The past two years have been good to the enigmatic and sometimes mysterious Cohen. He released Old Ideas, his first studio album in eight years, to wide acclaim, and Sylvie Simmons published a highly praised biography of Cohen, I m Your Man. Now we get to hear the man himself in these interviews that music writer Burger gathers from various music magazines and newspapers some hard to find and others not previously published in English from 1966 to the present. On his musical predecessors: I am very much aware of where I stood in a long line of singers or poets... and to be one of the figures that allows the tradition to continue is very gratifying. In an early interview, Cohen comments that he doesn t go around looking for joy. I don t go around looking for melancholy either... I m not on an archaeological expedition. In the most recent interview, from 2012, Cohen reflects on the nature of song: Song operates on so many levels... it addresses the heart in its ordeals and its defeats but it is also useful in getting the dishes done or cleaning the house. Every collection like this has its uneven and repetitious moments, but Burger s discerning editorial hand selects those conversations with Cohen that offer insights into his music. For longtime and fans as well as newcomers to Cohen s work. --Publishers Weekly
Burger (editor, Business Jet Traveler; Springsteen on Springsteen: Interviews, Speeches, and Encounters) presents a close-up and personal portrait of novelist, poet, singer/songwriter, cult figure, and sometime philosopher Leonard Cohen (b. 1934) through more than 50 collected interviews conducted between 1966 and 2012. Montreal-born Cohen s literary style was heavily influenced by the Spanish poet Federico García Lorca, the Beats, Pete Seeger, the Almanac ¬Singers, and the synagogue prayers of his childhood. His 1966 encounter with folk singer Judy Collins and her subsequent recording of his song Suzanne led to the start of his recording career. Cohen s later work, Hallelujah, has become a modern-day hymn, covered by the likes of Jeff Buckley, Rufus Wainwright, John Cale, and others. ¬VERDICT This book will appeal to Cohen aficionados and researchers. Readers will gain a wealth of information about his take on life while enduring the repetition of facts that occurs with multiple interviews. Those interested in further exploration would enjoy Sylvie Simmons s 2012 biography, I m Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen, which covers the artist s early years and Stranger Music: Selected Poems and Songs, a notable comp¬ilation of his best works. Elizabeth D. Eisen, Appleton P.L., WI --Library Journal
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About the Author
Jeff Burger has covered popular music for American and international magazines and newspapers for four decades. He has also published interviews with such musicians as Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits, Billy Joel, the Righteous Brothers, and the members of Steely Dan. He has contributed to more than 75 periodicals, books, and websites, including the Los Angeles Times, Reader's Digest and Family Circle and Gentlemen's Quarterly. A former consulting editor at Time Inc., he has been editor of several magazines, He lives in Ridgewood, New Jersey.
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