“Coupled with the richness of Leonard Cohen’s writing, your arrangements, and the seasoned musicianship each of you bring, the show left me deeply touched… …one of the most rewarding evenings of entertainment I can remember, not just here, but anywhere.” – Jordan Fisher Smith
Paul Emery presents A Thousand Kisses Deep: The Songs of Leonard Cohen, a reprise of his triumphant tribute to one of the most fascinating and enigmatic singer/songwriters of the late 60s, according to a press release.
The all-star lineup includes 13 musicians and one poet — Paul Emery, Anni McCann, Kimberly Bass, Eleanore MacDonald, Molly Fisk, Pat Jacobsen, Shay Dillon, Peter Wilson, Stephen Holland, Rick Kirkpatrick, Tom Schmidt, Mark McCartney, Brady Mills and Murray Campbell.
A Thousand Kisses Deep: The Songs of Leonard Cohen is the successful creative production of KVMR News Director and foothills promoter/musician Paul Emery. In 2011, the group assembled for three sold-out evenings at the Center for the Arts in Grass Valley and went on to perform at the Nevada Theatre and 24th Street Theatre in Sacramento. They have since performed the show a total of 12 times, selling out nine of those shows. The eight-piece band and six singers bring the instrumentation of Cohen’s most recent touring band with woodwinds, strings, guitars and keyboards and back-up singers.
Four decades after he emerged as a public literary figure and then a performer, Cohen remains one of the most compelling and fascinating musical figures of his era, and one of the very few from that time who still commands as much respect and attention, and probably as large an audience, in the 21st century as he did in the 1960s, according to a press release.
“For many people Cohen’s music is just beginning to resonate,” Emery said. “His melodies are timeless. His poetry is deep and profound, and constantly offers new insights and reactions years after their first hearing.”
Singer Kimberly Bass adds, “His music has a richness that stirs the soul. For me, it’s the way he looks at the world and our humanness, our nakedness in this harsh yet beautiful world.”
The idea to organize the tribute show came to Emery after traveling with local musician Anni McCann to see Cohen on his 2010 World Tour.
“Paul and I had both just seen his live show, where you could say he quite literally levitated his audience,” said McCann, who sings iconic Cohen songs such as “Dance Me to the End of Love” and “Joan of Arc” with Emery during the show. “When Paul asked about doing a show to celebrate Cohen’s music, at first I thought, ‘What the heck are you thinking Paul? Leonard is still touring!’ Then I began combing through his extensive list of recordings, all the while discovering the vast richness of his repertoire. I was definitely in!”
Emery spent months listening to all of Cohen’s music. He set out to capture the instrumentation and arrangements of the music and band on that tour, specifically Cohen’s use of a variety of singers to carry the vocals. Emery reached out to the many local musicians he had worked with over the last 40 years on various productions to see if they were game. Bassist Pat Jacobsen became the show’s music director and took leadership of charting all of the arrangements and leading the band in rehearsals and on stage through over 17 of Cohen’s songs, including “Suzanne,” “I’m Your Man” and “Hallelujah”, among others.