highlight performances from this nearly three-hour marathon concert, which the Voice also hailed as a “carefully constructed, expertly structured production.”
The concert and subsequent album was produced by Cohen fans Jesse Lauter (Tedeschi Trucks Band), Hannah Gold (City Winery Presents), and Josh Kaufman. Kaufman (Guitar- Bob Weir) led the house band, which featured first-rate New York-based musicians including Ray Rizzo (Drums- Yo Yo Ma), Walt Martin (Keys- The Walkmen), Annie Nero (Bass- Craig Finn), Stuart Bogie (Brass & Woodwinds- Arcade Fire), Nick Kinsey (Percussions- Kevin Morby), and Dave Harrington (Guitar- Darkside), punctuated by a backing vocal trio that Cohen would have been proud of— Leslie Mendelson, Jocie Adams and Cassandra Jenkins.
In the liner notes to this collection, music critic Justin Joffe writes, “Sincerely, L. Cohen: A Live Celebration of Leonard Cohen could have been a solemn affair. But all performers took the celebration part to heart, infusing Cohen’s most somber truths with equal parts reverence and reverie. The evening found a mix of New York icons, esteemed singer-songwriters, cult performers, and up-and-comers for a night of Cohen standards, stories and deep cuts.” Joffe continues, “Sentimental and scholarly, full of tearful singalongs and heartfelt remembrance, it was an evening Cohen would have appreciated.” A limited-edition double vinyl run of 500 units is available for preorder and will hit stores in time for the holidays.