Personnel: Red (vocals, guitar, electronics).
This is one of those tribute albums in which an artist even appropriates an original album title and expertly re-creates the cover art of the artist and album being so honored. In this case we have a tribute to Leonard Cohen and his album Songs From a Room performed by the Parisian musician known simply as Red, and released through his collaboration with the artistically interesting Rectangle label, also based out of Paris. Do the French take Leonard Cohen more seriously than he is taken in his homeland? Perhaps this collection is an indication that he is taken less seriously. But, in reality, many listeners might prefer the versions of Cohen songs by Red to the originals. In the case of a listener who had so little knowledge of Cohen that the cover art duplication went totally unnoticed, the effect of Red's range of vocal delivery and low-key backup was definitely positive. Fans of the music of artists such as Jandek will also enjoy this recording, as some of the tracks have the same kind of strange ambience. When the backup players get into kind of a mellow jazz groove, the sound is reminiscent of Tim Hardin, a comparison that the singer is capable of either settling into by concentrating on the handsome sound of his voice or smash to bits by growling like someone trying to scare off an exorcist. Most impressive is the fact that most of the backing is created by Red all on his own, utilizing just guitar and electronics. Let's see smarty-pants Cohen try that. ~ Eugene Chadbourne