Premiere: L.A.-based songwriter Thayer Sarrano gives Leonard Cohen’s “If It Be Your Will” the haunting-choir treatment

A new transplant to the Los Angeles music scene, Thayer Sarrano embodies an authenticity and knack for raw portrayals of emotion that have undoubtedley made her an early favorite of ours. Having been raised in a monastic seminary and the picturesque swamplands of South Georgia where she was classically trained in writing instrumental music and poetry, she also might just be one of the best fits for covering the late Leonard Cohen. Which of course, she did. Offering-up a hauntingly delicate cover of the singer’s “If It Be Your Will” to be featured as a b-side on an upcoming 7-inch release, as well as on a live string EP she will also be unveiling, the song represents everything that Sarrano was born to share with the world.

Whatever hurdles, technical or personal, one must overcome as a singer/songwriter taking on the words of someone like Cohen, Sarrano carries the weight with an exceptional grace. Like an echo in a dark cathedral, Sarrano’s breathy murmurs are as gutting as they are isolated and exposed, explicating from the pained prayer she sings something voraciously intimate and personal. There’s a little bit of Sarrano in her reworking of Cohen; from the haunting southern-gothic feel she’s textured it with to the way her voice seems to quiver and hum against the mournful reverberation of strings that gravitate around her. It’s clear that in singing Cohen that Sarrano has no intention of just miming him. Mingling the underlying, desperate pleas for salvation with that of a steadfast faith, Sarrano adopts the near rapturous conflict of the soul as her own with every aching cry. Backed by the ethereal choir that surges around her and propelling her euphonious praises higher and higher, there’s an ecstasy Sarrano embellishes her finale with; one that doesn’t exist despite the existence of things like doubt, fear, and hopelessness, but rather because of her overcoming of them. And it’s in that personal transcendence that Sarrano has nailed a Cohen cover.

“Leonard Cohen is one of my favorite songwriters because everything he says is perfect. I could never compare my songwriting to his, but it’s inspiring how he can write prayers, like this one,  and resonate in a wide audience beyond any religion,” Sarrano explained. “Not too long ago, I was incredibly lucky to get to play a live show with a string ensemble in my hometown of Athens, GA. I picked this song for us to cover because of it’s beautiful string melody, plus I thought, when would be the next time I could play with a small orchestra and male backup singers?”

Listen to Thayer Sarrano’s cover of “If It Be Your Will” below!


You can preorder Sarrano’s upcoming 7-inch release I Will Never Be Used To Your Beauty out October 5, which will feature the Cohen cover as a b-side, here. Her forthcoming LP In Light of the Spheres is also slated for a yet undated 2019 release, while a live string ensemble EP is scheduled for a release sometime this fall. Visit her website and Facebook to stay updated on these future releases and tour announcements.

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