Concert Highlight

  • Jul 28

    Richland, WA. @ Emerald of Siam

  • Jul 29

    Baker City, OR @ Barley Brown's

  • Jul 31

    Livingston, MT @ the Murray Bar

  • Aug 1

    Bozeman, MT. @ Lockhorn Cider House

  • Aug 11

    Rifle CO. @ Evening Farmer's Market

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Quick Link For JIll's Music

Jill Cohn: Beautiful I Love You
Jill Cohn: Mexico City: Every Street Inside of You

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"This is soft but not too soft music that is gorgeously wrought. Cohn has a lovely voice and puts it to good use on this album. The sound is smooth and the songs strong enough to warrant interest. "West from Carolina" is a beautiful song, Cohn's voice at its finest and a strong tune to support it. "John Denver's Ghost" is a heartfelt tribute with a countrified sound that works well. "Story of love" closes the album on a good note, a hopeful song with a gorgeous vocal. It's a fine album." - Ectophiles Guide

"Jill celebrated the release of her latest EP with a party at Genghis Cohen this past year.  Her sweet voice permeates this disc of hopeful love songs.  Partake of this gem and you'll be counting the minutes until her next LA show."


 

 


 


 

 

One of the best things about hearing a musician play live only once a year or so is that it makes the artistic evolution so much clearer. One such evolving player is Seattle singer-songwriter Jill Cohn, who returns to Eske’s Brew Pub Friday with her guitar, keyboard, and a new batch of out­standing songs. Cohn is an audience favorite with her lilting voice and intimate performance style. She’s been steadily making music for more than a decade, and is about to release her eighth album, “Every Street Inside of You.” She wrote the songs in Mexico City, where she lived for the last two years. She escaped south after a year-long bout of writer’s block, and it’s clear the sabbatical did her good. Her musical evolution seems to be pushing her outside her comfort zone, and she has updated her sound from more standard folkie fare to something a bit more modern. Tracks like “Israel,” for example, are pleasingly melodic, with lush production and touches of electronica that should propel them to AAA radio play lists every­where. The new songs are, as always, polished and literate, touching on topics like relationships, both romantic and familial, the challenges and excitement of living in a different country, and Cohn’s love for animals. Like all of her releases, this is a very personal record. Cohn lived in the heart of Mexico City and arrived there with no knowledge of the language. Because of her inability to speak with the locals she was forced to reexamine how people communicate, which caused her to reconsider her lyrical approach. She has said her songs are now more universally relatable because of it. It was a profound experience for Cohn, and she misses Mexico City terribly. “It’s so amazing how a place can get under your skin and just stay there like a really good song, an amazing lover, or a true spiritual teacher ... just never leaves, is kind of with you always!” Cohn herself writes good songs that get under your skin and stay.The Taos News By Deonne Kahler


Singer-songwriter, pianist and guitarist Jill Cohn has traded rainy Seattle for sunny Mexico. She’s still touring the United States, however, and will be bringing her keyboard with her tonight to the Rockslide Brewery. Cohn is soon to release her eighth CD — “Mexico City” — of which she’ll have advance copies Friday at the Rockslide. The CD was produced in Los Angeles with Ethan Allen and Grammy-award winning engineer Jim Watts. Although Cohn’s been compared to Joni Mitchell and Sarah McLachlan, the band she’s listening to most these days is Coldplay. She also cited Julieta Vengas, who plays the guitar, accordion and — like Cohn — piano. “She’s probably my favorite up-and-coming female artist,” Cohn said. Cohn has lived in Mexico City off and on, while coming back to the United States to tour. “I’ve always had a curiosity about the city and wanted a change of pace, so I decided to go live abroad,” Cohn said. “I love it there. I feel really at home, really inspired. I found a place with a piano I can sublet. The neighbors don’t mind if I play piano morning, noon and night.” Not speaking the language has taught Cohn to slow down and concentrate more on what and how she says things. “It’s been a really awesome experience. I think its reflected in my new CD,” Cohn said. “I really consciously tried to convey my lyrics and ideas in a more simple kind of way.” “Mexico City” — the title cut — is “kind of a gratitude song,” Cohn said. She went to Mexico not knowing anyone, and found the Mexican people and culture, warm and welcoming. She’s performed a gig there and has a couple lined up for when she returns. “They seem to love all kinds of music. Its eclectic tastes is part of what makes that city great. It’s a culture of art and artists,” Cohn said. Cohn has opened for the Girls Room tour, was a top-five finalist in the Lilith Fair Talent Search, and has opened concerts for several national artists such as Jewel, Stacey Earle, Loudon Wainwright III and Dave Matthews.

