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Bird on a Wire (Leonard Cohen) - Allison Crowe

Allison Crowe sings to be free. Herewith, Leonard Cohen's "Bird on the Wire".

The bi-coastal Canadian musician's lyrical interpretation is, characteristically, both, powerful and intimate. Crowe's singular way of communicating emotion, not sentimentality, once more takes wing with Cohen's weighty words and waltzing melody.

This Leonard Cohen classic has been covered by Jennifer Warnes (on 1987's "Famous Blue Raincoat" collection AKA "Jenny Sings Lenny"), as well as by Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker, Bob Benvenuti, Katey Sagal (for the US tv program "Sons of Anarchy"), Tim Hardin, The Neville Brothers... in total, more than 140 recording artists since its release on Cohen's 1969 album "Songs from a Room". Judy Collins, who introduced the songs of Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, and other great songwriters to wide audiences "early on", came out with her cover of the song months earlier - in November 1968 (on her album "Who Knows Where the Time Goes").

During a recent engagement with Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Allison Crowe performed Cohen's "Hallelujah". ("Crowe's version is a living thing, a meditation and a celebration and a benediction" notes one blogger.) Nightly, on the same stage, Crowe and the ballet audience was treated to a rootsy rendition of "Bird on the Wire" by the combo of Renée Lamoureux, Keith Macpherson, (the Winnipeg vocal/guitar duo "Keith and Renée"), Kevin Torgalson, bass, and Scott Senior, percussion.

Now, Allison Crowe delivers her own take. (btw, this version is not part of the dance program) With a tip of the hat to Karen Sparkes and Gerri Lynn Mackey of Radio CFCB 570 AM, home to Classic Country Café, and Steve Pollett of K-Rock 103.9 FM, sister stations debuting this recording.

Bird on a Wire

Words & Music by Leonard Cohen
As Performed by Allison Crowe

Like a bird on a wire
Like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free

Like a fish on a hook
Like a knight from some old-fashioned book
I have saved all my ribbons for thee

And if I have been unkind
I hope that you can just let it go by
And if I have been untrue
Well, I hope you know, I hope you know it was never t'you

Like a baby stillborn
Like a beast with his horn
I have torn everyone who reached out for me

But I swear by this song
And by all that I have done wrong
I will make it all up to thee

I saw a young man leaning on his wooden crutch
Well, he said to me, he said "You must not ask for so much"
And a young woman leaning in her darkened door
Well, she cried to me, she cried "Hey, why not ask for more"

Like a bird on a wire
Like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free
To be free