Thursday, September 08, 2016

Influences: Nick Cave performs Leonard Cohen's "Tower of Song"

This month, both Nick Cave and Leonard Cohen have birthdays: September 22nd for Nick Cave, September 21st for Leonard Cohen.

Along with Tom Waits and Shriekback, both musicians' music and writing have always been the strongest influences on my own work and approach to poetry. They've been the soundtrack in the background of most of my road trips across Lao America over the last two decades. One of my first introductions to Nick Cave's work was his album Henry's Dream, but also his cover of Leonard Cohen's music on the tribute album I'm Your Fan. 

"Tower of Song" is one of my favorites of Leonard's because of its masterful structure. I think it's one of those wonderful songs where everyone can do a cover of it that makes it their own, even a Leonard's voice and influence shines through. 

You can do a straight cover, or you can do it like Nick Cave, changing up the style, rhythm, tempo, and vocalizations throughout to create an ambitious depiction of what the legendary Tower of Song might well indeed sound like as you climb its various floors. It's fierce, classic and rocking and in my estimation, a wonderful and artful interpretation of Leonard Cohen's work that we all might aspire to. Give it a listen.

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