November 10, 2004 - Review of Dear Heather by Keith Phipps - Onion A.V. Club

October 27, 2004 - Review of Dear Heather by Scott Reid -

October 26, 2004 - Review of Dear Heather - E! Online

November 11, 2004 - Leonard Cohen vs. Pink Floyd
by Dave Surratt - Las Vegas Mercury

November 7, 2004 - Review of Dear Heather by Jeff Wisser - Chicago Sun-Times

November 8, 2004 - Look Away, Leonard by John J. Sullivan - New York Magazine

October 31, 2004 - Review of Dear Heather by Martin Bandyke - Detroit Free Press

October 31, 2004 - Review of Dear Heather by Tom Moon - Philadelphia Inquirer

October 28, 2004 - Review of Dear Heather by Bernard Perusse - Montreal Gazette

October 26, 2004 - Review of Dear Heather by John P. McLaughlin - Vancouver Province

October 31, 2004 - Leonard Cohen - Edmonton Journal

October 30, 2004 - Dear Heather - Leonard Cohen by Patrick Langston -
The Ottawa Citizen

October 29, 2004 - Traces of a Ladies' Man by Robert Everett-Green -
Toronto's Globe and Mail

October 28, 2004 - A Letter for Leonard by Liisa Ladouceur - eye

October 2004 - Review of Dear Heather by J.D. Considine - Tracks

October 26, 2004 - Leonard Cohen, Dear Heather by Elysa Gardner - USA Today

October 25, 2004 - Enigmatic Leonard Cohen Quietly Releases New Album Dear Heather by Angela Pacienza - Yahoo! News Entertainment - Canadian Press

October 24, 2004 - Leonard Cohen - Dear Heather - Sunday London Times

October 24, 2004 - Leonard Cohen by Joel Selvin - - San Francisco Chronicle

October 25, 2004 - Twilight of the Master by Kris Menon - Time

Leonard Cohen - Dear Heather by Thom Allott - UK

October 22, 2004 - Leonard Cohen, Dear Heather by Alexis Petridis - Guardian Unlimited

November 11, 2004 - Leonard Cohen -- Dear Heather
by Michaelangelo Matos - Rolling Stone

October 7, 2004 - The Anti-Hit List by John Sakamoto - Eye Weekly

October 2004 - Leonard Cohen - Dear Heather (Columbia) - Paper Magazine

07/16/2004 - Leonard Cohen's downbeat success, BBC News

07/15/2004 - Leonard Cohen Marks 70th Birthday with New Album by Barry A. Jeckell, Reuters

07/14/2004 - Columbia Records Set to Release New Leonard Cohen Album, Dear Heather, Columbia Records

Onion A.V. Club

November 10, 2004

Singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen has become a towering musical figure, but his reputation rests on a body of work that would be slim for an artist with only half his years in the business. Dear Heather, Cohen's latest, is only the 11th studio album in a recording career that stretches back to 1968. Long absences punctuate Cohen's work—some time on a Greek island here, an unexplained sabbatical there—but when he does step into a studio, he makes it count. Or at least he used to. The nine-year gap between the brutal, funny 1992 album The Future and 2001's barely audible Ten New Songs seemed to dull Cohen's edge. He spent the time at a Buddhist retreat, but based on the evidence of Ten New Songs, he left it not with greater insight, but with a newfound inability to articulate that had nothing to do with the continued fading of his always-raspy voice.

Dear Heather thankfully reverses that on a track or two. An album-opening reading of Lord Byron's "We'll Go No More A-Roving" (retitled "Go No More A-Roving") sets an autumnal tone that carries through the album and deepens the drama of Cohen's now predictably unadventurous melodies. Cohen's '80s work created tension between his suggestive croak and the bland synth-pop surrounding it, but his latest efforts have relied on unremarkable backup singers and the work of what sounds like the world's worst Steely Dan cover band.

Yet occasionally the pieces still click into place, as with "Because Of," in which Cohen reveals that "a few songs" have won him the favor of women late in life. Ever the heavy-hearted hedonist, he summons up a parade of naked bodies asking for his gaze "one last time." Simultaneously morbid, funny, horny, and profound, it's the one song that captures what Cohen does best, although cases can be made for a few other tracks. "To A Teacher," for example, provides a heartfelt belated eulogy for Montreal poet and Cohen influence A.M. Klein, and beneath the schmaltzy setting of the title track rests an expression of haiku-like economy. But mostly, Dear Heather just coasts on poetic phrasing and inoffensive tunes. Though the album closes with a two-decades-old live version of "Tennessee Waltz," its proper close arrives with "The Faith," an update of a Quebec folk song that repeatedly asks the question, "Oh, love, aren't you tired yet?" Cohen drowns his vocals in the background before fading out entirely, which may be his way of answering the question. It's hard not to hope he's underestimating himself.

Contributed by Marie.

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October 27, 2004

There are few artists---very few, in fact---from the '60s that remained even remotely relevant passed their heyday, whether it be caused by the folk collapse, the ravages of age and/or drug abuse, or merely due to a lack of new ideas. Even giants like Brian Wilson and Paul McCartney eventually descended into painful mediocrity (Wilson's extremely rare comeback with Smile excepted); The Zombies recently reunited to prove why they'd remained apart since Odessey and Oracle (1969); Love exist now solely in afterglow from aging journalists that started the whole rock journalism schtick; and Lou Reed continues to make material so esoteric that it that rivals Metal Machine Music (1975) in its stubborn unlistenablity.

Not all would brave through the '80s (or even the '70s, for that matter), but, for whatever reasons, the singer/songwriters stood the best chance. Though losing a lot of her mystique, Joni Mitchell has been releasing what have been at the very least decent records up until as recently as 2002's Travelogue; Tom Waits may not have released his first album until '73, but I doubt many fans doubt, based on his recent work, his ablitity to stick it out another few years if he so chooses; Bob Dylan has certainly overcome some dangerously dry spells to release a couple of stunners since the third quarter of the '90s; Neil Young is another of the few survivors of the first wave of commercial-ready rock/pop/folk, but few of his oldest fans have followed him into his fourth decade. This despite Greendale (2003) being a surprisingly moving experience---even if you needed to remove it from its preachy concert set-up context to appreciate the level of song-writing he still wields.

Then there's fellow Canadian Leonard Cohen: distinguished poet, novelist, songwriter, intellectual and an ordained Zen Buddhist monk, Cohen remains one of Canada's most intriguing personalities, having garnered comparisons from James Joyce to Bob Dylan. From a young age, Cohen had shown monumental talent, releasing his first book of poetry ('55's Let Us Compare Mythologies) at the age of 21. But he'd wait until his thirties to begin his music career, releasing his first record, the incredible Songs of Leonard Cohen, in 1968---after he'd already written what remain as two of his most recognized novels, The Favorite Game (1963) and Beautiful Losers (1966).