---Grand Junction Free Press


 

window to the wise

" ... one of Seattle's best singer-songwriters" - Seattle Times

"Jill Cohn is the perfect act to book for a peace rally or large coffeehouse. Her thought-provoking material and highly emotional delivery are what make her a strong solo artist. She is personable both onstage and off, which creates the feeling of being right in her living room. With the way of the world today, her throw-back Sixties style might just make a comeback." - Music Connection 01/2003

"Her revelatory vocals and lyrics display a mature emotional expressiveness, and her beautiful piano playing contrast the trip-hop grooves on "Kerosene" and "Twenty More Days", creating a well-rounded album that won't leave your CD player soon." -Keyboard Magazine 12/2002

"Though it's unfair to spin every sensitive female singer-songwriter around the Sarah McLachlan/Tori Amos axis, this Seattle-based performer definitely evokes those influences without succumbing to them. Comforting music for discomforting times." -Jam Magazine 02/2002

"...Just released, her incredible Window to the Wise. All of the 10 melodic and memorable tracks capture her expressive and strong vocals and feature cool guitar strumming as well as some nice trumpet playing, pedal steel work and even a wicked banging on a beer bottle! Here's our word to the wise: Don't let this one pass you by." - Album Network 02/22/2002


 

the absence of Moving

"Extraordinary, pleasantly powerful voice" - New Times (Phoenix, AZ)



from: Performing Songwriter

January 2002

Jill Cohn
the absence of Moving
Produced by Jill Cohn

There’s a windblown spirituality as well as a full-bodied, lovely worldliness to Jill Cohn’s writing. The songs on The Absence of Moving pour out of the speakers like rainwater—clear, life-giving and cool. Cohn’s voice has the heart-stirring lilt of The Innocence Mission’s Karen Peris and the palpable melancholy of Sarah McLachlan, and her compositions share the calming sweetness of Holly Cole’s jazz ballads.

The throaty upright bass of Dennis Staskowski, Cohn’s piano and Greg Fulton’s guitars form the basic texture on the songs and work to create an intimate, almost secretive effect. The light touch of Eric Chappelle’s violin and Rob Witmer’s accordion accent songs like the simple, moving “Kayenta” with taste and grace.

Cohn’s voice, though, is the highlight of The Absence of Moving. It is expressive and strong and Cohn uses it well in her hovering, otherworldly melodies. This is her fourth self-released record, and her experience shows. Jill Cohn is an artist to keep your eye on as she’ll doubtlessly be around for a long time.

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from: GoGirlsMusic.com

"the absence of Moving"
reviewed by Megan McGehee

The first track of 'the absence of Moving' from Jill Cohn had me nearly pigeonholing her instead as a lovely, lilting Sarah McLaughlin-inspired vocalist. However, the second track confused this characterization as it departed greatly from the first track's mood, with Cohn singing lustily and almost darkly about a "Louisiana Lover." The third track, "happy," is vaguely reminiscent of Joni Mitchell in its unusual chord constructions and over-the-top treble vocal lines. By the fourth track, an acoustic-guitar backed vocal-dexterity showcase, I abandoned any attempt at labeling this multi-faceted artist and just sat back and enjoyed the album.

