Monday, May 10, 2010

Leonard Cohen’s “Chelsea Hotel #2” gets reinvented as “Balmville Motel” by Richard McGraw.

“…he has written a small & perfect chorus” – Said The Gramophone on McGraw’s “Hurting Heart.”


Richard McGraw by Kevin Sprouls, creator of the Wall Street Journal-style portrait.


Hear “Balmville Motel,” Richard McGraws take on Leonard Cohens classic “Chelsea Hotel #2.”




Richard McGraw discusses the creation of “Balmville Motel”:

“It started as a joke when I replaced the words Chelsea Hotel with ‘Balmville Motel’, a crumby run down place in my hometown of Newburgh, NY. I took it seriously when I felt there was a story that needed to be told of my teenage lust and rejection. I would describe the details of the heart ache, but from an older, more stoic, perhaps wiser perspective. It’s a similar perspective Cohen takes when recalling his incident with Janis Joplin at the Chelsea Hotel.

I started writing it in 2002. It would take me five years to complete. I gave up on it for a year or two because it was such a daunting task. ‘Chelsea Hotel #2’ is a concise masterpiece. I wasn’t trying to re-write the perfect song, nor was I trying to fill his shoes, but I had to at least be driving towards his ball park, or be somewhere near his neighborhood, and that was no easy task. My re-write turned out more long winded, and I used the chorus ideas from his original version of ‘Chelsea Hotel’ (

With Jay Foote’s (of Sufjan Steven’s Welcome Wagon and Diane Birch) arrangements and Fulton Lights production, ‘Balmville Motel’ turned out to be more of an epic rock ballad. I am inexplicably grateful for the life and work of Leonard Cohen.” – Richard McGraw, 2010


Richard McGraw
Burying The Dead

(Non-Utopian Records)

MP3:Balmville Motel
Hurting Heart


Richard McGraw Links



Contact Josh Bloom at Fanatic Promotion, Inc.



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