Elise Arsenault is a writer and musician based in Hamilton, Ontario. She released an EP called “This is a Reunion” in the Summer of 2019 and is currently pursuing her Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction at the University of King’s College in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Christian Courier talked with Elise about her music and…
Easter without music is unimaginable.
It took Cohen’s long-time backup singer, Jennifer Warnes’ often eerie, haunting, sometimes reverential 1986 tribute album, Famous Blue Raincoat to draw me into Cohen’s fold. Even then, though, I remained comfortably on its margins. Then came Ten New Songs in 2001, co-written and produced by Sharon Robinson. That was the first pure Cohen CD I bought – but not till 2004. I was hooked, gaffed, pulled up on deck and captured alive for the next 13 years.
By the early 80s, Cohen was exploring more spiritual themes – both in his life and in his writing. It’s here where Cohen starts to get really interesting – his observations about life are no longer from the perspective of the young man on the prowl, but an older and wiser man who is starting to lift his eyes upward.
One is Canada’s Springsteen. The other is Canada’s Dylan.
And both will soon be gone.
There’ve been a good number of think pieces about The Hip over the past few months; pieces that have attempted to capture what this band means to Canadians, why this band never caught on below the 49th, how the band does or doesn’t challenge the thornier issues of Canadian identity.
“Can young children be reverent? Can older people be silly?”
“Did you know God’s voice can sound like Bob Dylan?”
Whether you sing “praise and worship” songs, traditional hymns or both at your church, I encourage you to reconsider the hymn texts of a dead white guy, born 340 years ago, whom you may have overlooked. We learn more theology from what we sing in church than we do from the sermons we hear.