Far from being "limited" by a basis in the piano, this folk/pop singer-songwriter displays a determination to achieve the perfect instrumentation in her beautifully arranged and self-produced album. Each song perfectly incorporates some atypical and instantly memorable sounds of instruments like accordion and concertina with percussion, bass, and Cohn's piano or acoustic guitar. In fact, the piano shines through as the dominant instrument on only a trio of songs in this collection of well-written and emotionally performed explorations of human nature.

Jill Cohn writes of the search for love, the purpose of life, finding strength in oneself, the nature of evil, and the essence of success and happiness all in one beautifully mellow breath. She has a mature command of her art and a magical way of presenting it in performance. Luckily, this independent artist tours constantly around the southwest, promoting her music and sharing her magic with others. If you aren't lucky enough to live in that area, try to make the time to check out her CD and meet a truly thoughtful artist.

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from Weekly Alibi
Albuquerque, NM

Show Up
By Michael Henningsen
Jan 5, 2001

What strikes you first about Jill Cohn is her voice. It's rich, with a certain weightlessness that allows it to soar. The very next thing is her consummate songwriting skill. Cohn's lyrics are as strong as her alternately delicate and earthmoving melodies, and the wealth of subject matter she employs is from her own bastion of personal experience.

With four releases under her belt and countless live appearances, Cohn defines the singer-songwriter. Her most recent disc, The Absence of Moving (Box o' Beanies), is a self-produced affair that showcases Cohn fronting her Seattle-based band and offers something of a departure from her previous, largely solo work. She's thoroughly effective accompanying herself on piano--her chops in that regard are formidable--but the ensemble setting of the new album adds an magnified urgency to her music.

Cohn has been compared to nearly all of the women on the singer-songwriter circuit, but there isn't a single comparison that can be made to describe the overwhelming relevance of her work. Of course, if you happen to be a fan of Tori Amos, Paula Cole, et. al., then you're likely to find yourself swept away the moment Cohn lays her hands on the 88s. In fact, you're so likely to get caught up in the moment, you'll feel as though you're on the inside looking out.

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from Show Preview in The Stranger
Seattle, WA

By Genevieve Williams
Dec 12, 2000

Jill Cohn's nearly constant tour swings through Seattle once again, bringing Cohn's own special blend of folk-infused pop. Pick a pop songbird--especially one who plays piano--and Cohn's probably been compared to her, but she has a style all her own that defies comparison. She's more sensual than most of her ilk, and she has an impressive voice that's capable of whispering or belting with equal impact.

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from Campus Circle Magazine
Los Angeles, CA

By Alex Green
St. Mary¹s College

On her fourth full-length effort, Seattle's Jill Cohn continues to traverse the world of love and longing with a burning grace. The follow-up to the moving live set The Laughing Universe, which was recorded at a benefit for First Place, a school for homeless children, The Absence of Moving may conjure the the gentle phrasing of Edie Brickell, and the hushed poetic whisper of Joni Mitchell, but Cohn's ability to infuse a song with a resonant and dusky glow is a skill uniquely her own. From the skidding shuffle of "Shore," a number that features Cohn at her most commanding, to the lilting "Instead of the Innocent," The Absence of Moving is often a dark look at what gets left to burn when the heart changes its mind.

Capable of effortlessly reaching astonishing vocal heights, or opting instead for a hushed murmur to convey an emotion, Cohn's strength as a singer is that you never know where's she's going next. For example on the moving "Kayenta," she deftly switches from a soft, finessed delivery to a gorgeous yodeling falsetto that is impossible to resist. "Kayenta," is a winning number replete with a winning chorus, "Happy," is a delicate piano ballad, and "Louisiana Lover," has a soulful groove that gives the song an understated sexiness. Produced by Cohn, The Absence of Moving is a quiet triumph, a musical diamond in the rough that is has an undeniable tenderness. Not one to skimp on heart or emotion, Cohn's compositions are brave in that they are bold open letters to the lost or the heartbroken. Cohn¹s songs are like Paula Cole or Tori Amos in that they champion honesty and offer the truth even though it's the truth that may be the thing that hurts the most. The Absence of Moving is not a mournful collection of smoky ballads, but it is a rousing batch of sensuous songs that aren't afraid to burn.

