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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Richad McGraw puts his own words in Leonard Cohen's mouth

surprise, it's an evening news update -

That's Richard McGraw doing "Balmville Hotel," his take on Leonard Cohen's "Chelsea Hotel."

in his own words - “It started as a joke when I replaced the words Chelsea Hotel with ‘Balmville Motel’, a crumby run down place in my hometown of Newburgh, NY. I took it seriously when I felt there was a story that needed to be told of my teenage lust and rejection. I would describe the details of the heart ache, but from an older, more stoic, perhaps wiser perspective. It’s a similar perspective Cohen takes when recalling his incident with Janis Joplin at the Chelsea Hotel.

I started writing it in 2002. It would take me five years to complete. I gave up on it for a year or two because it was such a daunting task. ‘Chelsea Hotel #2’ is a concise masterpiece. I wasn’t trying to re-write the perfect song, nor was I trying to fill his shoes, but I had to at least be driving towards his ball park, or be somewhere near his neighborhood, and that was no easy task. My re-write turned out more long winded, and I used the chorus ideas from his original version of ‘Chelsea Hotel’ (

With Jay Foote’s (of Sufjan Steven’s Welcome Wagon and Diane Birch) arrangements and Fulton Lights production, ‘Balmville Motel’ turned out to be more of an epic rock ballad. I am inexplicably grateful for the life and work of Leonard Cohen.”

The song is from his album, Burying the Dead out on "Non-Utopian Records"

that's it, you're excused

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