http://www.citizen-times.com/apps/pbcs. ... 4/1033/ENT
Love this - “I just always wanted to show off.”
Leonard Cohen to play rare date in Asheville
Amy Jones • take5 Correspondent • published October 30, 2009 12:15 am
Leonard Cohen performs Sunday night at Wolfe Auditorium. (Special to the Citizen-Times)
IF YOU GO
Who: Leonard Cohen.
When: 8 p.m. Sunday.
Where: Thomas Wolfe Auditorium.
How much: $48-$250 at the Civic Center box office (251-5505) or http://www.ticketmaster.com.
On the Net: http://www.leonard-cohen.com.
When Canadian-born poet-musician Leonard Cohen takes the stage Sunday night at the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, the appearance will showcase the career of a man as unique and mysterious as the mountains that surround us.
Cohen is a performer who at his very best is a writer first, one full of curiosity and insight. The folk-hearted singer turned 75 in September, yet can stretch a live show to nearly three hours. Here's a look at how his career created an icon.
Establishing himself on the folk scene by the late 1960s, Cohen's body of work has seen steady interest over the past four decades with an induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame finally cementing his caliber of contributions in 2008. Oddly enough, it may have been his contribution on the TV talent show “American Idol” in that same year that garnered him a whole new wave of fans.
In the 2008 season of the Fox reality powerhouse, contestant Jason Castro sang Cohen's “Hallelujah,” a song that has been performed by everyone from Willie Nelson to Bono but is best remembered as Jeff Buckley's masterful serenade. The judges were moved, the crowd went wild, and Castro was moved on to the final rounds.
“I've never had a strategy or a plan,” Cohen said in an interview for the Hall of Fame. “I just always wanted to show off.”
Finding the words
Look it up on any blog or ask a Cohen fan, and you'll hear similar words about this singer time and again: “spiritual,” “deep,” “wise.” The truth is no single adjective could best describe Cohen's greatest gift — his words.
A writer from the inside out, his lyrics often sail beyond the rock and jazz that serve as their springboard. While Cohen's band gives his songs a current, it's the lyrics of his message that give his music flight. Cohen writes: “But all I ever learned of love / Was how to shoot someone before they outdrew ya.”
“It has to satisfy the heart and the gut and the mind,” he also said.
As an early folk smith, Cohen could have likely gone on to create his circle among the New York City beatniks of the day and still had a successful career. But Cohen was never a malleable presence, his curiosity and contemplation led him to try various instrumentation, allowed him to uncover greater, more provocative themes and ultimately called him to spend time in a monastery. “I wasn't looking for a religion,” Cohen has said of the time in a California Zen Buddhist retreat. “But I had a great sense of disorder in my life, of chaos and depression, of distress.”
Cohen emerged from the monastery called Mount Baldy in 1999, five years after taking up residence there. He has been recording and performing live ever since.
Amy Jones writes about entertainment for take5. E-mail her at AJontheair@hotmail.com.