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from The Weekly Wire
website

Deliciously Tense
By Michael Henningsen

JUNE 1, 1999: There's something about the way Jill Cohn sings that makes whatever her subject matter is seem sacred. There's virtually nothing that escapes her songwriter's pen. From love and loss to the persistence of hope, Cohn brings a crystalline clarity to everything that moves her. Her voice is as vast as the Great Northwest, which she calls home. The Seattle-based singer-songwriter has spent much of the past four years touring independently on the strength of three critically acclaimed solo albums. Her fourth, the ironically titled The Absence of Moving (Box o' Beanies), is her strongest yet.

Frequently compared to Tori Amos, Paula Cole and various Lilith-ites, Cohn is far too entrenched in her own identity to bow to such parallels. She is a fine pianist, and her voice is delightfully lofty, but Cohn's songs are uniquely her own. While her earlier work was largely piano-based (hence the Amos connection), her latest and its predecessor, Stories from the Blue Bus (Box o' Beanies), are both marked by the more frequent inclusion of thoughtful guitar, drums and acoustic bass. By broadening her palette gradually with more richly arranged instrumentation, Cohn has successfully allowed her music to evolve naturally, by turns allowing her voice room to move.

And move it does, gracefully transitioning between a gentle whisper and a commanding soprano. Cohn's songs are less like snapshots of her psyche than they are Super 8 home movies documenting her various passions and experiences. Lyrically, too, she shines. Her words shimmer magically, levitating ever so slightly above her well-constructed melodies, just enough to create the kind of deliciously nervous tension that keeps lovers enthralled. With simple grace and overwhelming charm, Jill Cohn adds a fresh twist to singer-songwriter folk-rock that has rarely been seen this side of Joni Mitchell. She's not someone you can afford to pass up.

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from FAC193 Music
website

Jill Cohn "the absence of Moving"
self-released, 2000

Pop music has taken a lot of heat lately for being weightless and lacking substance. Mind you, look at the prime suspects: assembly-line boy bands and divas-in-training who cater to the pre-teen set rule the radio waves. It is becoming rare to hear anyone on the radio who speaks with a universal voice through universal songs. Enter Jill Cohn--whose latest release, “the absence of Moving” is a collection of music that illuminates the joy and fragility of life.

Her voice is amorphous and takes on the personality of each song, whatever that song may require. To provide a couple of examples: she communicates the sultry loneliness of “Louisiana lover” with incredible immediacy and the liberation and strength of “Kayenta” with a pride not seen since Amy Ray’s earlier vocals for the Indigo Girls.

The arrangements are tasteful and only go as far as the song itself is willing to go, the additional musicians providing abundant depth and color to perfectly frame the picture Jill paints with her words. 

Jill Cohn deserves the type of exposure that makes an artist a star. Her songs deserve to be hits on the radio. Like all good pop music, these songs don’t demand much of the listener and compliment the days of our lives in their crystal clarity. Her voice and music feel timeless, universal, and perfect.

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Stories from the Bluebus

"Smart piano based Folk-Rock comparable to the work of Tori Amos and Paula Cole" - Willamette Week (Portland, OR)

"Lilith's other daughter" - Glenwood Post (Colorado)



Willamette Week
May 1998 - Portland, OR 

"Seattle singer-songwriter Jill Cohn's just-released third CD-"Stories from the Bluebus", is a collection of smart piano-based folk-rok comparable to the work of Tori Amos and Paula Cole. Cohn's almost in the league of these pop superstars, with a rich, expressive voice and a knack for melody. Since the rise of the Lilith Fair, there's a glut of strong female singer-songwriters, but Cohn could easily make it to the upper echelon if her latest album is any indication."

