Music, museums and books

Thursday, April 25th, 2019


Hi, Sylvie here. I’ve fallen behind on updating the news page, so there’s a lot to report.

I’m going to be playing my first shows since my hand surgery at the end of last year –  starting with a free solo show in celebration of Independent Bookstore Day, April 27th at Green Apple Books in San Francisco – which is the bookstore that came up with the idea of an Independent Bookstore Day in the first place.

After that, I’m going to do my first show backed by the brilliant Berkeley jazz band John Brothers Piano Co: keyboards, clarinet, bass, trumpet and guitar. That’s on May 6th at the Candlelight Club in Berkeley. Details of both shows are on my Tour page.

As to I’m Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen, there are even more new translations underway: Serbian, Russian, Hungarian and Czech, as well as a new updated Spanish edition, a new updated Chinese edition, an updated Portugal-Portuguese and a French-language audio book.

If you’re planning to go to the excellent Leonard Cohen exhibition “A Crack in Everything” at the Jewish Museum in New York, I will be making an appearance on a panel talking about Leonard on June 13th. ( The exhibition runs from April 12 to September 8 2019)

The exhibition will move to Copenhagen from October 23rd 2019 to March 8 2020, at the Kunstforeningen GL STRAND and Nikolaj Kunsthal. I will be appearing in Copenhagen too, giving a keynote speech at the Royal Danish Library on December 11 2019.

Hope to see you soon.


French Connection!

Wednesday, April 25th, 2018

Simmons - French cover art #2

Great news! I’ve been waiting so long for I’m Your Man: The Life of  Leonard Cohen to come out in France, and “le jour de gloire est arrive!”  This  beautiful updated edition is published by L’Echappee.!1&Search=la%20vie%20de%20leonard%20cohen&sft=1&sa=0


I’m Your Man: Updated

Monday, December 11th, 2017

LC new UK ed

UK publisher Vintage/Penguin has released a new edition of I’m Your Man: the Life of Leonard Cohen – the first English-language edition of the book that includes a final chapter. Picking up from where the first edition of  Sylvie’s book ended in 2012, when it was first published, it covers Leonard’s life and work until his death in November 2016.

No 1!

Tuesday, October 18th, 2016


“I’m Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen” is back at the top of the Canadian charts. Sylvie’s book first hit the number one slot shortly after it was first published at the end of 2012.  The book is also back in the top ten  in the US at #8. Leonard Cohen has been getting all sorts of attention since his 82nd birthday on September 21st and his announcement that he would be releasing a new album, You Want It Darker, in late October.  The editor of the prestigious US magazine  New Yorker, David Remnick wrote a long article on Cohen that cited a number of times what he called “Sylvie’s excellent biography.”

Sylvie’s five-star review of Cohen’s You Want It Darker album is in the new issue of MOJO magazine, dated November 2016.


Brazilian press loves I’m Your Man: A Vida De Leonard Cohen

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

SS & LC, pic by LC on imac

The Brazilan press has hailed the new Portuguese edition of I’m Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen with rave reviews.

Estado newspaper wrote that it “offers the deepest picture ever seen of one of the most complicated artists [in] the pop universe – Cohen was not just a writer and never just a musician. What Sylvie was able to do in I’, Your Man is throw Cohen open, taking you through so many strands of the lives he lived… the mechanics of feeling… what is love.”,leonard-cohen–icone-na-literatura-e-na-musica–ganha-biografia-capaz-de-decifrar-sua-complexidade,10000027814

UCSFM wrote, “By exposing the fascinating intimacy of the Canadian artist, Simmonsnot only quenches the curiosity of fans but reveals the uniqueness of one of the most brilliant minds of our time. In I’m Your Man the reader will be able to contemplate a privileged perspective, the unique spirituality of a man who questioned and felt all the mysteries of human existence with delivery and passion.”

O Globo newspaper featured an interview with Sylvie and a link to one of her songs:

The Brazilian edition is published by Editora BestSeller in Brazil and contains a 16 page glossy insert of photographs, many in color.

Sylvie, meanwhile, has been in Los Angeles performing with the celebrated, all-male, a capella Leonard Cohen tribute Conspiracy of Beards, opening their shows with a full set of her own and Cohen’s songs, and joining the 24-piece choir as their guest singer on Leonard Cohen’s song ‘The Window’. Her last show with the group will be on Sunday May 8th at the beautiful Throckmorton Theatre in Mill Valley, California. See ‘Tour’ for more details.


Mad (Men) for it!

Friday, April 18th, 2014

Yes, that’s a copy of the US edition of ‘I’m Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen’ behind the left ear of Pete Campbell (actor Vincent Kartheiser) of fabulous TV series Mad Men. When trade magazine Ad Week asked him what’s on his reading list he answered, “a biography of Leonard Cohen called I’m Your Man. Pretty cool!”

