Clearing it up with Cohn
Q: Your fourth album is coming out sometime in 2004-05, can you tell us a little bit about what’s going to be on it; can we expect anything especially different?A: Well, it’s definitely going to have a new producer, someone that I’ve never worked with before. The songs musically are a little bit different. So far they are a little bit more soul-based than singer/songwriter. Other than that I can’t tell you too much because I haven’t started the actual recording yet.Q: On your latest album, the hit “Healing Hands” is considered one of the best on the CD. Why do you think people are so attracted to it?A: I can’t be all that objective about it. I don’t play many of the songs from the third record live, but when I do I play that one. I think it’s a lyric that people can relate to. I think it has a classic sound to it. It could have been written yesterday or 30 years ago.Q: The band, “Teitur” is opening for you at the Vilar Center. The Vilar doesn’t usually have opening bands. Can you tell us why you feel so strongly about having Teitur open for you?A: I’ve never heard him live, but I love his record. My bass player and my drummer played on his record and turned me on to him. I think he made a beautiful record. When I knew he was available for these shows, I wanted to give him as much of an opportunity to play his songs as possible.Q: Is his music a lot different than yours, style wise?A: I don’t think it’s that different. They are strong songs with interesting lyrics. He is influenced by Paul Simon and I am as well. I think the biggest difference is the way we produced our records and the tone of our voices. But if you strip all that away the songs have a lot in common. He sounds like a classic singer/songwriter to me.Q: You have definitely played with many well-known artists, and have been compared to Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan and Paul Simon. In your opinion, who is the best in your business, and who has been your favorite singer/songwriter to perform with?A: Oh gosh well my favorite? I have two. I’ve played live and on record with Bonnie Rait and Jackson Brown. Bonnie came on stage with me and sang “Healing Hands” a few years ago and that was an amazing moment. They are friends of mine but also big big hero’s to me personally and professionally, so to be able to work with them has been amazing.I just sang on Jackson’s last record, hopefully I can find a place for him on my next record. He was just inducted into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame and I sang at his show at the Beacon Theatre. Those are the two that stand out in my mind.As far as the best, James Taylor is definitely another one, James and Paul Simon I think might be the one’s whose music for me has stood the test of time. Bob Dylan is definitely in there, too; there are too many to mention. The minute I start listing them I feel guilty about who I’ve left out.Q: How about Van Morrison?A: Huge, huge, huge.Q: Have you ever had the chance to play with him?A: I’ve never played with him, one of my few idols left that I haven’t met. I’d love to meet Van, although I’ve been told thru various sources that he can be very cantankerous. A lot of people have said regarding Van, “It’s better to love the art and not the artist.”Q: In 1993 you released your second album, “The Rainy Season” and then you disappeared until 1998 when you released album number three, “Burning the Daze”. Why did you take such a break between albums, and what were you up to?A: The break this time is even longer. But in that particular case, there were a lot of personal reasons. My marriage was beginning to break up so that certainly contributed. I’m just not that prolific of a songwriter and I don’t believe in putting out a record just because it’s time. If I don’t have the group of songs that to me sounds like a record I can’t even think about releasing it. Unfortunately I’m one of these artists that have to sort of wait until a fully formed group of songs comes to me. I don’t perform other people’s music, so I have to wait until I have 12, 13 or 14 songs that I think all sound like they belong together, and for me that just happens to take a really long time.Q: A friend was arguing with me about who wrote the famous hit, “Walking in Memphis.” He said it was Paul Simon. Can you please clarify for him that it was you who wrote that song?A: Listen, Paul’s got enough great songs to his credit. I’m not gonna let him steal that one. That’s my song. Your friend lost the bet; he lost the argument. Paul’s got about 100 brilliant songs that he wrote, but “Walking in Memphis” isn’t one of them. VTMarc Cohn plays with Teitur at the Vilar Center in Beaver Creek Saturday, Aug. 21. Tickets are $42. For more information call 845-8497 or visit vilarcenter.org.Interview by Bridget Blackwell
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