His music, like his prose, overflowed with a suave, cunning atmosphere; more relaxed than the crowd at a Willie Nelson concert, and often still more forceful than the loudest of rock acts that were beginning to trample the still burgeoning folk scene. Eventually, the hippies got complacent, and walls of distortion began to quickly drown out the soft-timbred singer/songwriters that didn't, or just couldn't, adapt; Cohen, never in need of a gimmick to secure something poignant to say, was never phased. Times changed, and he continued what he was doing.

Cohen's career wavered after his initial run of four straight incredible records; best of all being 1971's brilliant Songs of Love and Hate and the last, skipping '73's Live Songs, being '74's underrated New Skin for the Old Ceremony. But he's managed to come back with something for each decade after---whether it be an album (1985's excellent I'm Your Man) or a out-of-nowhere comeback single like "Closing Time." In the case of the latter, he had emerged to a new generation as a completely different persona than had entered the music scene. Still a smooth operator that could charm the pants off of a lady now fifty years his younger, of course; but, as his age had made his vocals less an obstacle than a more esoteric layer of appeal, it was the new elements coming in that had most worried fans, not Cohen's lingering brilliance.

New Skin had been a disappointment for most because of its expanding musical palette, moving the focus more away from Cohen's beautiful poetry and singular voice and into a broader picture. On paper, it's a perfectly logical move, but results do speak for themselves; as the production began to gain prominence, Cohen began to be drowned out. Female singers, who'd once been kept to background work only, began to grow in prominence, as did the scope of the arrangements---all leading to a series of releases that, one after the other, could not melodically compete with his earlier work outside of a handful of single tracks.

Not surprisingly, most all singing on his newest (and reportedly last) record, Dear Heather, is taken on by more than capable singers (familiar ones at that; collaborators Sharon Robinson and Anjani Thomas both return for the record), but placed next to Cohen's seventy-year-old timbre, they sound absolutely devoid of personality and edge. On their own, they cheapen the experience, much like the "modern" production (as it did for 2002's Ten New Songs), but it gets a shade worse when there is an attempted vocal harmony between Cohen's barely expunged growled whispers and smoother-than-ice back-up singers. Don't get me wrong, stark opposition can make for some incredibly moving moments in music, but when the light is overly saccharin and the dark is sounding barely conscious and/or ambivalent to anything else outside of it shadows, the enormous amount of middle ground between the two poles begins to shrink, and its effectiveness all but disappears.

And what about that production, you ask? While some tracks may start off ("Undertow" comes to mind) with a promising arrangement, they all eventually trail off into various levels of inapposite garnishing. From a jews-harp (a sly nod to "Last Year's Man," perhaps; and, to be fair, "On That Day" is an impressive song if you forget the 9/11 "inspired" chorus sung by the female choir) to fumbling Casio solos, it's full of almost comical, or at the very least improvised, extras--few of which, I'm guessing, are supposed to be humourous. Then again, Cohen's always been a fair shade more clever than the majority of his audience (or fellow musicians, for that matter), so who really knows for sure; I'm sure some will give him enough credit to argue it.

"Morning Glory" in particular mixes some great ideas with some terribly distracting ones---most notably the wandering xylophone that seems to be able to choose tasteful notes during two, and only two, of the song's sections. In fact, pretty much nothing from Dear Heather is without some kind of significant flaw, and the only thing saving it from being below average---at least in a general sense, and not kept strictly to his own discography----are the few moments that Cohen is kept solitary with as little outside interference as possible. He's still an incredible resourceful and powerful writer, of course, and, not surprisingly, it's not hard to hear what could have been for Dear Heather. Strip away the circus/hockey arena organ and superfluous layers of spoken harmonies from the album's title track. The Casios that litter the otherwise excellent "Villanelle" (one of the few lyrics not written by Cohen; it was written by former professor Frank Scott). . . well, you begin to see my point here.

It's not that Cohen doesn't sing at at all, either. He does occasionally attempt to, like on "Nightingale," though his voice is compressed and pushed back to the point of sounding vaguely like an aged country star instead of the graveled confessions of the man we'd heard borrowing through our speakers just minutes earlier. Then there's the closer---a very retro-sounding live recording of country classic "Tennessee Waltz," which fails to come of as particularly poignant or even that welcoming; it gives the record an aftertaste thick with Nashville bourbon, which I doubt few of of us figured as Cohen's drink of choice. I'd always seen him as a courvoisier man, myself.

"To A Teacher" travels back to Cohen's '80s productions, but the restraint in pretty much every other aspect of the song's arrangement makes it a standout; it keeps the hymnal overdosing at bay, and while not likely to win Cohen many new fans, like "Villanelle," it's decent enough to give us something---anything---to hang onto. Likewise, "The Faith's" string arrangement is a welcome surprise, though still does little to save the continuously overbearing (kind of like the way the chorus of "So Long, Marianne" seems to come in just a little too strong), and over-performed, singing.

But mostly, the real problem with the record is that it's only enjoyable in short, awkwardly bookended phrases. Ten seconds here, thirty there---Dear Heather quickly demands that its listeners either be extremely patient or incredibly forgiving. I'm sure some fans will bypass accepting that all good things eventually come to an end to find enough in these moments to consider it another intriguing Cohen release; however, casual fans and newcomers alike will want to take a pass, as it isn't likely they'll be willing---or able---to be so understanding.

His relevance will continue to stand despite middling releases like this, if just because of how rich a personality and how influential a poet he remains after all these years. Heather reminds me why I fell in love with Cohen's work to begin with, but that sort of powerful nostalgia doesn't excuse catalogue-padding from one of the nation's greatest songwriters---and it certainly doesn't explain another ill-informed move from one of our wisest.

Contributed by Tom S.

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E! Online

October 26, 2004


Dear Leonard, you know full well there ain't no cure for a letdown. So, we're feeling pretty low after hearing your latest disc of poetic musings on faith, old age and perhaps your favorite subject, women. Your biggest asset, that goose-bumps-inducing voice, is constrained and relegated to the background and choruses on many of these new songs, which means some of the arty overlapping refrains ("Morning Glory") and the creepy carnival-like choruses ("Dear Heather") just feel forced. While the 9-11 number ("On That Day") is moving and that live "Tennessee Waltz" is surely thrilling, this album is more like pieces of the reasons we fell for you in the first place. Given that this may be your final release, this is no way to say goodbye.,1107,3336,00.html

Contributed by Tom S.

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Las Vegas Mercury

November 11, 2004

Leonard Cohen just turned 70, and his latest release is pregnant with a wrapping-things-up feel that may or may not actually herald the end of an unbearably charming career. If so, it will have all the right elements of a classy exit. Dear Heather is all things wistful, and yet doesn't for a moment forget to keep breathing a great, hot sigh down your neck. From a very sexy retrospective of the women "who become naked in their different ways" ("Because Of"), to a very sexy spoken-word session ("Villanelle for Our Time"), Cohen stays the silver-backed gorilla you can't resist. It's what he does. He's a dark star of romantically densest composition, and your only job is to give up your soul to his inescapable gravity.