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City Weekly
May 1998 - Salt Lake City

"Listening to the music of Jill Cohn, you're almost tempted to believe that the author of all those Venus and Mars books has some valid points. Namely, it's the subjects she sings about. No furtive, man-like beating about the bush for Cohn. The woman gets right to the heart of the matter every time. Her just released new collection of songs is called "Stories fromt he BlueBus". Those of open emotions will rejoice. The rest of us will drop jaws at the sound of her luminescent voice, a force that sounds like a siren calling out from the unknown center of some pure, azure-colored ocean."

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Citylife
Las Vegas 

"Cohn is a level-headed woman with her heart stitched on her dress, somehow innocent and wise at the same time. She paints pictures about life and love rather than spurting out the lyrics-the lackadaisical flow of solitude and solace in "My Sister's Garage," the bouncing "How's Texas". Cohn might have actually captured all the big dreams and lost hope that permeates Cinema City in the Sarah McLachlan-sounding, "Hollywood" Lilith has a new friend."

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The Laughing Universe

"Cohn's lilting acoustic pop excursions are deeply personal and often heartstring tugging" - Buzz Weekly (Los Angeles, CA)



Post Office Saloon
Wednesday, Jan. 22nd, 1997
by Marvin Allen

(Jill Cohn) treated the Post Office Saloon to some very high caliber performing songwriter action. The flyer at the Post Office compared her to Tori Amos and Joni Mitchell. Not just anyone deserves that comparison, but Jill does. A lot more than a mere copy of anyone, she and her music stand on their own merit. She's blessed with a beautiful crystal clear voice and a wonderful piano style. Her songwriting and delivery do what all good art should. It takes you away. Quite a performer and a genuinely nice person, she gets two thumbs up from me. I suspect we'll be hearing more about Jill Cohn, so stay tuned.

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Tucson Lifestyle
1997

Seattle-based singer/songwriter Jill Cohn follows up last year's 13September6 with The Laughing Universe, a live album. It showcases her expressive voice and gift for poetic imagery. Cohn, who writes from the heart about love, loss and self-discovery, draws intricate word pictures that are intimate, yet leave room for interpretation. Standouts include the ironically titled "True Love" whose lyrics lament "Well I guess I never should've introduced you two/you can't always tell where fate hides," and "Anymore", which explores the isolation and alienation of being suddenly alone in a city. Major labels are scouting Cohn and her independent releases may soon become collector items.

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13September6

"Haunting songs like "Thought I Heard The Rain" and "Girl Named Kate" resound long after the CD stops spinning."" - Song Talk Magazine (Los Angeles, CA)


Song Talk Magazine

Los Angeles

"When Tori Amos emerged, writers couldn't avoid comparisons to Kate Bush, who years earlier was often compared to Joni Mitchell. Similar comparisons will no doubt ensue when writers struggle to define the unique songs and style of Jill Cohn, who sounds somewhat like all of the forementioned, but mostly like herself. She writes inventive songs like "the Trees Are Melting" which show off her big vocal and lyrical range. The album, which starts with a beautiful ballad, "Song for Terry", boasts production that is as inventive as the songs, and fine playing by various musicians and Jill herself on acoustic and electric piano. Like Tori Amos, Cohn is at her best when working her magic with the chromatic impressionistic melodies set against her complex but beautiful piano work. Haunting songs like "Thought I Heard The Rain" and "Girl Named Kate" resound long after the CD stops spinning."

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Charles R. Cross
of Rolling Stone & The Rocket (Seattle)

"Cohn's strengths are her extensive use of the piano (imagine Tori Amos of early Joni Mitchell) and how she's not afraid to let her powerful voice carry the melody".

