Leonard Cohen: Suzanne

Written by Michael Barrett

Associate Artistic Director, NYFOS

In category: Song of the Day

Published July 30, 2019

I started talking yesterday about Country Music. As I said, I’m really not down with classifications. A good song is a good song. It tells you something about yourself, or at a minimum shows you another epoch or slice of humanity in a way you can understand. Ideally one that touches your heart. Here is something I found by the young Leonard Cohen, with the young Judy Collins (happy 80th birthday!). Is this a Country song? I doubt the Country fans would adopt it. Let’s move past commercial categories and just take it for what it is. It isn’t much of a tune. Just a few meandering notes, repeated, but I am haunted by Suzanne, and who she is and what she represents. You are lucky if you have a Suzanne in your life. Trust me. 

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Michael Barrett is the co-founder and associate artistic director of New York Festival of Song, as well as the co-founder and music director of the Moab Music Festival in Utah. A conductor and a pianist, Michael was a protégé of Leonard Bernstein and serves as music advisor to the Leonard Bernstein Estate.


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