More than likely, though, despite the sweet surrender, you'll eventually shake horribly all over from Cohen's tongue in your ear. It's involuntary. You'll crave delivery from such deft coercion--someone who'll back up a couple of feet and respect you, give you some damned space while essentially staying in character; you need a soft landing without lingering trauma. But who? Tom Waits? No--too eccentric, too many steps back--you might as well put in Weird Al. Nick Cave? Heh! Boo! Not quite.

Laugh if you will at the counterintuition, but good rescue is where you find it. Try Pink Floyd's The Final Cut for a semi-dignified apology. Like Dear Heather, Floyd's 1981 mess of a swan song (let's please pretend it was their swan song) keeps the spirit of Cohen's remembrance of things past. Like Cohen, Roger Waters will cozy up all low and guttural, occasionally sport a tasteful wryness, make acquaintance with piano, saxophone and even gospel backups ("Not Now John") that can tax your trust. The Final Cut is more politico-existential struggle than come-on, but that's beside the point made by tracks like "One of the Few" and "Paranoid Eyes," which show that Waters will crawl up in your ear to die just as invasively as Cohen. But then comes that apology, as Waters resurrects to spring crazily away and belt heavily reverbed, choked tantrums--mere projections of his own self-reproach at getting so close. It's an awkward thing to witness, but after 45 minutes of Cohen's sonic lechery, it may be just what you need to keep your good attitude about submitting in the first place.

Contributed by Marie.

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Chicago Sun-Times

November 7, 2004

* * 1/2

The woofer-whacking baritone from north of the border is back as legendary songwriter Leonard Cohen returns to record-store shelves. The voice, never a thing of beauty but always serviceable and imbued with the portent of at least a minor deity, remains authoritative if pretty well threadbare at this point.

But that's not the main issue here. Instead, it's the songwriting. In his finest moments, Cohen has put his foghorn in the service of melodic, often unforgettable material, from "The Sisters of Mercy" to "Hallelujah" to "Bird on a Wire" to the more recent "Democracy." But here, though he remains smart and -- egad! -- sensual, the material, save a live cover of "Tennessee Waltz," just doesn't stick. "On That Day," "Dear Heather" and "Villanelle for Our Times," among others, demand our attention. Problem is, they just don't stick to the ribs.

Contributed by Marie.

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New York Magazine

November 8, 2004

Dear Heather finds the Canadian folk prince
at a dismaying stylistic dead end.

Ever notice how the major figures in Canadian pop music share a kind of authentic creepiness that we other North Americans can't really approximate? Think about it: Neil and Joni. That'd be enough right there. But also Bruce Cockburn and Geddy Lee. (Geddy Lee, for Christ's sake.) Plus, Gordon Lightfoot. Then there's Garth Hudson and poor, dead Richard Manuel, those two quiet old genius beardos from the Band; one thinks of Manuel being interviewed in The Last Waltz, when he's asked about the groupies, stroking his hairy cheeks and muttering, "That's probably why we've stayed on the road." Oh, that is gross. Alanis Morissette could be an inheritor of the tradition, if she were good. Consider the way she enunciates like she learned English through a correspondence course: "Would shé go down on yuh in uh thé-ah-trrr?"

Perhaps none of these folks is as creepy as Leonard Cohen, the septuagenarian Jewish Canadian mystical Buddhist poet-lecher who's written and performed some of the greatest art-folk songs of the twentieth century, and whose career has been rich enough to sport multiple bona fide phases, each of which yielded its masterpieces. Lyrically speaking, only Dylan is better, runs the conventional opinion (not an insane one, if you're restricting the field to exclude Cole Porter and Johnny Mercer). Cohen's new album, Dear Heather, is exceptionally bad and-not to abuse a point-creepier than any Canadian record I know. Still, he's Leonard Cohen, and he's never done anything uninteresting. Dear Heather is bad in some pretty interesting ways.

For one thing, it's the apotheosis of the production style Cohen adopted in the eighties: extremely precise arrangements that sound like they came preprogrammed from a Casio PT-80; pitch-perfect backup singers whose voices are made to sound robotically chilly; sweeping, synthesized string parts; and below it all, Cohen's voice, getting deeper and grimmer with each album, whispering to you his brain-bummed, postapocalyptic, defiantly romantic visions. Now, with the arrival of Dear Heather, an album that begins with Lord Byron's "We'll Go No More A' Roving" set to virtual Muzak (on which track, after Cohen sings "And the soul outwears the breast," the backup singers come in doo-wop style with "Outweeeears the breeeeast"), it may at last be time to ask: Whither this style?

We know that Cohen cares deeply about studio philosophy-his clash with Phil Spector over the arrangements on Death of a Ladies' Man supposedly escalated to the point that at least one pistol was drawn-and in recent years, he's built his own recording facility (a perilous thing where self-indulgence is concerned). It's clear that he means to be doing exactly what he's doing. I used to think I knew what that was. On I'm Your Man, probably the most popular among those Cohen records that aren't best-of compilations (in part because tricked-out cover versions of two of its songs-"First We Take Manhattan" and "Everybody Knows"-became college-radio hits for R.E.M. and Concrete Blonde, respectively), the material seemed to gain power from the sterility of the approach.

There was a statement in there, somewhere, maybe about how hard it is to protect your soul in a mechanized world, something like that. It made sense. Cohen sounded like an old Eastern European poet who'd been trapped in an elevator one night and kept himself sane by making up pop songs in English.

Contributed by Marie.

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Detroit Free Press

October 31, 2004

* * * (4 Stars - Highest Rating)

Much of "Dear Heather" is a self-indulgent mess, with songs built around cheesy, airport cocktail-lounge keyboard stylings and grim, hermetically-sealed musings about the end of desire, the end of faith, the end of life, etc. With a voice now reduced to something between a raspy whisper and a sepulchral moan, the 70-year-old Cohen drifts uncomfortably close to self-parody here.

What almost balances out the wince-inducing lyrics in the inert title tune and woeful "Because of" are a handful of transcendentally beautiful songs. "Go No More a-Roving" has lyrics taken from the writings of English Romantic poet Lord Byron and shimmers and shivers with autumnal reflections. Just as good are the originals "The Letters" and "Because of You." "Nightingale," written and sung by Cohen and Anjani Thomas and one of the few tracks on "Dear Heather" that contains more instrumentation than just keyboards, barely lasts 2 1/2 minutes but packs an overwhelming emotional wallop.

Contributed by Marie.

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Philadelphia Inquirer

October 31, 2004

* * 1/2

Of all the Leonard Cohen vocal affectations over the years, his imitation of a computer voice on the title track of Dear Heather is possibly the most disconcerting.

