In Memoriam I – Leonard Cohen

It was a shit year for our musical gods. Seriously. It almost couldn’t have gotten worse (hey 2017 that is not an invitation, its time to slow down!) when we lost Boulez and Bowie, but we thought the year was bad enough, but then we lost Prince and Rautavaara, and the rout (see what I did there?) was on. We even lost Merle Haggard, and he was tough as nails, a human grizzly bear. I’ve seen sidewalks that looked healthier than him and he just kept on going.

It was a shit year. We lost Sharon Jones, Leon Russell, and Keith Emerson. Hell, we even lost someone from Mott the Hoople. Just a dirty, dirty Donald Trump won the presidency kind of year.

So in an effort to commemorate a few of these legends before this year (which can go straight to hell) lurches to its own untimely death, may I present Leonard Cohen to you? Here are what I think are  his 12 best songs. If you disagree with my choices – let me know. Yes – Hallelujah is not on my list. Its a great song, but not a top 12 song in the Leonard Cohen songbook.

Why are there 12 songs? I challenge you to eliminate any one of these songs from your top 10 list. Just go ahead and try. Each one is a sculpted gem as close to perfect as you can get.

And it is so hard to get down to 10 songs. I could just choose either the I’m your man, or The Future albums. But it feels like that ignores the early and late work that were so fantastic in their own ways. Especially Ten New Songs, which was such an amazing offering.

So here is the playlist. Let me know what you think.








I Love the Lord by Jonathan Harvey

Here is one of my favorite pieces from the choral literature – I Love the Lord by Jonathan Harvey. This is a performance from 2011 with a great pickup choir that came together for my masters degree recital. It was a very stressful but exciting experience. These singers were outstanding to work with; many very good friends. This recital happened at St. Matthias Church, which made it extra special. There are parishioners in the audience, and my priest at that time Ken Near with his wife Karen.

Goodbye Grandpa

It is impossible for us to measure how our relatives impact us. My grandfather was a great man to so many, including to me. I’m never going to know how to immortalize him properly, he had such an amazing life. Instead of trying to do it with words, I’ll do it with music. Someday later I’m sure I will want to write something, but today I won’t.