Beyond the Fringe – The Edinburgh Festival and Leonard Cohen

Leonard himself

Very short post here to mention two performances of a special show written by Joe Blair, on the life, loves and music of Leonard Cohen at the Edinburgh Festival – Follow the link to Blue Raincoat.

The evening offered a selection of Leonard’s most special songs alongside a narrative that reviewed his life as a poet, lover and songwriter.

I met Joe a couple of years ago at a management seminar in Northern Ireland and he has been trying to infect me with his obsession with for Leonard Cohen ever since.  Speaking personally, I only travel as far as Morrissey and Lou Reed on the scale of moribund reflective music but it takes all sorts etc.  I agreed to provide much needed coaching on the musical performance aspects of the event and to provide some accompaniment using the haunting tones of the e-bow, an unusual guitar effect that makes guitars sound more like a violin, hence the name ‘energy-bow’.  I bought my e-bow around 1978 after seeing the music genius Bill Nelson play one.  Read more about Bill’s next show on October 1st at The Art School Ascended on Vapours of Roses.

Copies of our latest album “Music from the Basement of Cognition” will be available at the Leonard Cohen show.  For now here’s one track, aptly titled “I always knew you would come back to Earth” after a week of madness on the streets of England.  I did once record a Prince styled version of Cohen’s “The Butcher” and an electro-pop version of the same song in the style of Erasure, but I am not posting them here for fear of reprisals by ardent Cohen fans! 🙂

I’ll finish with my favourite interpretation of Leonard’s ‘Hallelujah’ by John Cale:

Postscript:  The highlight of the Festival was meeting up with the Jimi Hendrix styled blues guitarist Richard Blues – Check Richard’s work out by e-mailing him at and here’s a brief excerpt of his performance at the Fringe:

Also very much enjoyed meeting Will Gracie.  As one third of the outrageous group Hot Gusset, Will’s journey started at the age of 7 when he saw Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman.  We did some impromptu Queen and Prince songs on the street to the amazement of the festival goers.  Later that day I saw him appearing on BBC Newsnight.  It’s no wonder, for Will is a great talent. “Gimme fried chicken” in the words of Freddie Mercury !

Whist developing the show, I discovered to my surprise that even Leonard Cohen was sensitive to his musical environment and did change his musical style towards songs that people could almost dance to in the 1980’s when synthesisers became popular.   I guess that’s where Lady Gaga got it from ! 🙂