Mallory Chipman’s latest album pays homage to Leonard Cohen’s legacy
It’s unanimously understood that Leonard Cohen has inspired a great number of people through his poetic lyricism. Upon his passing last year, many have taken it upon themselves to reignite their love for the late Canadian minstrel.
Edmonton’s own Mallory Chipman is among one of them, and her new album Rags and Feathers aims to pay homage to Cohen’s legacy while maintaining her unique style and radiant approach to contemporary jazz.
It’s been a busy time for Chipman as she released her first studio album Nocturnalize close to a year ago.
Apart from being a local favourite, Chipman has taken her talents across the Atlantic and has played shows in Ireland, the Netherlands and Hungary. This is where Chipman got to refine her unique sound and her approach to covering Cohen’s work.
“Over the years that I’ve spent cultivating my sound; I’ve adopted many styles,” she says. “The fact that I grew up listening to Cohen really made his approach to music a part of me and my overall sound.”
This has resulted in her style melding with Cohen’s work in Rags and Feathers. The album is a thorough and refined timeline of Cohen’s songs throughout his decades of activity. Chipman attribute’s Cohen’s lyrical approach as a main factor in giving her the space she needed to meld her harmonic technique around his lyrics.
“Cohen thought of himself often as more of a poet rather than strictly a singer. Lyrically, his writing makes the structure of his songs very approachable, letting me adapt to it in a more contemporary way,” Chipman says.
The album covers an array of songs that are found in Cohen’s discography; classics like “Suzanne” and “Hallelujah” are featured but also some of his later work as well. Chipman found this to be a necessary implementation, as she wanted to give a real sense of scope to Cohen’s work.
“I’m aware that musicians change over time, so with that in mind I went through his work with that same kind of awareness,” Chipman says.
Where the album triumphs is in how Chipman’s lively tone can match Cohen’s original sombre delivery.
It allows for a new take on his music while still maintaining the integrity and poeticism of the source material. Backed by a full-piece band, the songs are a tad weightier than some of Cohen’s original compositions, but this works immensely in the album’s favour and gives Chipman all the room that she needs to flex her musical prowess.
“I didn’t want to just sing the songs the way Leonard had originally conveyed. His style brings so much versatility. There is nothing quite like his style I admit, but I was very exited to reframe his voice,” Chipman says.
With the praise she has been receiving over the last year Chipman aims to spreads her unique style and inspirations as she tours across western Canada.
“I feel so lucky, I look at my life objectively and I see someone doing what they love and receiving praise for it,” she says. “I really can’t believe it’s happening.”
Fri., Nov. 9 and 10 (8 pm)
Mallory Chipman Rags and Feathers album release
Blue Chair Café, $15