10 Months Gone, Leon Russell Is Still 'Easy To Love'
When Leon Russell died last November, the 74-year-old star was recuperating from heart surgery and itching to get back out on the road. So it's no surprise that Russell — whose music fused soul, rock, gospel and country — left behind an impressive batch of songs that hadn't yet seen release. On Friday, 10 months after his death, On a Distant Shore continues a recorded legacy that hasn't dimmed.
Naturally, while On a Distant Shore often lets loose in rollicking celebration, its plaintive moments carry extra resonance in light of Russell's passing. A horn- and string-streaked song of love lost, "Easy to Love" doubles as a poignant remembrance of the singer himself: "You flew out of my life / Just like a mourning dove / And you were so easy to love."
In his lifetime, Russell wrote more than his share of what would become standards: "A Song for You," "Superstar" and others. "Easy to Love" itself seems to echo from another era — a lost standard from decades past — and yet its words were hours old when Russell recorded it just last year. His songs were timeless and indelible to the very end.
Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.