The great Canadian bard offers a strange commentary on the coldness of the digital age by delivering his usual subject matter - the overheated thoughts of an incurable romantic - in the tone associated with automated phone systems.

It doesn't help that the track moves like so much of this set, at a nearly tempoless crawl, or that the automated-sounding instrumental textures are subordinated, exposing the serrated edges of Cohen's baritone.

Though the melodies of "Undertow" and "Villanelle for Our Time" sound like unfinished sketches, the surrounding music is both simple and deceptively graceful, harking back to that time in the '70s when Cohen could turn almost anything - a spiritual crisis, the face of a beautiful girl - into a rhapsody.

Contributed by Dick.

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Montreal Gazette

October 28, 2004

* * 1/2

Could someone please introduce Leonard to some actual musicians so he can ditch the Tinker-toy, Casio sound? It's back, with minimal support from humans - and the bad news doesn't end there. Where his last, Ten New Songs, featured strong writing betrayed by poor execution, even the material here is hit and miss. If The Letters and There for You hint at the expected spark, for example, the title song and Because Of sound like Cohen having a laugh at the listener's expense. And what to make of his apparent decision to be an observer on his own album, letting backup vocalists and a computer do a lot of the work? We love him, always will - but for a Cohen album, this is lightweight.

Contributed by Parky.

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Vancouver Province

October 26, 2004

* * * 1/2 (5 Stars - Highest Rating)

Though he's 70-years-old, a new Leonard Cohen record is still an occasion. The voice is pretty much shot but his writing is reminiscent of his early poetry, including the title song, which consists of a single stanza, constantly repeated:

"Dear Heather/
Please walk by me again/
With a drink in your hand/
And your legs all white/
From the winter."

It ain't much but he makes it work like no one else could. He's surrounded himself with women producing and singing harmonies on this project, sometimes well, others to terrible effect as on the otherwise gorgeous "Because Of." "The Faith" is a classic.

Contributed by Parky.

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Edmonton Journal

October 31, 2004

* * *

Will reviewers go to hell for refusing to fall all over Leonard Cohen's new album? Canada's crown prince of spoken-word songs and Zen retreats offers more of his signature monotone and meditations of the heart on Dear Heather. Imbued with horns, Cohen's hushed delivery and minimal percussion, his songs often feel like they should be played at the end of a New England cocktail party. Or in a film with a scene set at a New England cocktail party, like The Ice Storm. That's perhaps the real achievement of Dear Heather -- for all of its sonic sparseness, producers/vocalists Sharon Robinson and Anjani Thomas are able to turn Cohen's songs into warm, luscious and cinematic snapshots.

Contributed by Parky.

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The Ottawa Citizen

October 30, 2004

* * * 1/2

Seventy last month, Leonard Cohen is as elusive, and accessible, as when we first heard his sad, monochromatic voice pondering the mystery of ladies and harbours almost 40 years ago.

Dear Heather is the Montreal native's first collection of new songs -- well, sort of new and sort of songs -- since 2001's memorably titled Ten New Songs.

Hypnotic like most Cohen albums, Dear Heather defies easy categorization, much as the woman in the title track, a repeated 21-word vignette of unfulfilled lust, remains forever beyond her admirer's reach: "Dear Heather Please walk by me again/ with a drink in your hand/ and your legs all white/ from the winter."

Delivered in an automaton fashion that belies the sexuality of the lyrics, the half-song, half-poem is like a film loop that always stops short of dramatic resolution.

And while initially frustrating because it goes nowhere, the cut is ultimately gratifying as the listener slides into Cohen's skin. Dear Heather becomes a lesson in not only surrendering Zen-like to the present (Cohen has practiced Buddhism for years) but in accepting our inability to sometimes do anything but observe what we hunger to possess. The inaccessible is suddenly rendered accessible.

Skip to Morning Glory and you're eavesdropping on an interior monologue as Cohen debates with himself whether the path he's on leads to transcendence. Mid-way through the track, the questioning becomes academic as Cohen's fretting is replaced by the angelic one-woman chorus of Anjani Thomas singing simply, "Oh, that morning glory," eternity -- or as big a slice as we're likely ever to get -- abruptly revealed in the everyday.

And so it goes over the course of Dear Heather's 13 tracks. Songs and spoken word pieces point one way, double back on themselves, abruptly head down a new path, leaving the unwary listener stranded in Cohen Land, where things are both more and less than what they seem.

And don't even think about trying to corral the album into a tidy summary of theme and genre. It doesn't sprawl -- has Cohen, austere and emotionally precise poet that he is, ever been guilty of sprawling in his dozen-odd albums? Well, maybe a little on 1977's Death of a Ladies' Man, but blame that on producer Phil Spector, who never met a silence he couldn't plug.

Dear Heather does, however, jump around. A splendid, soulful musical rendering of Lord Byron's Go No More A-Roving -- Cohen's rumbling baritone suggesting no regret that his tom-catting days are over -- opens the record. Strings and guitar accompany Cohen and Sharon Robinson, his producer and frequent duet and writing partner on The Letters, a sombre exercise in shifting perspectives on a long-dead relationship.

A twanging Jew's harp momentarily jars the contemplative 9/11 track On That Day. "What's that thing doing intruding in a song about such a monumental event?" you demand. Except that's the point: death levels all, making each of us a bit player in a village marching band.

A concert recording of the 1948 classic country tune Tennessee Waltz closes out the album (no stranger to the genre, Cohen played with a Montreal country band, the Buckskin Boys, in the mid '50s and leaned heavily on country for his 1984 release Various Positions). Drenched in steel guitar, Cohen's cover probably worked better live than on record.

Self-contained, these songs and the rest of Dear Heather never quite line up in the tidy queue we'd so dearly love to impose on existence. But Cohen sounds content with things as they are, so maybe there's something to his Buddhism.

Contributed by Parky.

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Toronto's Globe and Mail

October 29, 2004

* * 1/2

You look and sometimes there's nothing, but if you keep looking, that nothing may turn out to be something after all. Leonard Cohen's musings on emptiness and creativity, in his spoken-word number Morning Glory, apply also to this album, in which rags appear in the same parade as robes of gold.

The robes mostly hang on the shoulders of the elders: Irving Layton, A. M. Klein and F. R. Scott, all of them mentors or teachers for Cohen during his poetic apprenticeship in Montreal. Each gets a song, or a text that somehow gathers music around it, Cohen at this point in his life (he turned 70 last month) being disinclined to sing.

When you tally up those tributes, and see that the album is dedicated to the memory of publishing patriarch Jack McClelland, and that the booklet contains a shadow-heavy photo of Cohen sitting by a portrait of the father who died when he was 9, you wonder whether there's a misprint. Shouldn't this disc be called Dear Fathers?

