Buzz Weekly described Cohn's music as "lilting acoustic pop excursions - deeply personal and heartstring-tugging".
The Absence of Moving was recently featured along with songs from Neil Young, Loudon Wainwright, Crosby Stills & Nash,
on the NPR Program, "ALL SONGS CONSIDERED"
here's a link!
"The songs on the absence of Moving pour out of the pseakers like rianwater-clear, life-giving and cool"
Her critically acclaimed 4th CD, "the absence of Moving" has been embraced by AAA Radio and internet radio with the song, Louisiana Lover still getting attention on airways nation wide.
A true veteran of the road, the Seattle singer's piano & guitar based solo tours highlight her soul-stirring voice and well crafted songs with issues ranging from domestic violence, the shrinking rain forest to discovering one's own inner spirit.
Jill was picked as an opener for the "girls room" tour and was a top 5 finalist in the Lilith Fair Talent search in Seattle, Portland, and Phoenix. In addition to headlineing concerts in Seattle, and Los Angeles, she has shared stages with Tara MacLean, Loundon Wainwright III, David Mallett, Ellis Paul, Dona Delory, Cheryl Wheeler and many others.
Raised in a small town in Eastern Washington, Cohn recalls being involved in music from her earliest memories: "My mom used to be able to find me playing, because she would just follow the sound of me singing to myself, and when I wasn't bugging my big sisters, I was making up songs on the Piano rather than practicing my lessons". After teaching herself guitar on her dad's old Gibson, and purchasing an electric piano, she took to the road in '96, with her 20 pound cat, Tosca, and has kept a non-stop tour schedule ever since.
Her concerts continue to draw growing and enthusiastic audiences wherever she performs. Her music draws many comparisons, with most press, radio & concert promoters likening her music to the works of Joni Mitchell.
-Album Network called Cohn's music "strong on vocals with piercing lyrics and Lovely melodies."
-Weekly Alibi said "the absence of Moving is Cohn's sexiest effort yet".
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.
From Michael Henningsen
Albuquerque, NM USA - Sunday, January 14, 2001 at 23:26:40 (EST)
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. GENEVIEVE WILLIAMS
From The Stranger
Seattle, WA USA - Tuesday, December 12, 2000 at 16:47:59 (EST)
" 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.
JILL COHN, "the absence of Moving"
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 feels timeless, universal, and perfect.
The Absence of Moving ****
One of the problems that is becoming readily evident in regards to the Yakima Folklife Festival, is that there just isn't enough time or space to listen to all the talent. And the roster of talent this year was incredible.
One of those performers I missed, regretfully, was Jill Cohn. I hadn't heard her name before, so I didn't know what to expect. In fact, I didn't even realize she was at the Festival until several days after it was over. My loss.
Through a circuitous chain of events I found myself calling her to request a CD, which she was glad to send me.
The "Absence of Moving" is a true delight. One of the methods I employ when I review a CD is that I put it in my CD player, along with several others and punch the random button. I do this so I won't be expecting a certain song or artist. I then go about whatever it is I am doing and listen to the music in a background mode. Then, if I hear something that strikes me, I write the number and track of the CD down and compare the results later.
With "Moving" I was stumped. I had put in a couple other CDs of much better-known female singers, in addition to Cohn, in the player. When it came time to compare my notes, "Moving" rated much higher than the others.
With nods to Paula Cole, Tori Amos, and even Joni Mitchell, Cohn moves through her work effortlessly, waith carefree abandon; but without taking anything too lightly.
From the subtly seductive "Louisiana Lover" to the playfully expressive "Kayenta," Cohn displays a remarkable ability to juggle emotions effectively, without seeming too gratuitous in her expression.
Instrumentation is solid and clean, with nothing left to chance. There are 13 well-written songs on this CD, and all are "diamonds in the rough." A northwesterner, you can bet that when she is in this area again, I will make every effort to see her perform. Self-produced, the CD is a true gem, a thoughtful journey from heart to soul. It is a release that should find its way to the center of most music lovers' collection. And the question remains: Why is all the good music not heard on the radio?
Lunch with singer-songwriter Jill Cohn is an unexpectedly happy affair
By M.V. Moorhead Jill Cohn
Jill Cohn isn't what I expected, on the basis of several years of listening to her music on CD. Demonstrating the same sort of naiveté that leads housewives to believe that the guy on their soap opera really is a cad, or Charlton Heston to believe that Ice-T really kills cops, I half-expected lunch with Cohn -- whose lovely songs are, after all, very often ballads of romantic or familial loss and pain -- to be a meal full of dark emotional turmoil and wistful yearning.
Quite the opposite. The woman who has joined me for a nosh at Coronado Cafe is uncommonly friendly and upbeat. Indeed, she laughs more often, and harder, than anyone I've met in quite some time -- long, vigorous, full-throated, unabashed bursts of mirth. It's pleasant to note that the same voice that sings with such plangent beauty on albums such as Stories From the Blue Bus and The Absence of Moving is capable of happy sounds as well.
