|Christine Tobin and Phil Robson
Photo Credit: Bob Barkany
Ever since Christine Tobin included You Know Who I Am by Leonard Cohen on her 1996 release Yell Of The Gazelle, people have been asking when she is going to release an album of Cohen songs.
That time has arrived, and today (13th March 2013) saw one of the first live outings of Christine’s 1000 Kisses Deep Project (named after the Leonard Cohen song from the album Ten new Songs, 1000 Kisses… also features in the film The Good Thief which is where Tobin first heard it) at St Anne and St Agnes Church, and it charts the music of Cohen right through the singer’s catalogue from the 60’s until now.
Today, as well as Cohen songs, Christine also sang Joni Mitchell’s The Priest and future performances will include music by Rufus Wainwright (the connection there being that Mitchell sang with Cohen and Wainwright has fathered Cohen’s grandchild).
There was only one set on this afternoon and it featured Phil Robson on guitar and Dave Whitford on bass but in future performances there will be two.
What was striking from the onset was how faithful a lot of the songs were to the original Cohen versions; Tobin et al. kept the folksy and bitter-sweet elements of Cohen’s sound-world intact whilst adding some jazzy elements of their own. The songs forms were also pretty much left as they are on the Cohen versions but with space for some, occasionally fiery, soloing from Robson and some intricate licks from Whitford.
Take This Waltz was a highlight, with the lyrics from Spanish poet García Lorca sung confidently by Tobin with Whitford and Robson underpinning with a heavily-swung, quick waltz, and a re-imagined accompanying ostinato.
The project will be recorded in the next few months. Release date still TBC but should be either the end of this year or the beginning of next.