Jasper and Leonard

Well…

I am on the final run of my tour, which started in Winnipeg and strung itself all the way to Vancouver, tonight I finish up in Jasper, AB.

I am playing at the Sawridge Hotel, and am living in luxury, just hopped out of the shower, Ive got a robe on, laying in bed, the oilers game is about to start on TV, and Im thinking i will order some Nachos up to the room, what the hell I never do this, I dont perform until 9ish tonight..

Im not going to on and on about Leonard Cohen’s passing, but when I heard the news I was driving through the mountains at 1am, through the pitch black, somewhere between Radium and Jasper. My sister texted me the news, and right as I got the text I lost service on my phone, I couldnt respond, I coulndt pull over and see what was happening in the world at that moment.

For two hours, I drove, in silence before getting service back, for two hours I had the most peaceful drive I may have ever had, I will never forget that drive, full of gratitude and overwhelming joy for somebody that touched me so heavily.

I remember the first time I heard Leonard, it was on one of my moms oldies but goodies cassette tape, it was the song Suzanne, I remember my mom telling me how much she loved him, his voice and music. Id never heard anything like him, I immediately had to get my friend to burn me a disc of all of his early work. It gave me hope and a sense of the human condition I had yet to feel, all of this in my early stages of writing songs, I had maybe penned 4 or 5 originals of my own at that time.

I remember being in Nashville, and having lunch with Mary Martin at her local neighbourhood pub on the east side. I remember telling me how she had been the one to tape Leonards very first recordings, she was there, when he sung Suzanne in a bathtub because there was a nice natural reverb in the bathroom, Mary was there. I remember her telling this story as the words fell off her tongue, Im sure my jaw was on the floor as she shared her intimate moment with Cohen in the sixties.

I think of him often, and am brought to his music for many reasons on a regular basis. One of my all time favorite writers that I admire deeply and look up to with utmost respect. As I thought about all of this on my long and dark drive, I was not alone, I felt there was company with me. My heart is not broken, it is breaking open more than ever, and I am forever grateful for the man who wrote Suzanne. The man who spoke of universal truths, pain, love and death. If you have some time and get a chance to listen to “Tower Of Song”, I now understand what Leonard was talking about. And he has found his room in the tower of song.

I love you Leonard, thank you.

Tomorrow I head home, and have a wedding to play with a friend, and then a couple days off. I am road warn, its been a hefty amount of energy and miles, but I am smiling tonight.

Hope the oilers win!

Thank you for reading,

Joe


Tornado
( February 2014, Six Shooter Records )