"The folk diva is back with a phenomenal sixth CD"
-- WEEKLY ALIBI
"Seven Year Surrender balances out heart-rending laments of a domestic life passed by with funny tales of blind dates and good citizenry-as we always say, the girl oughta be a star." -- City Weekly
"One of the Hottest Female Talents on the Music Scene Today"
--Laney Goodman (DJ & Programer for Women in Music: http://womenonair.com)
"sunny disposition, which smiles and giggles"
--PHOENIX NEW TIMES (6/2005)
Seven Year Surrender is Jill Cohn's 6th indie CD, and it's every bit the masterpiece you would expect. Jill's melodic vocals, her soulful lyrics, and her delightful musical approach to life and its unique twists and turns is a refreshing slice of Americana. She shares her life with us through her music and let's us in, even if just a little, on the journey she has lead. After
listening to Seven Year Surrender you end with the feeling that Jill is like an old friend that knows just what you've been going through. My favorite track is "Pass a Little Hope Around."
-GT (SINGER MAGAZINE)
The melodies end up lodged in your brain, and Jill Cohn's easygoing, sincere voice at turns haunts and inspires. Picking up steam by the third song, "Never Going Back", Seven Year Surrender maintains a solid mellow groove throughout, relying frugally on Cohn's voice, piano, and guitar for much of the running time. "Blind Date" startles with an addition of ethereal bells, mournful horns, and what sounds like electronic accompaniment -- maybe, to Jill Cohn fans, this is akin to Dylan's Newport Festival performance (I don't want to scare anyone here, but the final "hidden" track is entitled, "Blind Date -- Almutes Rap Version"). "Good Citizen" makes me think of what Sheryl Crow might sound like with a little more religion and perspective, and "Come on Home" would be perfect for a road trip. Those are just some of the highlights.
If you already have some inclination towards this type of music, I'd suggest you pick up this album.
- Ben Rubenstein (POP MATTERS)
"Jill Cohn has released five previous albums but Seven Year Surrender may be the one that brings her to wider attention. Over the course of eleven songs, Cohn explores matters of the heart - friendship, life, death, love - with authority and passion. When she's at her best, Cohn is comparable to Joni Mitchell and Rickie Lee Jones, and here that's often. "Pass A Little Hope Around" and "Sailor" are two of the best, as are "Good Citizen" and "L.A. Ballad," and for Cohn best means avoiding sentimentality or the love-conquers-all platitudes that sometimes walk hand-in-hand with folk-inflected rock"
- Jedd Beaudoin (Cooper Press)
"Jill Cohn - Seven Year Surrender... (Independently released CD, Soft pop) It used to be that...once upon a time...if you were really, really talented you were almost guaranteed of finding at least a small audience for your music. But as the number of musical artists has grown exponentially over the years, all of that has changed. Despite the fact that she is super talented and her music is extremely accessible, Jill Cohn is still currently only appreciated by a relatively small group of people. And that is unfortunate,because her music is completely credible and genuine. Ms. Cohn's tunes are smooth and hummable...and she has an incredible voice. Seven Year Surrender is a mature and memorable album which showcases Jill's continuing growth as a songwriter. If they were given the big push, many of these tracks could easily end up being big hits. Songs like "Pass A Little Hope Around" and "Come On Home" are uplifting and ultra hummable. The only problem track here is the hidden, unnamed thirteenth track. The song is fantastic but is,unfortunately, rendered unlistenable by the unwelcome appearance of an obnoxious hip-hop (c)rapper near the end. Remove that last cut...and you have an almost perfect album. Jill Cohn keeps getting better. Hopefully one day she will find the larger audience that she so obviously deserves." -
"It'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."
TAYLOR GUITARS WOOD & STEEL MAGAZINE- Jim Kirlin
"Seven Year Surrender" is Washington native Jill Cohn's latest album.
Seven years is also about how long Cohn has been on the road touring,
singing, setting out to make connections with her audience.
But Cohn's road efforts aren't just to build a fan base - she's
out to make new friends.
"Seven Year Surrender" was born out of necessity, says Cohn, whose last album "Window to the Wise," was a collection of melancholy breakup tunes.
"I was thinking, 'I want to get over this, I don't want to keep churning up sad feelings,' " she says about how the songs on "Seven Year" came about. "I started listening to different music and flipping around on
the radio. I started listening to more twangy music. It made me feel
That twang found its way onto two of the new album's 11 songs.