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Visit Jill Cohn's website, www.jillcohn.com, to hear songs from her latest album, “Beautiful I Love You.” “The songs say all that I want people to know about me and my music. ... It's a very intimate collection of songs and a snapshot in my life that I want to share with your ears,” she said. | Seattle singer-songwriter Jill Cohn has written plenty of sad songs in her life, but many of the songs on her latest album, “Beautiful I Love You,” are happy tunes, with lyrics about forgiveness, redemption and human relationships.

“I think most of my songs have that dark, melancholy side to them, but as a person and songwriter, I always strive to bring in the irony or the lighter side,” she said. “In even the worst imprisoning situation, there is always a force that is working toward our liberation. My spiritual life seems to instruct and remind me of that direction. I'm no Pollyanna by any stretch of the imagination — like everyone else, I know firsthand that life can simply hurt and feel so hard — but it's what you do with that experience ... (that) I'm most interested in for my personal life.”

Cohn considers Colorado her second home, she said, and she returns to town to perform at the Vilar Center on Sunday night, when she opens for Danielle Ate the Sandwich at the Underground Sound concert series. For ticket information, see the story on page B1.

Vail Daily: You performed at the Vilar Center last season when you opened for Horse Feathers. What do you remember about the experience?

Jill Cohn: The beautiful sound on stage and the warm, receptive audience and the wonderful staff make for an amazing experience for the artist. I'm so excited to be coming back with my duet! 

VD: You recently released your ninth album, “Beautiful I Love You.” Tell me about it.

JC: My ninth CD was a labor of love! I started writing it while in a long-distance relationship and eventually took a “leap of faith” and moved down to California to be closer to this man. We were not real sure if our connection was going to be long term, but I decided to take a chance on it because we were also musical partners, as well. There are so many things that can assail one in the beginning of a relationship, let alone one that has 800 miles between you and the person that you're trying to get to know. Thus, the CD has an intermix of both the good and bad aspects of love and how we hope that our human experience of love between ourselves and another will somehow spur us on to find a deeper love between our own soul and the divine. The CD was produced by Seattle's Martin Feveyear, who also produced Brandi Carlile and Rosie Thomas. The disc also features sessions recorded in Los Angeles with Jim Watts, who won a Grammy for his work on Emmylou Harris' “Red Dirt Girl.” The L.A. sessions also include performances by bassist Marcus Blake, who I met in Boulder on a night off from my own tour schedule, while Marcus was on tour with Daniel Lanois. All the guitar textures are by Dave Sampson, who will join me on stage at the Vilar.

VD: What can people expect from your show on Sunday? 

JC: My songs are presented in a modern, folktronica-ambient duet, featuring Dave Sampson with an array of guitars and textures making a lush backdrop to my songs. I am performing on a unique, small-body, high-strung guitar, which has a bell-like quality and really was the centerpiece for much of my writing for “Beautiful I Love You.” Dave and I spent a lot of time figuring out which instruments best conveyed the spirit of each song, and we are so excited to present these songs on the Vilar stage. If time permits, I'm sure to throw in a few of my older tunes from one of my previous releases.

VD: How did you meet Danielle, of Danielle Ate the Sandwich, and start opening for her? 

JC: I met Miss Danielle online and asked her if she wanted an opener for her show at the Vilar. Her music is so fun and our styles different that I thought it would be a good fit for an evening of music. Also, I've been reaching out to the younger, up-and-coming community of new songwriters on the scene, as I think it's a great contrasting evening of music for the audience to hear songs from two different generations in one evening. I've been a touring artist since 1996, and it's simply fun and fresh for me to be able to share an evening with another musical talent. 




