Paul Emery presents A Thousand Kisses Deep – The Songs of Leonard Cohen, a tribute to one popular music’s most enduring singer/songwriters at the historic Nevada Theatre at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, February 8 and 9.
A Thousand Kisses Deep: The Songs of Leonard Cohen is the creative production of foothills promoter/musician Paul Emery. The lineup includes thirteen northern California musicians: Anni McCann, Kimberly Bass, Eleanore MacDonald, Paul Emery, Pat Jacobsen, Shay Dillon, Peter Wilson, Stephen Holland, Perry Mills, Mark McCartney, Brady Mills and Arthur Gould.
Joining the band for this special weekend will be renowned fiddler, composer, producer Darol Anger. Anger has helped drive the evolution of the contemporary string band through his involvement with the Turtle Island String Quartet, the David Grisman Quintet, Montreux and others.
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, 24th Street Theatre and Crest Theatre in Sacramento. The eight-piece band and five singers bring the instrumentation of Cohen’s most recent touring band with strings, guitars and keyboards and back-up singers.
These shows will feature big-screen projections and visuals by George Holden. Holden is a San Francisco light show pioneer and worked with the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Carlos Santana and many more.
Four decades after he emerged as a public literary figure and then a performer, Leonard Cohen remains one of the most compelling and fascinating musical figures, and one of the very few from that time who commanded as much respect and attention, and as large an audience, in the 21st century as he did in the 1960s.
“For some 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. The lyrical depth and beauty of Leonard Cohen’s music is an endless well of inspiration to those who love his music. The songs never grow old and each performance reveals a new layer of inspiration to the audience and players alike.”
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.
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.
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Content and photos submitted by Peter Wilson