Understandably, Leonard Cohen is the Leonard Cohen of our time, but if something horrible, terrible, and awful happened and the world had to wake up one day without Leonard Cohen crooning his sad songs of life, Bill Callahan would be his rightful successor. Thus, Bill Callahan laying his own deep-toned croon on to one of the great Leonard Cohen songs isn’t just amazing, it’s downright etched in the stars. Callahan’s take on “So Long, Marianne” is steeped in the humming Americana he does so well, and the song seems to weep with his delivery. It’s a beautiful, beautiful track, and I could only dream of Callahan lending his talents to an entire album of Cohen tracks …
The song arrives on The Songs of Leonard Cohen Covered, a full album of artists doin’ that Cohen thing. These artists include Cass McCombs and Will Oldham amongst many other talented folk.
The time has come for me to regurgitate an entire years worth of music on to the digital table so you can pick through the mess and see what I liked and possibly find something you missed or something you agree with or something you’ve never heard of and suddenly like. As usual there are probably a hundred songs that I listened to and exclaimed “this is the best song ever” and then totally forgot to post anything about and also, as always, a lot of the songs tend be picked from the latter part of the year because my drug-addled brain is unable to source anything from the front half. It’s a good mix this year and I’m proud that for almost 5 years now I’ve had the opportunity to share my thoughts on music on this amazing website with you, our amazing readers.
There is very little needed to be said about “Baby’s Breath” – the first single from Bill Calahan’s new album Apocalypse. It is simple and sparse and elegantly highlights the rootsy timber of Mr. Callahan’s heart squeezing voice. I am slack-jawed in love with the way “Baby’s Breath” starts as a man in a room on a stool with a guitar and as the story, dark and visceral, ebbs and flows and expands, little by little a full cadre of musicians and instruments thicken in to existence.
Somebody help me, my teeth are locked in eye-widening excitement.