"Cohn plays songs from her new album,Beautiful I Love You, her first in nearly five years. Much of the album is composed of bittersweet ballads (with a few toe-tappers interspersed) about trails leading west from Carolina, good and bad times on the road, and, naturally, the elusiveness of true love. The twangy “John Denver’s Ghost” is a charming highlight. The song chronicles Cohn’s imagined relationship with her spectral boyfriend: he’s only there when she wants him to be, doesn’t leave crumbs in the bed, and “never plays around with my head.” Cohn’s breathy register is a natural complement to the soft and slow instrumentals. It’s the kind of music that goes well with a late-afternoon margarita — unobtrusive and ambient — though those who pay attention to Cohn’s lyrics will be rewarded with clever, introspective turns of phrase." - Santa Fe New Mexican Pasa Tiempo

Jill Cohn

“Beautiful I Love You”

 Through this, her ninth CD, singer, songwriter, pianist and guitarist Jill Cohn continues her musical journey to find the good stuff within the oft-harsh lessons of life and love. A poet with insights steeped in hope and faith, on “Beautiful I Love You” Cohn finds much humor in life’s difficulties but not in a Pollyanna sort of way by any means. Cohn’s expressions of her spirit are bittersweet and sometimes wry but always with so much realness that she can make you feel better if only by singing your pain. Rest assured: Cohn’s music will lift you up.

She invited guest musicians to record with her on this CD. Drums, acoustic bass, Wurlitzer and more add much to the musical tapestry Cohn weaves with ambience and gentility. Next time you are having a bad day or feeling stressed out or sad, put “Beautiful I Love You” on and it will give you the medicine you need.

Cohn is an incredibly compassionate and sympathetic person, as evidenced by what her music is about. In fact, she says she titled the CD with words she believes everyone needs to hear more every day. The things she sings about happening to her are the same things that happen to us as well – the listeners to whom she is reaching out to help heal or at least convince to let go and stop trying to figure everything out in life.

If you are a single person who feels so lonely for companionship – for that one person to love who will love you back – listen to this CD and hear what Cohn has to say. She knows your pain and your joys. This is so wonderfully illustrated in “Searching for the Song.” She sings, “When your heart is hurt/ and you long for love/ pause to see the road you’re presently on/ hear the melody hear right from wrong/ don’t stop searching for your song.”

Leadoff track “Live Life” sets the tone beautifully for the entire CD musically and lyrically. In a light and gentle voice Cohn gives sound advice in this song, asking the big questions in a humble way. “…all I am looking for is God,” she sings. And in the end, “…I decided not to decide and just live life.”

“West From Carolina” comes next, taking the listener on a road trip to redemption. This leads into “Highway 40,” a fun song about traveling alone in a car that is not chugging along so well. It is at that scary moment when stranded along the side of the road that freedom breeds desperation and loneliness. Cohn sings of these things in a lighthearted, honky tonk style as if she laughs in the face of danger. With the next track being titled “Leap of Faith,” Cohn seems to swoop in to say, “Sometimes it takes a leap of faith/ when there’s no one there to catch you.”

“John Denver’s Ghost” is playful and quite humorous in its adoration of the self-proclaimed “Country Boy” as Cohn’s perfect boyfriend/husband. She lays out her daydreams of how her Prince Charming in a cowboy hat would worship her. Among Denver’s qualities, Cohn sings that he “lets me win all our fights/ always says the three special words/ baby, you are right.”

“Missing In The Moment” is a reminder to come back to earth when your mind is way out in space obsessing about what may or may not happen. “So focused on the future/ I forget to see the brilliant stuff/ right here, in the moment.” The CD is full of this type of simple wisdom, as Cohn really has a knack for putting things into perspective.


Jill Cohn's ninth album, "Beautiful I Love You," is a snapshot of the singer-songwriter as an artist and a person.

The February release features guitar-based, ambient folk in contrast to the straight-ahead, piano-centered pop on her previous albums.

The soundscape varies from simple guitar and vocal pairings to lush arrangements featuring a full band. Unique tunings and the diversified guitar stylings of Dave Sampson on baritone and slide guitars give the album texture, says Cohn, who recently relocated to Northern California from Seattle.

"Beautiful I Love You" is based on the ins and outs of a long-distance relationship, she says.

