Selected tracks from
the recent live DVD.
By Blurt Staff
We recently ran a feature on a spate of Leonard Cohen DVDs
that were turning up – among them, the Columbia/Legacy title Songs From the Road, which documented
the Bard’s acclaimed 2008-09 world tour. As our reviewer wrote at the time:
the Road’s director/producer,
Ed Sanders, knows that the customers for this DVD want the Leonard Cohen
concert experience in hi-def and nothing else. They don’t want directorial
intrusions or commentary. So this DVD is not about the crowd; it’s not about
the backstage. It’s certainly not about the director as a cinema-verite
journalist poking around the edges of an icon’s world tour looking for a
Cohen is in his celebrated late-period
chanson mode – wearing a hat and well-tailored dark suit, singing in his low
voice with great emotion if not range, sometimes falling to his knees for
emphasis as the stage-light colors accentuate his songs’ moods. The DVD is
there for that, and also astutely observes his empathetic backing band under
music director/bassist Roscoe Beck. The band’s work has the restrained, elegant
melancholy of Astor Piazzolla’s groups – especially Javier Mas on 12-string
guitar and several exotic stringed instruments. And the female back-up singers,
Sharon Robinson and sisters Hattie and Charley Webb, cushion and soothe his voice when it threatens to get
too raw. The music’s quality is indisputable.
So we’ve now got the visual proof for you BLURT readers – you can check out
our stream of selected songs from the Songs DVD, below, and we’re pretty sure you’ll dig it.