Artist: Leonard Cohen
Album: Can’t Forget: A Souvenir of the Grand Tour
Label: Columbia Records
Release Date: 05/12/2015
At the age of 80, Leonard Cohen is rivaled only by Willie Nelson in terms of artistic longevity and sheer dexterity. Where most performers would have long since retired and confined their activities to wandering about the golf course or taking weekly lunches with old associates, Cohen continues to tour, playing live before appreciative audiences and sharing the full breadth of his remarkable repertoire. Live recordings culled from those tours have dominated his output of late, and while Can’t Forget is indeed another fine concert souvenir, it’s also offers proof that as a poet and performer, the man’s never never been better.
The songs offered here delve deeper into that exceptional catalog; chief among the ten tracks, there’s a version of “Joan of Arc” that’s seductively sublime, a pair of songs with a basis in the blues, “Got a Little Secret” and “Never Gave Nobody Trouble,” the swaying yet salacious “Light As The Breeze” and a number that brings to mind the ethereal airs of the classic “Suzanne,” that is, “Night Comes On.”
Cohen’s deep mournful croon still sounds surprisingly strong, and accompanied by a heavenly choir of background vocalists, the material casts the kind of intimate spell that finds the audience clearly charmed and transfixed. There’s rarely been an addition to Cohen’s canon that couldn’t be deemed essential, but in truth, none could be called more revelatory or revealing than this.