Maybe, but that would seem like praying, and prayer in Cohen's work is more tellingly linked with the tragicomic spectacle of the poet pleading at the knees of women. The title song is a prayer of sorts, to a woman whose "legs all white from the winter" have got the ogling old troubadour to think that emptiness may not be the whole story after all. In the same wise, Because of notes with humour and hardly any pride that a few of his songs have induced women to be "exceptionally kind to my old age," as if the age were something separate, like a lapdog prone to incontinence.

There are some lovely things here, though a few have been sitting in drawers for a while. The words for at least five of these 13 tracks are old, or borrowed from others. The tunes are often just implications hanging between the chord changes and the narrow melodies of the poet's speech.

Cohen regroups his Passenger band from 25 years ago for The Faith, a good new song whose topicality is wrapped in the old cloth of a Quebec folk song. There's also a well-clad live version of The Tennessee Waltz from the Various Positions tour of 1985.

But mostly Cohen goes for keyboard instrumentals (by himself, or by backup singers-producers Anjani Thomas and Sharon Robinson) that are often so cheesy as to provoke. Or doesn't he care about that sort of thing any more? Is surface musical appeal part of the nothing that really is nothing? The Field Commander doesn't say; he's still waiting for Heather.

Contributed by Gurinder.

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October 28, 2004

* * *

Dear Leonard,

Congratulations. You're 70 and still making music. Even compared to Ravi Shankar and the Pope, who each have 14 years on you and still tour the world, that's pretty good. You're looking better than James Brown, that's for sure. And since you've never made a bad record in four decades, the release of your newest CD, Dear Heather, is cause for celebration.

But may I tell you something, Leonard? It's you we love, the ladies and the poetry buffs and the men who whisper your words to woo. So a record that's only half you is only half good. I know you're not much of a singer, and you've always done well by collaborating with others whose voices complement your monotone spoken-word style. But nobody is buying Dear Heather to hear your co-writer Sharon Robinson and Anjani Thomas sing for you, to you. When a songwriter with such commanding personality is lost in the mix, something is just not right.

Perhaps you are just being generous. You share a lot on this album, beginning with a jazzed-up Lord Byron poem (dedicated to Irving Layton) and ending with a live cover of "Tennesee Waltz." But it's your bits that shine. You are still a great poet. "Because of" ("Because of a few songs / Wherein I spoke of their mystery/ Women have been / Exceptionally kind to my old age") withstands the intrusion of Thomas because of your way with words. "The Letters," solemn and simple, proves your singing voice isn't so bad at all. And the title track, all five lines of it, shows that whimsy becomes you, when applied to the right topic: women. (And not so much when offsetting a 9/11 lament with clichés and quirky Jew's harp.)

Dear Heather is a record about heart, as best exemplified by your reading of Frank Scott's "Villanelle for Our Time," wherein you praise rising "to play a greater part." A fine goal for community service, but in your music I'd rather you stuck to your starring role.



Contributed by Marie.

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October 2004

Thanks to his early success as a poet and novelist, Leonard Cohen is seen as a lyrics man, so much so that his command of harmony and melody is often underappreciated. Still, there are times when focusing on his words has its advantages for a listener - and this album is one of them. Whether it's "Go No More A-Roving," which weds a typical rake's regret (cribbed from Lord Byron) to a weak lite-funk groove, or the title tune, on which a cheesy merry-go-round keyboard undercuts an invocation of casual lust, the disconnect between words and music here is so stark you kind of hope he's joking. Why else take a osng as seemingly heartfelt as his 9/11 remembrance, "On That Day," and decide that what it really needs is a jew-harp solo?

It's tempting to lay much of the blame for this debacle at the feet of Leanne Ungar, Cohen's producer-engineer-manager, whose taste for bland synths and whispery backing vocals litters the album. But unless Cohen was kidnapped and forced at gunpoint to make this disc, it's safe to assume he also saw merit in this attempt at literary smooth jazz. I just wish he'd explain it to the rest of us.

Contributed by Dick.

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USA Today

October 26, 2004

* * *

At 70, Cohen still has one of the most distinctive voices around, a lean bass growl that can be seductive, depressing or creepy, sometimes all at once. "Women have been exceptionally kind to my old age," he sings on the wry but wistful Because Of. Other songs nod to romantic ennui, social strife and the writings of Lord Byron, all with Cohen's astutely literate, acutely unsentimental lyricism. Like most Cohen fare, Heather will appeal most to those who like their pop served with a dry twist.

Contributed by Marie.

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Yahoo! News Entertainment - Canadian Press

October 25, 2004

TORONTO (CP) - Leonard Cohen's newest work hits stores this week and the icon is letting the album, Dear Heather, stand on its own merit.

Fans will have to read between his well-crafted lines to deduce who Heather is and what caused him to write such an unusual song about her.

But the dedications on the disc help to solve parts of this enigmatic work.

The disc and several songs are dedicated to friends and mentors who have passed away, among them R&B singer and actor Carl Anderson, who died of leukemia earlier this year, writer A.M. Klein, and Jack McClelland, the well-known Canadian book publisher who gave Cohen his start and passed away in June.

Cohen has released more than a dozen records, two novels and countless poems since he started his career in the early 1960s. His life has been well documented by the media (especially while he was romancing actress Rebecca DeMornay).

But he's declined to do any press to discuss Dear Heather, turning down interview requests and telling a reporter friend of his that the record "speaks for itself."

"You also confessed that, years after your depression mysteriously lifted, you're enjoying life more than ever," wrote Brian Johnson recently in a Maclean's column about the reclusive singer. "To go on about that in a world ravaged by unspeakable misery just didn't sit well with you."

The record is distinctively Cohen, with rich psalm-like poems. The music has been stripped of layers to a simple almost lullaby format, making it a dreamy and hypnotic experience.

His partner Anjani Thomas, who has been singing with Cohen since the mid-'80s, and longtime co-writer and producer Sharon Robinson share singing duties. Their soft, angelic vocals strike a captivating contrast to Cohen's distinctive gravelly baritone.

Like much of Cohen's music, this record is a showcase for his poetry, with attention to all his passions including politics, Zen meditation and, of course, relationships with women.

It opens with a soulful interpretation of a Lord Byron poem where Cohen promises to Go No More A-Roving "so late into the night."

He then moves into the moody Because Of, where the 70-year-old legend reflects on his own sex appeal. "Because of a few songs, wherein I spoke of their mystery, women have been exceptionally kind to my old age," he says. "They say 'Look at me Leonard, Look at me one last time.'"

The Letters is a sultry duet with Robinson, who co-wrote the track. It suggests the story of a tug-of-war between reluctant lovers. Undertow features a beautiful sax solo performed by Cohen.

The disappointing On That Day, Cohen's reflection on 9-11, comes across as a bit too obvious for the usually subtle artist.

