The best new music of the week: Leonard Cohen, David Duchovny and more

By Nicholas Jennings

As music columnist for hellomagazine.ca, each week I’ll bring you my selections for the best and most notable new music, albums you’re going to want to add to your collection plus a five-song playlist to try out. Happy listening!

BEST NEW ALBUMS:

Leonard Cohen - Can’t Forget: A Souvenir of the Grand Tour
The Canadian legend is, at 80, still on a roll. This collection of rarities, recorded on his recent Old Ideas World Tour, includes both new songs like the bluesy “Got a Little Secret” and new versions of classics like “Joan of Arc” and “Field Commander Cohen.” Playing to his strengths, including dazzling poetics, deep drawl and deadpan humour, Leonard uses his crack band and his “angels” — the Webb Sisters — on backup vocals to his full advantage. Cohen usually favors waltzes but, as a lifelong fan of country music, he also delivers a sweet, fiddle-flecked cover of George Jones’ “Choices,” sounding every bit like a veteran of the Grand Ol’ Opry.


David Duchovny- Hell or Highwater
It’s proving to be a big year for David. The Golden Globe-winning actor has just seen his first novel top the bestseller lists and is set to return as Agent Fox Mulder in a new season of The X-Files. Now Duchovny has released his debut album, a collection of original folk-rock songs that show his fondness for existential poetry. Like Hank Moody, the character he plays in Californication, David also clearly has an affinity for Warren Zevon, especially on the title track in which he sings “Done some good, done some bad, like any man I bet.” On “Lately It’s Always December,” he describes a woman with “a cowgirl gaze and a sailor’s mouth, legs for days and a home down South.” Who knew the TV star had such literary ambitions?

OTHER NOTABLE RELEASES:

Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell - The Traveling Kind
The follow-up to their Grammy-winning Old Yellow Moon finds the musical friends in sublime harmony again on a mix of rootsy country originals and covers including Lucinda Williams’ rocking “I Just Wanted to See You So Bad.”

David Clayton-Thomas - Combo
Catering to his fondness for jazz, the former Blood, Sweat & Tears frontman proves that his unmistakable voice still shines as he tackles standards like “Summertime,” “Stormy Monday” and “Freedom for the Stallion,” a gorgeous duet with Jackie Richardson.

Snoop Dogg - Bush
Returning to his old name after the Rastafarian-inspired Snoop Lion moniker, the weed-obsessed rapper goes old-school, teaming up with Stevie Wonder on “California Roll” and Gwen Stefani on “Run Away” for some decent throwback r&b-style tracks.

Buffy Sainte-Marie - Power in the Blood
A true original, the Canadian-born First Nations legend reworks some of her classic songs and puts a fresh spin on the Alabama 3 title track and UB40’s “Sing Our Own Song,” throwing in a reference to the aboriginal rights movement Idle No More.

PLAYLIST OF THE WEEK:

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