Review: Leon Russell, 'On a Distant Shore' Is a Powerful Posthumous Goodbye

Our take on the final album from the soul-rock singer

Leon Russell's final album is 'On a Distant Shore.' Credit: Joseph Guay

On the growing list of farewell albums by dying rockers, Leon Russell's contribution – recorded months before his November 2016 passing – may be the most unflinching yet. "Sounds like a funeral for some person here/And I might be the one," he bemoans; elsewhere he dwells on loneliness and lost lovers. Paradoxically, though, the soul-rock icon hasn't sounded so alive in years. From the swampy choogle of "Love This Way" to the supper-club orchestration of "On the Waterfront" to the Cotton Club jazz of "Easy to Love," he poignantly circles his musical bases one last time.