The death of poet/songwriter/singer Leonard Cohen last November came just weeks after releasing his coolly caustic, spiritually searing final album “You Want It Darker.” If anything, the Canadian singer’s brand of melancholy, introspective folk rock has only gotten more popular since he began making music in 1967 with “Songs of Leonard Cohen."
Cohen’s sensual monotone may be gone, but he’s now the subject of tributes and even a never-before-shown lost film documentary. Believed to be lost, director Tony Palmer’s documentary “Bird on a Wire” that captured Cohen on a long intimate tour throughout Europe in 1972 gets its first screenings this month at Film Forum (through Jan. 31). At the Music Hall of Williamsburg, “Sincerely, L. Cohen: A Celebration of Leonard Cohen” brings together 18 artists of differing genres covering their favorite Cohen tracks. There are elders of punk rock and urbane folk (Lenny Kaye, Richard Thompson), distant family members (Teddy Thompson, Lucy Wainwright Roche), nu-Appalachian music makers (Amy Helm, Elvis Perkins) and more on hand for an evening of tribute to arguably America’s finest songwriter.
We asked “Sincerely” performers Lee Ranaldo of '90s punk-rockers Sonic Youth, Adam Weiner of Barack Obama-recommended band Low Cut Connie and Americana singer Josh Ritter to share how Leonard Cohen has influenced them.