Q&A: Jill Cohn, singer/songwriter

Jill Cohn



Singer/songwriter Jill Cohn returns to Grand Junction with the Jill Cohn Trio to perform Saturday, Sept. 21, in the Radio Room at KAFM 88.1, 1310 Ute Ave.

Local musician Will Whalen will open the show at 7:30 p.m.

Cohn has an easy-listening folk sound and is best known for her diverse styling on albums that feature songs about life.

She was a finalist in the 1999 Lilith Fair National Talent Search in Seattle.

Cohn is touring to promote her 2012 album “Beautiful I Love You” but has another release due in November.

Tickets to hear Whalen and Cohn, along with her band of guitarist Dave Sampson and bassist Keith Waters, cost $10 in advance at 241-8801 ext. 223, online at kafmradio.org, or $12 at the door, which opens at 7 p.m.

In advance of her Grand Junction show, Cohn talked about her style of song writing, her move from Seattle to Northern California and why she’s excited to perform at the Radio Room.

Melinda Mawdsley: Talk about your song-writing style and the source of inspiration for your pieces.

Jill Cohn: It’s always different for me. Mostly, I write from my own personal experiences, and I try to have an eye for how I can take a personal experience and make it universal and relatable. The whole reason for art is to connect with other people and connect with the audience. Every song comes out different and every song comes to me in a different way. It’s hard to put my finger on it.

Mawdsley: Tell me about the album “Beautiful I Love You.”

Cohn: We took a lot of those songs and played them in concerts before recording it. It was nice. The songs had a chance to evolve a little bit in the live spectrum. We kept the arrangements sparse because I wanted to have a record true to what we do live.

Mawdsley: How long did it take to finally make it?

Cohn: Well, the record took almost three years. It was one of those releases that I wasn’t really sure if I was going to put out. I relocated from Seattle to Northern California during the process of this recording and moving was such an upheaval. I would just do some recording when I was up in Seattle or in L.A. or home in San Francisco. I would say the writing was over a two- or three-year period, but the actual recording was really quick, six months, maybe a couple months, but because I had been in transition, finances were kind of an issue, so we actually did a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to finish the record.

Mawdsley: When did you move to Northern California?

Cohn: Kind of like 2010, 2011. I was really living in both Northern California and Seattle for the first 2 1/2 years before making the move. I was going back and forth a lot.

Mawdsley: Why did you move?

Cohn: I had met Dave our guitar player, so he was here. I was just thinking I needed a change of pace, so that was part of it, too. I really, really miss Seattle. I think I’ll always identify with being a Seattle songwriter. I think a lot of that is reflected in my music. Almost every song in “Beautiful I Love You” has a move. There are good things (about moves) and things you wish were different. Every song has that ying and yang, so to speak, about life experiences. For me, going through this move was huge and brought to the forefront how everything in life has this dualistic nature. It’s one of the essential themes throughout the whole record.

Mawdsley: What’s the Seattle music scene like now?

Cohn: It’s always been really eclectic, so that’s what’s really cool about the Seattle scene. There’s always been really interesting music coming out of Seattle. It’s a great place to be artistically. When I first moved there in 1996 there was live music on every corner. Grunge was just kind of coming to a close so people were seeking a softer sound.

Mawdsley: You’ve released nine albums correct?

Cohn: Nine. I just got done doing a retrospective of my career entitled “Cinema,” and I think we’ll have copies for sale at the Radio Room. I’m pretty sure we will. The CD isn’t officially released until November, but I think we’ll have copies.

Mawdsley: You’ve played here before, correct?

Cohn: Yeah. I love Colorado, and Grand Junction is one of my favorite places to be. We’ve played on KAFM Radio many times and always thought it’d be so much fun to do a gig at the Radio Room. It’ll be a chance for people not familiar with our music to come check us out, and we’ll be supporting KAFM. I know a portion of the proceeds from the show will go to benefit the station to keep it going. It’s exciting to give back to the radio station because they’ve been so generous to us.


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