"Some people say/they hate us of old/our women unveiled/our slaves and our gold," he sings.

As well, the title track is difficult to digest with Cohen asking Heather to "please walk by me again/with a drink in your hand/And your legs all white/From the winter" over and over again in an awkward trance-like metre.

Based on a Quebec folk song, The Faith shows off Cohen's gospel choir side. The disc wraps with a powerful live recording of the country-western standard Tennessee Waltz.

Contributed by Marie.

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Sunday London Times

October 24, 2004

* * * *

The key line in On That Day, Cohen's song about 9/11, is "I wouldn't know". This also serves as the theme of the album. Cohen merely observes; he doesn't interpret. Years living in a Buddhist monastery probably do that to you. Maybe reaching the age of 70 does too. Despite his age, there is more than a hint that Cohen has been tuning in to urban stations: the way he talks round the beat, steps back to let the female singers handle the chorus; the sexual thrust of his lyrics on Because Of (well, that's not new); the lovely soul chord changes on The Letters (which just begs to be covered by Jill Scott). Throw in waltzes, cool jazz, quasi-hymns, slinky beats and some country, and this might be the man's most musically diverse album. It's up there with his best, too. -- ME

Contributed by Dick.

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October 24, 2004

As he grows older, Leonard Cohen gets slower and lower. His new album finds him working, once again, in minimalist fashion with collaborator Sharon Robinson, his creative partner on his 2001 release, "Ten New Songs." His songs are laid back in the groove further than ever, and his voice is even more impossibly basso profundo. At 70, he's still got that wink in his eye. His songcraft is elegantly and deceptively simple, no wasted motion, almost Zen in the grace and clarity of his language. The title song, for instance, is a meditation on female beauty five lines long. Other songs are longer, but his writing remains pungent and precise. Cohen, in fact, is almost more poet than songwriter, more Buddhist monk than rock star. But he burrows his writing deeply into the fabric of music and voices and sings them as only he could. --

Contributed by Marie.

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October 25, 2004

Leonard Cohen’s eccentric new release is sure to
challenge even his most loyal fans

Leonard Cohen’s latest studio album, Dear Heather, could just as easily have borrowed the title Ecce Homo. Like that rambling self-critique by the 19th century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, Dear Heather is a strange, at times impenetrable, work completed by a respected and masterly writer late in his career. And like Ecce Homo, the failure or (who knows what most critics will conclude?) genius of Dear Heather will surely be debated for years to come.

In stark contrast to Cohen’s previous studio release, the critically acclaimed Ten New Songs (2001), Dear Heather is underwhelming and incomplete. Ten New Songs showcased the iconic Montreal-born singer’s greatest musical attributes: the gravelly baritone sing-speaking deeply moving poetic verse, set to simple yet emotionally awakening country-folk guitar and piano. Dear Heather offers few flashes of that Cohen brilliance. To get to the gems, Cohen’s fans will have to sift through a fair amount of dirt.

The title track is particularly challenging. A robotic Cohen repeats, in a staccato monotone, the same five lines over and over: "Dear Heather/ Please walk by me again/ With a drink in your hand/ And your legs all white/ From the winter." The song Morning Glory, which begins with a promising jazz bassline, adds up to a collection of disjointed, muttered phrases that sound more like unfathomable ravings than complex ideas.

The music also goes astray in places. On To a Teacher, Cohen, who turned 70 last month, has penned an interesting long-form poem. But the lyrics—"Did you confuse the Messiah in a mirror/ And rest because he had finally come/ Let me cry help beside you, Teacher/ I have entered under this dark roof"—become lost in a cacophony of background synth beeps and peripheral horns. Throughout the album, the music struggles to get in synch with the words, and vice versa.

Cohen, who has created only 11 studio albums over his remarkable 37-year musical career, shines brightest when his lyrical romanticism takes firm root and where his partner, vocalist Anjani Thomas, assumes center stage. On the arresting cut The Faith, Cohen and Thomas unite his groaning croak and her angelic melodies behind a tight musical composition that is the album’s high point. When the duo belt out "The sea so deep and blind/ The sun, the wild regret/ The club, the wheel, the mind/ O love, aren’t you tired yet?"—it is as if they are daring the listener not to be moved. The two also attain excellence on Tennessee Waltz, in which Cohen, a longtime disciple of Hank Williams, laments of lost love in front of a twangy, honky-tonk guitar.

Cohen, of course, is known for being artistically explorative. As a young writer he turned the literary world on its ear with Beautiful Losers, a novel that had critics comparing Cohen to the likes of James Joyce and Henry Miller. On his early records, he became one of the first musicians to mix the language of the Bible with often-haunting melodies, as with Story of Isaac on 1969’s Songs from a Room. And Cohen has often challenged conventional recording wisdom, adding classical piano, for example, to folk or pop albums—as with Tacoma Trailer, on 1992’s Democracy. With Dear Heather, Cohen clearly is still attempting to break new musical ground. The question listeners will have to ask themselves: Is he nearing the end of his creative rope?

We wouldn’t care were it not for Cohen’s brilliant legacy. His innovative lyrics and singular vocal delivery have pushed the envelope in folk, pop, rock, country and alternative. The list of musicians who have recorded his songs—Jeff Buckley, Rufus Wainwright, Sheryl Crow and k.d. lang have each done versions of just one song, Hallelujah—is testimony to the depth of his talent and breadth of his following. All of these factors magnify the limitations of Dear Heather. For Nietzsche, Ecce Homo marked the end of a celebrated philosophical journey. Was Ten New Songs the last truly sublime work that we will see from Canada’s great musical innovator? Let’s give the master the benefit of the doubt and hope there is more talent yearning to be set free.

Contributed by Kelley.

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UK (editorial review)

Anyone who thinks that rock stars should have a retirement age is obviously not a big Leonard Cohen fan. Aged 70, Cohen has rolled out Dear Heather, which stands, alongside Ten New Songs and I'm Your Man as proof positive that there is life after youth for this part-time monk. But even on his early albums, Cohen sounded positively ancient, wise beyond his years- you get the feeling that he's at the age he was born to be, and Dear Heather feels like the album he's been waiting to make. As soon as it starts, you know it's not going to be anything less than classic Cohen. His deep rich croon, weathered slightly through the ravages of age, has matured like an oak tree, betraying enough expression that even a man of 50 would sound immature with his words. Musically, he's ably supported primarily by soft keyboard textures and female vocals that sooth the rough edges of his voice, but nothing too obtrusive to blunt his vision. Impossible to pick a standout, the album works as a whole piece, and even when Cohen tackles country standard "The Tennessee Waltz", its heartbreaking content make it sound like his own work. Essential.

Contributed by Jarkko.