Taylor Guitars

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ALBUM:
Seven Year Surrender
www.jillcohn.com

TAYLORS USED:
314ce

SONG CLIPS:
Pass a Little Hope Around
Guarantee of Grace

Jill CohnIt’s been a treat to hear Seattle-based singer-songwriter Jill Cohn’s folk-pop artistry evolve in recent years. Cohn’s sixth full-length CD, Seven Year Surrender, further advances her musical journey, and finds the formerly piano-centric artist playing more acoustic guitar as she gracefully dissects both the failures of love and the healing process.

Cohn will appeal to the Lilith Fair crowd (she was a top-five finalist in its talent search, as well as a national finalist in Jewel’s recent Soul City Café contest), and the way her lilting voice slips into the upper register draws frequent (and worthy) comparisons to Sarah McLachlan.

But Cohn’s songcraft clearly flickers with its own distinctive musical tints. Her willowy voice is the centerpiece, memorable for the effortless grace with which she breathes emotional nuance and melodic sophistication into her songs. She inhabits her lyrics in a way that connects earthy with ethereal, and her music seems an ever-present extension of her conscience. In a review of The Absence of Moving (her fourth album), Performing Songwriter magazine alluded to Cohn’s “windblown spirituality”; it’s an apt description.

At the heart of Seven Year Surrender is the struggle to properly resolve fragmented relationships in order to move on. For Cohn, such reflection elicits personal insights that pave the way for healing and, ultimately, healthy new connections. Resilience and hope are prevalent themes as well, underscoring the human craving for belonging and intimacy.

Cohn’s lyrics resonate from different perspectives: as poetic self-meditations, as revealing cautionary tales, and as relationship post-mortems directed toward former lovers. The sting of loss is tempered by the resolve to learn and not return, as Cohn sings in “Never Going Back”: “I’ll say goodbye to heartache/I’ll say goodbye and wish you well/’cause I’m never going back to emotional hell.”

Musically, Cohn constructs a rich and varied instrumental framework for her melodies. She and Seattle’s Martin Feveyear co-produced the album, and together they find the right balance of rootsy and airy elements, drawing from the expressiveness of guitarist Val McCallum (Vonda Sheppard, Jackson Browne), the tasteful guitar, organ, and string arrangements (incorporating violin, viola, and cello) of Greg Fulton, and Cohn’s own shifting touch on guitar, piano, and Fender Rhodes.

Surrender opens with the bluesy, woozy bray of McCallum’s electric slide guitar on “Pass a Little Hope Around”, followed by “Doormat”, featuring a lovely piano figure buoyed by an elegant string arrangement. In the shimmering country-folk ballad, “Never Going Back”, Cohn’s sublime vocals float over a loping rhythm flavored with atmospheric slide and clucking banjo arpeggios. “Different This Time” is a blue-mood ballad, heavy on the mind like a sleepless night, as the song’s sluggish pulse and flugelhorn melancholy trudge along at the urging of Cohn’s hushed vocal: “What keeps you going back to the past/To that one person you can’t get out of your head/You think that six years would be enough/To give up everything you worked so hard to get away from”.

“Come on Home” rebounds with catchy, sweetly layered vocals. On the spare acoustic waltz “Sailor”, it’s just Cohn’s minimalist acoustic fingerpicking and her beautifully longing voice. In “L.A. Ballad”, Cohn’s groggy, purposely warbled pitch evokes the messy unraveling of a transplanted relationship in the “airless town” of L.A., along with the dangers of clinging to distorted memories that freeze and idealize people as they no longer are. In “Guarantee of Grace”, Cohn’s beautiful circular lyric is accented with acoustic guitar and Rhodes. “Blind Date” is Cohn’s grooviest track, blending guitar, Rhodes, drum loops, banjo, and muted trumpet, while the jaunty ‘60s electric-guitar-fueled pop of “Good Citizen” seems to toss off the album’s deep introspection for a fun evening out on the town.

No matter where her songs emerge from on Seven Year Surrender, Cohn’s weathered hope shines ahead.

— Jim Kirlin