All-Star Tribute Album to Leonard Cohen Features James Taylor, Iggy Pop, Norah Jones, Peter Gabriel & More

Leonard Cohen album
  • Save

Leonard Cohen album
  • Save
Photo Credit: Norman Seeff (James Taylor pictured)

Blue Note Records has announced an October 14 release date for Here it Is: A Tribute to Leonard Cohen.

The new album is produced by Larry Klein and presents renditions of Leonard Cohen’s most profound songs. The line-up of vocalists includes Norah Jones, Peter Gabriel, Gregory Porter, Sarah McLachlan, Luciana Souza, James Taylor, Iggy Pop, Mavis Staples, David Gray, and Nathaniel Rateliff. James Taylor’s “Coming Back to You” is available for listening today. The new album can be pre-ordered on D2C exclusive color vinyl, black vinyl, CD, or digital download.

Leonard Cohen had been a friend since 1982 or so, and in the last 15 years of his life, he became a close friend,” Klein says. “He was possibly the wisest and funniest friend that I had, and someone that I enjoyed immensely, in every way. After he passed away, I found myself frequently covering his songs with other artists that I was working with. One reason, of course, is that the songs are so good – in a certain way, Leonard is the best pop songwriter ever – but the other reason was that it helped keep him in the air around me.”

Klein decided to produce an album of Leonard Cohen’s songs, matching vocalists from many different genres to each. The album features a backing band of jazz-based musicians comprised of guitarist Bill Frisell, saxophonist Immanuel Wilkins, pianist Kevin Hays, bassist Scott Colley, and drummer Nate Smith with additional contributions from Greg Leisz on pedal steel guitar and Larry Goldings on organ.

“When Larry Klein invited me to participate in a Leonard Cohen tribute album, I accepted immediately,” James Taylor says of the project. “Both because Larry is a great producer of excellent recordings and a good friend, and because like almost everyone in my generation, I venerate Leonard Cohen.”

The album’s 12 tracks offer a range of Cohen’s compositions, with songs drawn from his beloved 1967 debut Songs of Leonard Cohen all the way up to selections from his final album, You Want It Darker.

“It was an immensely gratifying experience to recontextualize these poems, and shine a different light on them,” Klein continues. “I hope that this musical language that we developed together, the context that we put these things in, makes the songs connect with people in a new way.”

Here It Is: A Tribute to Leonard Cohen Tracklist

  1. “Steer Your Way” – Norah Jones
  2. “Here It Is” – Peter Gabriel
  3. “Suzanne” – Gregory Porter
  4. “Hallelujah” – Sarah McLachlan
  5. “Avalanche” – Immanuel Wilkins
  6. “Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye” – Luciana Souza
  7. “Coming Back to You” – James Taylor
  8. “You Want It Darker” – Iggy Pop
  9. “If It Be Your Will” – Mavis Staples
  10. “Seems So Long Ago, Nancy” – David Gray
  11. “Famous Blue Raincoat” – Nathaniel Rateliff
  12. “Bird on the Wire” – Bill Frisell