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Guardian Unlimited

October 22, 2004

* * * (5 Stars - Highest Rating)

There are few things more indicative of the changing attitudes to music over the last 20 years than the shift in public opinion about Leonard Cohen. In the early 80s, his stock in America had fallen to the point where his record label would no longer release his albums. In Britain, he was seen less as an unimpeachable giant of rock than as a grizzled-looking punchline.There was much hilarity on The Young Ones whenever his name was mentioned. His oeuvre was dismissed as "music to slash your wrists to" by Paul Weller, a man who knows a thing or two about releasing records that make the listener lose the will to live.

Last month, Leonard Cohen became the first 60s rock legend to turn 70. It is not just his age that makes him unique among his musical peers: no other figure can claim such universal regard. Rock stars who dabble in Eastern religion are routinely sneered at, but when Cohen became a Zen monk - albeit one who appears to be on some kind of flexi-time arrangement - no one scoffed. He avoids the jibes about age that routinely dog his fellow 60s survivors, partly because he was too old for rock'n'roll when he released his first album, and partly because he seems to carry himself with a dignity unmatched elsewhere in the music industry. His work has survived everything, up to and including Don Henley covering it at Bill Clinton's inaugural gala. And if the lyrics of his 11th studio album are anything to go by, he's also one popular septuagenarian with the ladies. "Because of a few songs wherein I spoke of their mystery, women have been exceptionally kind to my old age," he slyly observes on Because Of.

Nevertheless, Dear Heather demonstrates that age brings with it its own problems, not least the fact that Cohen cannot really sing any more. Ravaged by cigarettes, his voice has almost vanished into a husking whisper: the contrast between Dear Heather's closing track, a cover of Tennessee Waltz recorded live in 1985, and the rest of the album is startling. However, he knows what to do with what he has left. His inability to hold a tune means he sounds indifferent during On That Day, his response to 9/11 and its aftermath, yet it fits perfectly because his response to 9/11 is dolefully puzzled: "Some people say it's what we deserve/ some people say they hate us of old/I wouldn't know, I'm just holding the fort." At the other extreme, on The Faith, he recalls, of all people, Serge Gainsbourg, murmuring darkly amid a female chorus. Without his vocals, the song would appear to simply be about spiritual fulfilment, but he lends a weird erotic charge, making the line: "Oh love aren't you tired yet?" sound positively filthy.

Elsewhere, he just gives up and speaks the words or lets his female vocalists Anjani Thomas and Sharon Robinson take over. You can see why but it also adds to a sense of unease about the album. During Dear Heather, it becomes hard to escape the sensation that Cohen is expending all his energy on the words and losing interest in music, not least on Villanelle For Our Time and to a Teacher, which sound less like songs than poetry recitals set to vague jazz backings. This is not entirely out of character. He is famous for joking that he only became a singer because there was no money in poetry, while even his devoted sidekick Thomas has expressed misgivings at the "cheesy" synthesizers with which he smothered some of greatest songs on 1988's I'm Your Man. Here, the arrangements are frequently ghastly: rhythms that sound suspiciously like factory settings on a cheap synthesizer, keyboard noises that sound suspiciously like factory settings on a cheap synthesizer, the oily sax imported from a hotel lobby muzak tape.

The words of Because Of and The Undertow are brilliant, but they gain nothing from being set to music, particularly when that music sounds like it is being played by the house band from Phoenix Nights.

Much of Dear Heather seems retrospective: there are dedications to deceased poets whom Cohen knew in the Montreal of the late 50s and The Faith is adapted from an old Québecois folk song. There is also a distinct sense of directness and finality about many of the lyrics. Cohen declined to do any interviews because, he claims, the album speaks for itself and there is nothing more to add. Add that to the seeming disinterest in the music, and more than one voice has wondered if this alternately beguiling and bewildering album might be Cohen's last work.

For all its charm and lyrical brilliance, you can't help hoping that isn't the case. Not just because it would be nice for him to retire from a universally regarded career on an unequivocal high, but because Dear Heather's best moments suggest that it would be a waste for him to stop now.,11712,1332457,00.html

Contributed by Kelley and Dick.

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Rolling Stone

November 11, 2004

* * * 1/2 (5 Stars - Highest Rating)

Thirteen new (and old) songs from Canada's hippest seventy-year-old it's folly to complain that Leonard Cohen has lost his voice, since he never really had one to begin with. From the thin Canadian-folkie drawl of 1967's Songs of Leonard Cohen to the grave, gravelly tone that settled in circa 1988's I'm Your Man, Cohen is such a sourpuss that it's easy to miss his jokes. Take "Because Of," from the new Dear Heather, in which he seems to enact the title of his 1977 album, Death of a Ladies' Man: "Because of a few songs/Wherein I spoke of their mystery/Women have been exceptionally kind to my old age," he croaks as only someone who lived with Rebecca De Mornay in his fifties before heading off to a monastery in his sixties can. "They say, 'Look at me, Leonard/Look at me one last time.'"

What makes Dear Heather tick are the ladies who look back: longtime co-composer/producer Sharon Robinson and producer-engineer Leanne Ungar, as well as occasional co-lead vocalist Anjani Thomas, who open up the arrangements from the often repetitive Casio-lounge feel of 2001's Ten New Songs. Sometimes their work evokes wood paneling and tip jars ("Go No More A-Roving," with words by another famous poet, Lord Byron); sometimes it's stark (the spoken-with-piano "Villanelle for Our Time"); sometimes subdued and trip-hoppy ("The Letters"). But given how monochromatic Cohen tends to be, the jumbled feel works in Dear Heather's favor.

Rolling Stone

Contributed by Kelley.

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Eye Weekly

October 7, 2004

2. LEONARD COHEN, "Dear Heather": Here's what the title track to Cohen's 11th studio album in 36 years sounds like: five lines of alternately prosaic and impressionistic lyrics, repeated over and over in an unworldly croak that approximates what Tom Waits probably sounds like first thing in the morning, while a woozy melody vaguely reminiscent of The Band's "Theme from the Last Waltz" lurches along underneath. Indelible. (From Dear Heather,, out Oct. 26)

Contributed by Dick Straub.

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Paper Magazine

October 2004

On Leonard Cohen's latest effort, the sound of his gravelly baritone speaks as much as his poems. "Villanelle for Our Time" features him reciting beautiful lyrics set against barely audible keys, a quietly strummed stand-up bass and lightly brushed drums. Anjani Thomas accompanies him on eight of the 12 songs, bringing a perfect balance to his rumbles with her light, soft voice. The effect of their duet skirts religious territory in "The Faith," where an oud is the only thing that stops it from becoming a hymn. Though intensely lonely in its stark acoustics, Dear Heather is warm enough to feel as if it could commiserate.

Contributed by Kelley.

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BBC News


Singer Leonard Cohen is marking his 70th birthday in September by recording a new album. BBC News Online looks at the veteran performer's life and career.

Leonard Cohen's songs of longing and despair have ensured his name has become a shorthand for music which evokes misery and depression - despite the black humour evident in much of his work.

