"Despite the sensual intimacy of her sound, there's a vastness to the music of Jill Cohn. Her voice, delicate but durable, soars over gentle washes of color and exotic drones to perch on sturdy, melodic choruses, rewarding the listener with a sense of home." -- US MAGAZINE (June 2003)
"Her releatory 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 (Dec. 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 (FEB. 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 (FEB. 2002)
'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 (Jan. 2003)
"It's not a huge surprise that this veteran indie rocker and club performer lists on her extensive resume "Lilith Fair Sidestage Finalist," because with any luck, she could certainly have taken center stage with the famous women on that annual tour. With vocals that blend the angelic tenderness of Sarah McLachlan and just a bit of the punch of a Natalie Merchant, Cohn chooses to conceal the depth of her power for a few moments. "Calm" is mystical and new age-y, all haunting piano and ambience, very much along the lines of McLachlan's "Angel," combining spirituality and a bit of social conscience. "Oneness" offers a worldbeat groove and a richer, more rock-oriented vocal range. "Ask Me to Stay" blends the ambience with a tougher electric guitar groove, and Cohn's vocal is textured, the guttural blended with the gossamer. "Truthful Road" is a heavily produced rocker that even captures a bit of the Alanis Morissette vibe. This edge is followed by the softhearted, piano-oriented romance "Standing Still." While the rock numbers are solid, Cohn seems most at home on the graceful acoustic numbers that bite just a little vocally at just the right moments. Her lyrics offer image-rich poetry and demand a few readings to get at their deeper meanings. Her philosophies come together on the folksy closer about the dual natures of love, simply called "Longing.""
--by Jonathan Widran, All Music Guide
One word that seems to have followed Jill Cohn around for virtually all of her professional career is "spiritual." Not in the musical or gospel sense, but derived from the deeply personal, introspective and occasionally ethereal nature of her songs. Even the title of her latest album, Window To The Wise, suggests a developmental arc widely removed from typical contemporary pop.
"I've always been seeking the purpose of life, says Cohn." "Why are we here, what am I doing on this planet, how do I get back to my true essence, all the Big Questions that people ask themselves. Those are the earliest things that I can remember, that and wanting to be a singer. And I see how intertwined both experiences have been for me."
In 1994, she released her first CD, 13September6, a six-song independently distributed EP. Charles Cross of the Seattle Rocket and Rolling Stone said of that EP, "Cohn's strengths are her extensive use of the piano (imagine Tori Amos or early Joni Mitchell) and how she's not afraid to let her powerful voice carry the melody." It wasn't the first time that Mitchell and Amos (and Kate Bush, for that matter) were invoked in describing Cohn, but Song Talk magazine seems to have gotten it right when they said, "[Cohn] sounds somewhat like all of the aforementioned, but mostly like herself."
Relocating to Seattle with her 17-pound cat, Tosca, Cohn launched herself into the music scene. While waitressing and working as a receptionist, she came to realize that the business of being an indie musician is every bit as much a craft as it is an art.
"I went from waiting tables 30 hours a week to working, well, every day of my life. It was only this last Christmas that I took my first real vacation since 1996," says Cohn.
Her first full album, The Laughing Universe, was released in the spring of 1997. The disc was recorded live in a church, at a benefit for First Place, a school for homeless children in Seattle. Los Angeles' Buzz newspaper said the disc contained "lilting acoustic pop excursions [which] are deeply personal and often heartstring-tugging."
Cohn's third CD, her first full-length studio album, was called Stories From The BlueBus and was released in March of 1998. By this time, she had ranged out fairly far from her home base of Seattle and was playing as far east as Colorado and Texas. Some of the press was beginning to tag her as "Lilith's other daughter," despite the fact that she came in third in the Lilith talent search in Seattle (she would have been selected to play in Phoenix had she been a local, but her honesty got in the way and she declined in favor of someone who actually called Phoenix home). Salt Lake's City Weekly waxed poetic about the disc nonetheless: "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."
In January of 2000, Cohn released her most ambitious album to that point, The Absence Of Moving. Self-produced with a distinctive voice (in both senses of the word), Moving extended Cohn's following eastward and southward, and sent the critics to the dictionaries for new superlatives. Performing Songwriter described it this way: "There's a windblown spirituality as well as a full-bodied, lovely worldliness to Jill Cohn's writing. The songs...pour out of the speakers like rainwater; clear, life-giving and cool. Cohn's voice, though, is the highlight...expressive and strong, and Cohn uses it well in her hovering, otherworldly melodies."
For all of that, Cohn is no hothouse flower. She's out there, living in the world (as in songs like "Truthful Road" and "Standing Still"), and reflecting on it (as in "Kerosene" and "Ask Me To Stay"). Recorded in a mere 13 days, the sound and scope of Window To The Wise have taken a dramatic step forward from Cohn's earlier work, thanks to Cohn's writing, her band's performances and contributions, and a lucky break. New Orleans-based producer Ethan Allen, whose credits include work with Daniel Lanois, Better Than Ezra and Throwing Muses, was initially contacted by fellow Crescent City native Brady Kish (who also happens to be Cohn's bassist). Allen responded enthusiastically, and offered to cut the album in Seattle. He brought with him Grammy-winning engineer Jim Watts, who recorded Red Dirt Girl by Emmylou Harris. Together with the band, they have produced a polished and radio-friendly sound that showcase Cohn's considerable vocal talents to the fullest.