"It just kind of happened," she said about the country sound. "It added
levity to my evening, but I'm not going to be a country singer. I'm still me."
- Cohn's music is honest and
heartfelt. Kind of like the chick-flick musical equivalent.
But that's a compliment. Because, like those films women enjoy watching over and over again, Cohn's songs are comforting, fun to sing along to and even a little
sassy. -- KIM NOWACKI (YAKIMA HERALD-REPUBLIC)
"If I would have heard the first song "Pass A Little Hope Around" off of JILL COHN's release "Seven Year Surrender..." on the radio, I would have thought Sarah McLauchlin had released a new single. JILL COHN has that same sort of soft angel-like voice, yet musically the two artists are vastly different. JILL COHN seems to have more diversity in her instrumental accompaniments from country-folk-like guitars to concert hall pianos - I would say that this CD has a little something for everyone -
at least for those who enjoy the softer side of music! This is a very pleasing CD to listen to for you can get lost in the superb music arrangements, but also in JILL's magnetic voice. If you enjoy something that borders on country pop and folk rock you might just enjoy JILL COHN's music!"
Almost immediately after Cohn embarked on the tour to promote her 2002 release, Window to the Wise, new songs began to pour out, and she realized quickly that yet another album was soon to be born. She called on the talents of Seattle producer Martin Feveyear, whom she had met while recording at his studio. During the Window to the Wise sessions, producer Ethan Allen had mentioned that if Cohn were to record again, that she might want to work with Martin. After Feveyear played some tracks from the yet unreleased Rosie Thomas album he was producing at the time, the seed was planted.
It began to blossom when Feveyear guested on a track from Window to the Wise, and came into full fruit when Cohn began writing the new album. She called Feveyear, who enthusiastically invited her back to Jupiter to begin recording Seven Year Surrender. Cohn says, "we took our time recording these songs, and I got a portable hard drive so I could record in different cities while keeping up with my tour schedule. "
The Window to the Wise tour brought Cohn full circle on many personal fronts. She recognized early on, that in addition to having fresh experiences to draw upon for songs, that these tours were bringing about an opportunity for personal healing and resolution of unfinished business. While wading through the sometimes murky water of trying to right her wrongs, Cohn realized that these new songs were somehow the completion of a cycle begun with Window to the Wise. Where Window introduced longings, Seven Year Surrender takes a deeper look at the actual purpose of why certain situations persist, and how seeking their remedy unfolds a person in new ways.
Seven Year Surrender marks several milestones for Cohn. The first is a reunion with Andrew Bush, and recording at Grandma's Warehouse in Los Angeles, the studio where Cohn cut her first release, 13September6. In addition to working with her Seattle band mates, Cohn also called on the guitar talents of Val McCallum (Vonda Sheppard, Jackson Browne), and rekindled a connection with designer Matt Buckmaster (who worked on Cohn's 2000 release, The Absence of Moving). Grammy®-award winning engineer Jim Watts also produces the track, "Guarantee of Grace," which Cohn wrote about her longing for family life.
"Over the years of touring, I have become friends with some of the venue owners, I've gotten to see their children grow, and somehow, I've gotten to have my family through them. On this night, I was feeling a bit melancholy yet grateful about what I do have. It was funny, but those words just came to me, and I kept singing them to myself for weeks during that tour, and finally, when I got back home, I finished the song."
During Cohn's tours, she has gained many new fans and concert opportunities, most recently as a national finalist in Jewel's Soul City Café contest. Her performances encompass a wide spectrum of venues and charitable events, ranging from coffee houses in rural towns to her most moving appearance to date, where she performed her song "Instead of the Innocent" in front of 8,000 people in Seattle's Volunteer Park. Cohn was also picked as an opener for the Girls Room tour, was a top-five finalist in the Lilith Fair Talent search and has opened concerts for many national artists, including; Jewel, Stacey Earle, Loudon Wainwright III, and Dave Matthews.
Seven Year Surrender also marks Cohn stepping back into a larger production role, and it also features several songs in which she is the principal instrumentalist. Surrender, as one discovers over the course of the album's song cycle, is not so much about giving up as it is about opening up, as it joyously probes into a deeper understanding of resolution, compassion and understanding.