“A Thousand Kisses Deep: The Songs of Leonard Cohen,” a reprise of Paul Emery’s triumphant tribute to one of the most fascinating and enigmatic singer/songwriters of all time, will be held Saturday, March 17, at The Crest Theatre in Sacramento.
Northern California musicians Anni McCann, Kimberly Bass, Eleanore MacDonald, Pat Jacobsen, Shay Dillon, Peter Wilson, Stephen Holland, Perry Mills, Beau Askew, Tom Schmidt, Brady Mills, Arthur Gould and Emery will be performing. Vintage images and footage of Cohen, who died in 2016 at the age of 82, will be part of the mix.
New to the production will be San Francisco light show pioneer George Holden who created light shows at the Fillmore and Maritime Hall behind the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Santana and others. More recently, he was a featured artist in May 2017 at the Pacific Film Archives “Headlights” concert as part of the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love.
“A Thousand Kisses Deep: The Songs of Leonard Cohen” is the creative production of Emery, KVMR’s news director and a promoter and musician who lives in Nevada City.
In 2011, the musicians performed for three sold-out shows at the Center for the Arts in Grass Valley and later took to the stage at the Nevada Theatre in Nevada City and the 24th Street Theatre in Sacramento. They have since done 14 shows, selling out 11 times.
The eight-piece band and six singers bring the instrumentation of Cohen’s last touring band with woodwinds, strings, guitars and keyboards and back-up singers.
“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.”
The idea to organize the tribute show came to Emery after traveling with 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 “Dance Me to the End of Love” and “Joan of Arc” with Emery.
Emery would spend months listening to Cohen’s music. He set out to capture the instrumentation and arrangements of the music and band, specifically Cohen’s use of a variety of singers. Bassist Pat Jacobsen became the show’s music director and took leadership of charting the arrangements and leading the band in rehearsals and on stage through more than 17 of Cohen’s songs, including “Suzanne,” “I’m Your Man” and “Hallelujah.”
“His music has a richness that stirs the soul,” said Bass, who sings in the show. “For me, it’s the way he looks at the world and our humanness, our nakedness in this harsh yet beautiful world.”
Tickets for the Paul Emery and Swell Productions show are $35 for premium reserved seating and $25 for general admission. They can be purchased by calling 877-987-6487 or visiting crestsacramento.com. The doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show begins at 7:30 p.m. The Crest Theatre is located at 1013 K Street in Sacramento.
About the Photo:
Paul Emery plays the guitar while Anni McCann sings at a previous showing of “A Thousand Kisses Deep: The Songs of Leonard Cohen.”
Photo by Marion Charlotte Photograpy