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Jill Cohn


Country of origin:

U.S.

Type of music generally:

alternative pop

Status:

Most recent release, Heartstrings Touching Ground (2015)

See also:

Jill Cohn's site

Jill Cohn's MySpace page

Comparisons:

Sarah McLachlan, Tara MacLean, Paula Cole, Joni Mitchell, early Jane Siberry

Covers/own material:

Own

General comments:

Good voice, heart-felt songwriting and solid musicianship, all adding up to a package that is certainly enjoyable but in my opinion lacks that certain something to really make it stand out from the crowd. (afries@zip.com.au)

Interestingly enough, while I find many artists similar to Jill Cohn's Lilith-Fair-type sound too pop for my tastes, I kept hearing things I liked in her music, particularly echos of early Joni Mitchell and early Jane Siberry was intrigued enough with the absence of Moving to buy my own copy, and have played it quite a bit (I was less impressed with 13september6). I found that her songwriting really stuck in my head, and showed quite an interesting range. While I wouldn't say she's particularly innovative or unusual, she has a lovely voice, uses it well, and her songwriting seems to be growing in strength and individuality. Many of the songs tell stories, something that I like quite a lot.
     Jill Cohn has a kind of Sarah McLachlan voice and sensibility but a slightly wider range of style. I recommend her strongly to anyone who likes the pop side of ecto. (Neile)

Comments about live performance:

I saw her in New Mexico last year and was decidedly unimpressed. I'm usually willing to give people the benefit of the doubt and buy a cd if there is just a little bit that catches my fancy, but I found her songs to be pleasant but not particularly interesting. I didn't hear anything that inspired me to even consider the album. Am I missing something? (1/00, neal

Recommended first album:

the absence of Moving

Recordings:

  • 13september6 (1995)
  • the laughing universe (live, 1997)
  • stories from the bluebus (1998)
  • the absence of Moving (1999)
  • Window to the Wise (2002)
  • Seven Year Surrender (2003)
  • Travelling Companion (2005)
  • Every Street Inside Of You ~ Mexico City (2008)
  • Beautiful I Love You (2011)
  • Heartstrings Touching Ground (2015)

13september6

Release info:

1995—Box 'O Beanies

Availability:

See Jill Cohn's site

Ecto priority:

Recommended for fans, or for those who like soft pop

Group members:

Jill Cohn—piano, vocal, loop, synth, percussion

Guest artists:

Cassio Duarte—percussion
Jimmy Mahis—acoustic and electric guitars
Dave Bassett—bass, synth
Ida Bodin—bass, acoustic bass
Gary Ponder—drums, percussion
Billy Damota—additional guitar
Michael Barsimanto—drums

Produced by:

Tracks produced by various people: Andrew Bush, Dave Bassett, Jill Cohn, David Eaton

Comments:

Nowhere near as focused or polished as most of the material on the absence of Moving. I recommend going for that one first and getting this one if you really like her and want to hear earlier work. (Neile)

the absence of Moving

Release info:

1999—Boxobeanies Music, 10002 Aurora Ave. N. #1135, Seattle, WA 98133, U.S.A.—JC04

Availability:

See Jill Cohn's site

Ecto priority:

Recommended for fans of the lighter side of Ecto

Group members:

Jill Cohn—piano, keyboard, background vocals, additional acoustic guitar

Guest artists:

Dennis Staskowski—acoustic bass
Greg Fulton—electric, drone, and acoustic guitars
Mike Mc Daniels—drums on 1 track
Jesse Stern—background voice and electric bass on 1 track
Adam Baron—drums
Rob Witmer—accordion & concertina on 2 tracks
Eric Chappelle—violin on 1 track
Greg Fulton—string section composition and arrangement on 1 track
Cecilia Archuleta—violin
Mike Watson—viola
Barbara Salkin—cello

Produced by:

Jill

Comments:

When Neal Stephenson takes a swipe in his Cryptonomicon at "American women singer-songwriters of the offbeat, misunderstood, highly intelligent but intensely emotional school, getting rich selling music to consumers who understand what it's like not to be understood" he could well be talking about Jill Cohn—except for that getting rich part. But there is no reason why recognition shouldn't follow in due course. After all, Jill occupies the same territory as Sarah McLachlan, Paula Cole, or Heather Nova (in her Oyster/Siren days anyway). In fact in her vocal manner she is a dead ringer for Sarah and/or Tara MacLean as well. As for her songwriting, while fairly conventional it often has a personal and honest ring to it. the absence of Moving is her fourth record, and apparently her previous ones were more heavily piano based, while this one has fuller, more band-like sound. I don't know those other CDs, and I wonder if I should look for them, because my favourite moments so far are not those with the band in full flight but the stripped-down ones, those with most space between the notes: "Louisiana lover" with its funky bass line, and sad, lovely "wind chimes".
     So: Sarah, Paula, Tara, Heather...to me, this is the landscape defined by Lilith Fair on one side, and Felicity and Dawson's Creek on the other—useful reference points both conceptually and, more specifically, for the soundtracks they produced. The concept I had in mind here was one of taking a slightly offbeat product and packaging it in a user friendly, non-threatening fashion. There is nothing wrong with that, in any case any Lilith Fair or Felicity performers are still well above the average commercial standard and not all that mainstream compared to Celine Dions and Madonnas of this world. But I'm writing this review for Ecto, and here different rules apply. So I think Jill can be best described as Ecto-lite, or perhaps Ecto-mainstream. And I hasten to explain there is no criticism implied here; admittedly this could be a turnoff for some—but for others it might well be the selling point. As for me, I always leave some room in my collection for well-crafted, enjoyable music that doesn't set out to impress, challenge or educate me but is content to simply be my friend. This is where the absence of Moving will fit. (afries@zip.com.au)

"Louisiana lover" has a catchy groove, and other songs remind me variously of early Joni Mitchell, early quirky Jane Siberry, early Sarah McLachlan, a journey I'm happy to take with Jill Cohn's strong, pretty voice. I can't play the first song on this disc and "instead of the innocent" is too didactic for my tastes, but I like all the rest of this album quite a lot. (Neile)


Beautiful I Love You

Release info:

2011

Availability:

See Jill Cohn's site

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Jill Cohn—vocals, backing vocals, acoustic guitar, high-strung acoustic guitar, Rhodes, glockenspiel, keys, loops

Guest artists:

Dave Sampson—baritone guitar (1, 2); lead guitar (2); 12-string guitar (2, 10); electric guitar (3, 4, 6, 10); slide guitar (3), high-strung slide guitar (8); ebow (10); dobrow (11)
Greg Fulton—wurlitzer
Marcus Blake—bass (2, 3, 4, 9, 10)
Michael Barsimanto—drums (2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 10)
Gawain Mathews—acoustic guitar (5, 6); banjo, banjo snare (5); nylon-string guitar (9); accordion (11)
Elizabeth Carpenter, Mary Lydia Ryan—backing vocals (6)
Brady Milliard-Kish—acoustic bass (6, 7, 8, 11)

Produced by:

Jill Cohn and Martin Feveyear

Comments:

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. (stjarnell@yahoo.com)


Thanks to Andrew Fries and Anna Maria Stjärnell for work on this entry.

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Entry last updated 2015-05-09 16:37:10.
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