In more book news, the Chinese edition is due to be published at the end of May – more on that later.  And Sylvie will be performing several Leonard Cohen-related events in California in the next few weeks, beginning in Wine Country. More details on the ‘Tour’ page!

Leonard Cohen, a punk rocker, noodle soup…and bass players

Monday, October 15th, 2012

So here it is, or will be tonight, the TV show I blogged about last month, a film shot by one celebrated bass player friend – Joseph Pope, ex punk band Angst – in the studio of another celebrated bass player friend – Eric Drew Feldman (Captain Beefheart, PJ Harvey, Frank Black etc), who is in turn married to another bass player friend, Colleen Browne. Bass players, I don’t do this often enough, I know, but I salute you.
We sent the film to Thelma Blitz in New York – Thelma doesn’t play bass so far as I know, but she is a fine woman, a revolutionary soul and, judging by this, a very good film editor – and it’ll be on her Revolting News show on New York public access TV at 10pm EST. You can watch it online too. Here’re the details. Let me know what you think!

Time Warner Cable–ch.56
RCN Cable—Ch. 83
Verizon FiOS– ch. 34
Worldwide, it is live streamed on the net at: >watch now> ch. 2

I’ll close with a photo from last weekend in San Francisco at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass -a pic of me with another celebrated bass player, Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones [photo credit: aforementioned bass player Eric Drew Feldman]

John Paul Jones

New York Times bestseller!

Friday, September 28th, 2012

Right, here’s what to do. Clench your right fist into a ball. Stick your right arm straight up, by the side of your ear. Then, when the clock strikes ten  Pacific Time, channel your inner Rocky and punch the air with me. My book’s made the NY Times best seller list!

Yes, that was the sound of corks popping. It’s been that kind of day. Still feeling the afterglow a great evening at Gatsby’s bookshop in Long Beach last night (really nice place, really nice crowd). And tomorrow morning I’ll be driving over to Bob Johnston’s for a visit. Bob is a legend in rock music, d the producer of a large pile of the greatest albums of all time ( Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Simon & Garfunkel and Leonard Cohen). At age 80 he’s still making record s – and still hates the suits he reckons ruined the music business. The last time I saw him, around Spring of last year,  I read him some chapters from my book manuscript  – the ones starring him – and then we sat on the porch and sang ‘Avalanche’ together – from ‘Songs of Love and Hate’, one of the three Cohen albums Bob produced  – my uke drowned out by the sound of planes coming into land on the nearby LAX flight path. This time, he says, he wants to discuss a “scheme”. Uh-oh, this will be  interesting…..

Monday, September 24th, 2012

Yesterday I woke up in a child-sized bed in a tiny little room at the Big Sur Inn. If you want to feel like a character in a fairy tale, this is the place to go. Trees so tall they make you feel like Alice; a chilly fog wheeling and rolling up from the sea below. And this little wooden house – not much bigger than a garden shed but filled with books, a different kind of tool – with a big name: The Henry Miller Memorial Library.

The first time I went there was three years ago, almost exactly. Marianne Faithfull had asked me to come see her perform on the outdoor stage in the library’s grounds. The day before the concert, I’d sent off a proposal for a book I wanted to write on Leonard Cohen – a long proposal, 20 pages, around 15,000 words for the writers among you, a kind of textual GPS read-out on where I thought that the book might go, having no idea at that time of all the different side streets and tunnels and off-road adventures I would be led along in its creation. Driving back from Big Sur,  at that point when the roads stop winding quite so wildly and  phone reception returned, my mobile began beeping. The messages were offers from publishers for my book.

So it began. And I would have never believed that, three years later, I would be on the Miller library stage, reading my book, and singing Leonard Cohen songs. Big Sur’s not exactly a short drive from San Francisco, but Annie Girl (gtr) and Charith Premawardhana (viola) – she of Annie Girl and the Flight, he of the acclaimed Classical Revolution – drove down, played with me, then drove straight back for a late-night gig in Berkeley. And, as the night grew cold and the moon shone through the fog, Greg Ashley and his band played the ‘Death of a Ladies Man’ album from start to end, to the backdrop of rare film footage of Cohen.

This morning I woke up in L.A. Solid blue sky, blazing sun. Looking out the window I can see a pool with air-mattresses floating about, looking very seductive. So I’m going to sign off and hopefully see some of you at Book Soup tonight, one of my favourite L.A bookstores (my old friend Tosh Berman used to be manager until he left to concentrate on publishing books himself). Hoping tonight to play a couple of songs backed by Rob Laufer – check him out, an amazing singer-songwriter… not to mention ‘George Harrison’ in Cheap Trick’s ‘Sgt Pepper’ shows and at Sir George Martin’s Hollywood Bowl Beatles show.