Maybe Cohn, who grew up in Washington state, is just glad to be back in the desert. She moved to L.A. in the early '80s, but later moved back to Seattle. "I missed my family, and it was time to leave California," she tells me as we wait for our lunches. "I just had some personal reasons why I needed to give myself some distance between me and someone else in L.A. But I miss L.A. a lot. I miss the desert. The desert is just such a more open place than the Pacific Northwest. People tend to be very shy and quiet and conservative there. I think it's the weather. . . . People tend to keep to themselves or their groups, while people in the desert communities are more open."
Though the singer-songwriter started touring, most often performing in Borders stores (where her CDs are sold), mainly as a way of financing visits to these desert climes she missed so much, it eventually grew into a full-fledged lifestyle. "Store managers who liked the music took an interest, and said, 'Oh, you should play this store, you should play this store,'" says Cohn.
Still Seattle-based, Cohn has drifted through the Valley, and thus often through the pages of New Times' Night & Day during the late '90s, as part of the long swings she makes through the Western U.S. in her van, usually accompanied only by her impressive teenage cat, Tosca. This weekend, she's slated to perform, with percussionist Michael Barsimanto, at the Borders on Camelback at 8 p.m. Friday, June 1, and at the Borders on Bell Road in Glendale at 8 p.m. Saturday, June 2.
What, I ask her, does such an itinerant lifestyle do to one's personal life? "I have no personal life," she says with a laugh. "I have a lot of friends I see on the road. I think I put a lot of emphasis on my personal life in my 20s, because everything I did didn't really work out. It made for really good songs . . ."
Suddenly Cohn stops herself, and offers a quick self-deprecation. "I shouldn't say 'made for really good songs' 'cause I don't know if my songs are really good, but it made for really good subject matter."
Her modest disclaimer done, she continues telling me how she came out of her muse-friendly dark days. "I think I made a switch when I realized I put all my energy into my personal life and couldn't effect any real change there, so I decided to put all my energy into my career, and see what kind of change I could effect there."
I assume what we're talking about, in terms of "personal life," is some endless, difficult, on-again-off-again relationship that lasted for years?
Pretty much, Cohn grants. "I think that was the biggest folly in my 20s was trying to find someone to connect my life with, instead of trying to connect with my own life, and then see who's around."
Our food arrives -- for Cohn, a large green salad; for me, a chicken caesar sandwich with fine, fresh white meat and a zingy, to-die-for dressing. As we dig in, Cohn grows reflective. "I think I was raised to believe that marriage and family was everything," she says. "And I think it is a huge part of the human experience. But my folks put a lot of emphasis on that, I think because they were married and divorced so many times, that I think they really wanted to impress upon us the importance of family. . . . So I spent all my 20s trying to make that a reality. And I tend now to have a different view, that you can do things to affect who you meet and when you meet them, but basically I think it's really up to fate. So my change in my 30s was to put all my effort into my career, and let the universe take care of the rest, and see what happens."
So, I ask this older-and-wiser Jill Cohn, what's her best survival tip for life on the road? She points to her salad. "Greens! Salad greens!" she says. "Going to the co-op rather than to McDonald's. That's survival number one when you're on the road -- eating really well." She says that Coronado Cafe's tasty fare falls well within this directive.
Just then, the server walks by, and discreetly sweeps away some sprouts that had fallen from Cohn's plate onto the table. Cohn thanks her, then leans close to my tape recorder and helpfully intones: "The waitress came and picked up some sprouts." I like this; a lunch guest who includes helpful third-person narration on the interview tape. "And Jill also salts her salad," Cohn continues into the recorder. "It's something she picked up from her older sister; it's really disgusting."
I've finished my sublime sandwich, and order a cherry cobbler for us to split for dessert. While we wait, Cohn picks at the remnants of her salad, and tells me about the road. Most people I know who must travel for their work claim they hate it, but Cohn insists that it's a source of delight. In branching out from Borders gigs, for instance, she's encountered startling generosity. "In San Luis Obispo," she recalls, "I was supposed to rent this community theater for 50 or 60 bucks, and these people refused to take my money! It was so sweet! I said, 'You guys, you're supposed to take it,' and they said, 'No, we're supposed to support the arts.'"
And the drive itself has its scenic joys. "I love the Four Corners, and I also love the Northern California coast. And there's this one expanse of drive, from Spanish Fork, Utah, where you can just see for miles, and I have this one tape that I always put on when I go through there. U2's Joshua Tree. That's my music for going into the canyonlands."
All at once Cohn leans close to her salad, and plucks something out -- she's found a hair. I point out that it's a long black hair, and in all likelihood one of hers. She nods, laughs, leans close to my recorder, and speaks once again for its benefit:
"We found a hair in the salad, but we think it's Jill's."
phoenixnewtimes.com | Originally published on 5/31/200