But it was as a poet and novelist that the Canadian artist first made his name.

Born in 1934 to a wealthy family in Montreal, Cohen was deeply affected by the death of his father when he was nine - an event which clouded much of the rest of his life.

He formed his first band at 17, the Buckskin Boys, and published a book of poetry dedicated to his father in 1956.

In 1959, he was given a $2,000 arts scholarship which he used to travel around Europe, settling on the Greek island of Hydra.


Early success was fitful. His first book, The Favourite Game, had difficulty securing distribution in Canada after its London publication in 1963.

The follow-up, Beautiful Losers - about a love triangle - caused outrage at home. "This is the most revolting book ever written in Canada," one review raged, while another damned it as "verbal masturbation".

Despite support from other quarters - dubbing him a latter-day James Joyce - Cohen was having difficulty paying his way as a novelist.

He left Greece for Nashville, and at the end of 1967, his debut album, The Songs Of Leonard Cohen, was released.

Its bleak subject matter found favour with a cult audience worldwide, tapping into folk music's new-found popularity.

Folk singer Judy Collins coaxed a nervous Cohen into appearing on stage with her in New York. He suffered stage fright, and walked off stage, underscoring his reputation as a deeply sensitive performer.

Follow-up Songs From A Room, released in 1971, featured "Story of Isaac" and "Bird On The Wire" - a track covered numerous times by many artists.

Waning appeal

But his output waned during the 1970s - along with his appeal.

This did not prevent him from releasing some of his finest work, though. Tracks like "Famous Blue Raincoat," from the album Songs of Love and Hate.

"Chelsea Hotel" - featuring on New Skin For The Old Ceremony - was an account of a sexual encounter with Janis Joplin, a memory from his days at the centre of New York's late-60s culture.

It helped seal his reputation as a womaniser, he recently said: "I never discuss my mistresses or my tailors." In 1977, a collaboration with Phil Spector resulted in Death of A Ladies' Man - which Cohen later disowned.

His career looked set to remain in relative obscurity until 1987 when Jennifer Warnes released Famous Blue Raincoat, a collection of Cohen's tracks covered by the former backing singer.

That, and a BBC documentary which followed, focused attention on his album I'm Your Man - which kicked off with one of his most famous tracks, "First We Take Manhattan."

The more sophisticated sound won him new fans and saw his older work reappraised.

But after 1993's The Future, Cohen disappeared from the scene.


In 1996, he was ordained as a Zen monk at the Mount Baldy Zen Centre, on a mountain-top overlooking San Bernadino, California.

Cohen, who was given the name of Jikan - "silent one" - had been living in the centre for the past two years, following an interest in Buddhism which began in the early 1970s.

By the end of the 1990s Cohen began to reappraise his life, and he found his depression was lifting.

"I saw the sunlight that shines on the chrome fenders of cars, and thought, 'Gee, that's pretty.' "I said to myself, 'Wow, this must be like everybody feels.' The background of self-analysis I had lived with disappeared," he told The Observer newspaper in 2001.

A new album, Ten New Songs, was released to acclaim in 2001.

To mark his 70th birthday, a new album, Dear Heather, will be released, featuring 12 new tracks.

It was previewed to fans in at a Cohen fan convention in New York last month - which offered tours of Cohen landmarks in the city, among other events.

Despite the ups and downs of his career, Cohen's fanbase has remained committed - and ensures there will always be an audience for his take on life's darker side.

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Entertainment - Reuters


By Barry A. Jeckell

NEW YORK (Billboard) - A week after his 70th birthday, Leonard Cohen (news) will release a new album, "Dear Heather," on Sept. 28, his first studio recording since 2001's acclaimed "Ten New Songs."

The new Columbia Records set will feature 12 new tracks, as well as a live recording of the Pee Wee King/Redd Stewart country standard "Tennessee Waltz."

While "Ten New Songs" saw the Canadian poet/singer/songwriter collaborating with former backup singer Sharon Robinson, who produced and performed the music and co-wrote all of the songs, this time Cohen seems to be standing more on his own. He worked again with producer/engineer Leann Ungar (Laurie Anderson, Janis Ian), who was on hand last month in New York to preview some of the material during a gathering of Cohen fans.

Cohen has reportedly also been crafting a new book of poetry, "Book of Longing," the title of which stems from a lyric in the "Ten New Songs" piece "That Don't Make It Junk." It is unknown when the book will be published, as it was first revealed to be on the way when he was awarded the Order of Canada, the country's highest civil honor, in January 2003.

"Ten New Songs" debuted at No. 143 on the Billboard 200, and at No. 4 on Billboard's Top Canadian Albums chart.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

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Artist's First New Collection Since 2001's Ten New Songs
Features Twelve Original Cohen Compositions + Live Track, "Tennessee Waltz"
Dear Heather in Stores Tuesday, September 28

NEW YORK, July 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Columbia Records is set to release Dear Heather, the eagerly-awaited new album from the legendary singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen. The album, Cohen's first since 2001's critically-acclaimed Ten New Songs, will be in stores on Tuesday, September 28.

Produced and Engineered by Leanne Ungar, Dear Heather debuts twelve new studio recordings composed by Cohen: "Go No More A-Roving," "Because Of," "The Letters," "Undertow," "Morning Glory," "On That Day," "Villanelle for Our Time," "There For You," "Dear Heather," "Nightingale,"" "To A Teacher," "The Faith" and the live track, "Tennessee Waltz," Cohen's emotional interpretation of the country-western standard popularized by Roy Acuff, Chet Atkins, Patti Page and others.

Leonard Cohen's debut album The Songs Of Leonard Cohen, was released on Columbia Records on December 27, 1967. Since that time, Cohen has recorded ten additional studio albums -- Songs From A Room (1969), Songs Of Love and Hate (1971), New Skin For The Old Ceremony (1973), Death Of A Ladies' Man (1977), Recent Songs (1979), Various Positions (1984), I'm Your Man (1988), The Future (1992), Ten New Songs (2001), and Dear Heather (2004); three live albums -- Live Songs (1972), Cohen Live (1994) and Field Commander Cohen: Tour Of 1979 (2000); and two "greatest hits" collections -- Best Of Leonard Cohen (1975) and More Best Of (1997). Best Of Leonard Cohen was certified gold by the RIAA in May 2000. Over the course of his career, Leonard Cohen has sold more than 11 million albums worldwide.

Cohen has published 11 books, including two novels (1963's The Favorite Game and 1966's Beautiful Losers). His songs have been covered throughout the world and have influenced generations of songwriters. Cohen's music has earned the accolades of other artists in tribute albums in France, Norway, Canada, Spain, the Czech Republic, South Africa and the United States; among these are the best-selling American album Tower Of Song and Jennifer Warnes' Famous Blue Raincoat.

SOURCE Columbia Records
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