GRMLN, “Hallelujah” (Leonard Cohen cover)

Sjimon Gompers

Pensive near the palm branches with GRMLN's Yoodoo Park. (courteys of GRMLN/Carpark Records)

With GRMLN's album Empire showcasing Yoodoo Park's prowess with a full on band, his acoustic recordings continue to resonate with the intimacy of a bedroom-home studio luster. From taking his acoustic songs into the woods and clearings of Santa Cruz, to subterranean drain pipes; the exclusive listen to his cover of Leonard Cohen's “Hallelujah” provides his own footprint of care on one of the most beloved of modern pop standards.

Like any great acoustic number from Park, the opening begins with the peripheral gathering audio of sound assemblage of finding chords, and picking up a rhythm. Traversing those lyrical constructs of ancient old testament mythologies meeting the former memories of pain traversed prior by the great Jeff Buckley; pay attention to the emphasis placed on the last syllable beat of “hallelujah” that ascends upward in a motion like “yeeeaaah.”

Accompanied by only an overdub of his own voice for backup and a friend providing some light chorus “oohs,” Leonard Cohen's masterpiece becomes transformed into something that sounds like it could have been from Yoodoo's own intimate repertoire all along. The personal touch of GRMLN acoustic reinforces and reminds us of how the power of unplugged performance can carry a wattage of revival to rival even the most amplified of instruments and Marshall stacks. And once again Cohen classic presents the ongoing gift of potent songwriting that speaks to not only those private places and natural sanctuaries of the soul, but continues the evolution and tradition of handing down a generational torch displaying how some of the world's greatest songs shift ahead in new adaptations.

Yoodoo Park expressed to us what “Hallelujah" means to him, as well as his own process of adapting Leonard Cohen's ubiquitous work himself.

“For this song there were a few verses that I took out because I purposely chose to sing only the lyrics that I related to [and] felt relevant to myself personally. By doing that, I felt like I was actually playing the song with meaning rather than just covering it, which I felt more fulfilling to do rather than to just play another person's song just for the hell of it. “

Empire is available now from Carpark Records.

Catch GRMLN on the following dates:

October
10 Los Angeles, CA – Filter Magazine's Culture Collide Festival at The Echo
20 Los Angeles, CA – Bootleg Theatre
26 Pomona, CA – Glasshouse wwith Hunx and his Punx and the Garden
November
04 Los Angeles, CA – The Well

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