Besides Bob Dylan, no popular songwriter can compete with Leonard Cohen’s body of work. Though Dylan has recorded three times as much music as Cohen (33 studio albums to Cohen’s 11), Cohen’s creed is quality over quantity. His somber baritone, literary-bohemian air, and reverence for language have spurred a die-hard following since the late ’60s.
Despite his notoriety, several fans know Cohen best through the covers of his songs. The late Jeff Buckley sang his piece “Hallelujah,” in the ’90s, and Rufus Wainwright performed it for the soundtrack of the blockbuster Shrek in 2001. In I’m Your Man, a 2005 documentary on the songwriter, Wainwright, Nick Cave, Beth Orton, U2 and others also tackled Cohen covers, and in doing so, articulated the singer’s legacy to a new crowd.
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Now, at 74, Cohen is re-staking his claim to his work with a world tour (and his first U.S. concerts in 15 years). When he stops at Red Rocks tonight, expect a 3-hour, career-spanning set list. There will be beautiful backing vocals from Sharon Robinson and the Webb sisters, elegant Spanish guitar from Javier Mas, and a graceful and grateful Cohen, who is finally receiving the large-scale recognition he deserves.
Bonus: Cohen’s voice has aged nicely with his songs, and you can get a feel for his band’s sound in these videos.
Tue, Jun. 2. 8 p.m.
Red Rocks Amphitheatre, 18300 W. Alameda Pkwy., Morrison, 720-865-2474