Leonard Cohen's Legacy Grows Stronger With New "Thanks For The Dance" LP (Nov 22) + SF Leonard Cohen Festival (Nov 8-10)

Posted by Billyjam, November 7, 2019 11:25am | Post a Comment
Pre-order Nov 22 Leonard Cohen album Thanks For The Dance on CD and LP/vinyl

Three years following Leonard Cohen’s November 2016 passing at age 82, interest in the Canadian poet/author/singer/songwriter has continued to steadily grow with his legacy getting stronger with each passing year. Current proof of this lies in the popularity of the recently closed five month “Leonard Cohen: A Crack in Everything” exhibit at NYC’s Jewish Museum, anticipation for the upcoming new Cohen album Thanks For The Dance on CD and LP/vinyl (Nov 22nd), and wide interest in this weekend’s San Francisco Leonard Cohen Festival (SFLCF).

With headliners Conspiracy of Beards plus fellow Cohen inspired acts Ali & The Thieves and Kugelplex, the SFLCF will take place on November 8th, 9th and 10th at the Swedish American Hall and Cafe Du Nord  that share the same building on Market Street but with separate entrances. TIX + INFO.

While the unique musical style of acclaimed San Francisco male vocal ensemble the Conspiracy of Beards (harmonizing uplifting a-capella rearrangements of Leonard Cohen) may not have changed that much since they formed sixteen years ago, something else has distinctly changed. “Audiences at Conspiracy of Beards shows have changed,” confirmed longtime member Daryl Henline of the male choir whose membership numbers from 20 to 30 singers at any given time. 

“I can definitely say that in light of Leonard Cohen's passing back in late 2016 that suddenly a lot of people became aware of him and realized the great loss his death was.”  Henline added that part of this new wave of interest in Leonard Cohen lies in the fact that he was a respected artist up until the end, when he released one of his best albums; You Want It Darker. “

"That last album [You Want It Darker] was very beautiful and tremendously moving and consequently a lot of people, both old and new fans, connected with it and it got a lot of attention,” said Henline, comparing
the overwhelmingly positive reaction to Cohen's swan song album to that of David Bowie's equally popular final album Blackstar (also avail on LP/vinyl) that similarly was released right around the time of his tragic passing in January 2016.  “Just like with Bowie’s last album, each were processing the end of life so they were profoundly heartfelt and moving.”  Released just before Cohen’s passing on November 7th, 2016,  You Want It Darker was reviewed by Amoeba at the time as "a soulful exploration of life and death” and the perfect farewell album on which he had “gone out on a breathtaking note."

The upcoming new Leonard Cohen album Thanks For The Dance on CD and LP/vinyl (via Sony Legacy) will be a sequel of sorts to You Want It Darker as reportedly the songs on the artist's first posthumous album have all been assembled from components and outtakes from the Darker recording sessions and were finished by the artist’s son Adam Cohen along with an impressive list of studio guests. These artists to be featured on the new album include Beck, Jennifer Warnes, Damien Rice and Leslie Feist. Thanks For The Dance will be Cohen’s 15th studio album and will feature such tracks as the advance single “The Goal” (music video below).

Leonard Cohen "The Goal" from (forthcoming/pre-order) Thanks For The Dance on CD and LP/vinyl

In addition to pre-ordering Thanks For The Dance on CD and LP/vinyl Cohen fans in the Bay Area should try to attend at least one night of this weekend’s  San Francisco Leonard Cohen Festival and be sure to catch the always amazing Conspiracy of Beards who have been passionately paying homage to Cohen for over a decade and a half.  An all male a-capella group, who shared both a love of Leonard Cohen’s music songs and inspiration of the vision of their dying friend Peter Kadyk, COB formed in 2003 as an octet who intended to do just one gig only.

Sixteen years and hundreds of gigs later, COB show no signs of slowing down; in great part due to their respect for Peter Kadyk and his vision. “[Peter] was a shining inspiration for a lot of us. He died at age 30 of HIV....Over the years, when we were all hanging out in his kitchen playing music, Peter used to say 'You know we should start a men's choir singing the songs of Leonard Cohen and it should be called A Conspiracy of Beards.'"


The late Kadyk apparently envisioned the Conspiracy as a bunch of men with long beards from another time and place. "I think in Peter's mind it was all mixed up with some scenes from [Russian film director] Tarkovsky's cutting room floor, something from a dark, frozen, 19th century Russian winter; somber, grey, and hairy, harsh shadows and all that, the grave visual, eastern companion to Cohen's poems,” shared former COB member Andrew Kushin.

“Leonard Cohen's music has a very special connection to men. At least to guys like us,” added member Daryl Hemline. ”Music has brought us together but when we got together we found more than we were looking for. We found a sense of community.”  That community is ever growing and evolving as “we continue to bring in new singers" and always “learning a few new arrangements and trying to incorporate new elements into the music,” said the former musical director of the group.


Advance TIX + INFO for the SF Leonard Cohen Fest (Nov 8-10th)
Pre-order Thanks For The Dance on CD and LP/vinyl
Peruse the 5 pages of Leonard Cohen's back catalog @ Amoeba
Below check out a selection of Leonard Cohen music videos

Leonard Cohen Suzanne (from "Live At The Isle of Wight 1970")

Leonard Cohen "Hallelujah"

Leonard Cohen "So Long, Marianne"

Leonard Cohen "First We Take Manhattan"

Leonard Cohen "You Want It Darker title track" (audio)

Relevant Tags

Conspiracy Of Beards (6), You Want It Darker (1), Leonard Cohen (15), San Francisco Leonard Cohen Festival (1), Thanks For The Dance (1)