Leonard Cohen Songs from the Road

Leonard Cohen Songs from the Road
The events that led Leonard Cohen to hit the road after a 15-year break are inauspicious at best. But what has seemed like a never-ending tour for the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer has turned out to be a blessing for fans and Mr. Cohen alike. Picking through the best of the best, Songs from the Road (his sixth live album) features a dozen stoically fervent, well-conceived performances from London, England's Royal Albert Hall, London, ON's John Labbatt Centre, Tel Aviv, Helsinki and Coachella. As expected, the dusty-voiced, loner poet of old is long gone. Instead, audiences are met with a live show that features background singers, trained musicians and smaltz galore. Of course, songs like "Suzanne," "Hallelujah" and "Bird on a Wire" are as stirring as ever, but it's rarely performed tracks like "Lover, Lover, Lover," "Avalanche" and "Heart With No Compassion" that make Songs from the Road a keeper, smaltz and all. (Columbia)