You know what you’re supposed to feel when you hear that song. You can’t even hear it anymore. You just know that’s the song that’s supposed to make me feel sad now.
—Alan Light on his new book, The Holy Or The Broken: Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley, And The Unlikely Ascent Of “Hallelujah." Hear the interview and read an excerpt about how the power anthem almost didn’t see the light of day.
The thing with Leonard [Cohen], he’s not singing about frivolous things. He never has, you know? It’s just great to have someone like him in this world that is very focused on the juvenile sort of things — to have someone that’s writing from that place. What’s that line in ‘The Darkness’? ‘I have no future / The present’s not so pleasant.’ You’re not going to get that from Justin Bieber.
— Songwriter Ron Sexsmith talking about Leonard Cohen in an interview with All Things Considered host Melissa Block.
His speaking voice is amazing to listen to, and like any good storyteller, he knows how to use it. His off-the-cuff anecdotes come out structured, with story arcs, colorful vocabulary and punchy endings.
Were we imagining it, or is his voice lower than ever? “Yes, my voice is getting lower and lower, because I gave up smoking. I expected it to rise, but it’s gone the other way,” he says.
—WFUV’s Rita Houston in conversation with Leonard Cohen at Joe’s Pub in NYC. Photos by Mike Coppola.