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Cohn to play Vilar Center at Beaver Creek

Charlie Owen
Vail, CO, Colorado
Special to the Daily
ALL |

BEAVER CREEK, Colorado ” Everyone expects Superman to block bullets.

Marc Cohn doesn’t have any super powers, but he blocked a bullet with his head ” and lived to tell about it.

In 2005 he was attacked in his vehicle by a car-jacker while driving to his hotel after playing a show in Denver. The assailant shot Cohn in the head, where the bullet got lodged. It was later removed at a Denver hospital.



Cohn took that experience, as well as other tragedies in his life and the world, and found new direction in his career.

Now the Grammy Award-winning musician is on tour again in support of his first studio album in nine years, “Join the Parade.”



This latest leg of his tour started in Seattle and will lead him to Beaver Creek, but not before a show in Denver, where Cohn hasn’t played since that violent summer night two years ago.

“Obviously that carries a lot of weight emotionally,” Cohn said during a phone interview from his tour bus. “I’m really hoping it’s going to be a little bit of a healing thing, too. I’m certainly more anxious than I would be for a normal gig.”

After his show at the Gothic Theater in Denver, Cohn will play a nearly sold-out show in Beaver Creek at the Vilar Performing Arts Center tonight.



Cohn’s absence from the studio stemmed from his family involvement (he has four kids and a new wife, ABC News journalist Elizabeth Vargas) and he lacked record-worthy material, he said.

“The delay (in recording a new album) was mostly because I just didn’t have a group of songs that I felt strongly about. To me the part of the art form that I’m interested in in the music business is the album. I know with the iPod shuffle and everything else that’s not quite as important anymore, but it’s the only thing as an artist I’m really interested in,” Cohn said.

Oh, and that bullet hasn’t sped things up, either.

“Getting shot in the head set me back a little bit but ultimately it was something that opened up the songwriting channels again,” Cohn said.

Whether or not the public absorbs the new album positively is immaterial to Cohn, who said that he believed in the work and knew it needed to be released.

But the wait hasn’t hurt Cohn’s credibility at all. In fact, it might have helped it since “Join the Parade” has been met with mostly positive reviews from fans and critics alike.

“It’s good, it’s mellow. Lyrically it’s very good and musically it’s superior to most albums in this genre. I think it’s definitely better than his last album,” said Tom Robbins, owner of Eagle Valley Music in West Vail.

Even with all of the praise that his new album is getting, there is nothing like seeing him live. At least that’s what Kris Sabel, director of the Vilar Performing Arts Center, has to say about Cohn’s talent. Sabel saw Cohn perform at the Vilar Center just days before the Denver shooting.

“To see him live is a very special thing. I think his CD is great but his performance is really special. He just really draws you in,” Sabel said.

The success of Cohn’s 1991 mega-hit “Walking in Memphis” has led people to assume that’s what he always sounds like. While the song was nominated for a Grammy, it’s also how most people relate to Cohn, whose style of songwriting covers a gambit of meaningful topics and broad melodies, most of which are less radio-friendly than “Memphis.”

One of the best things about seeing Cohn perform live and in an intimate venue such as the Vilar Center is that those who attend the show will get to hear so many other sides of Cohn’s music and not just the Top 40 songs everybody knows, Sabel said.

If that is the case, then the audience is in for a night of musical ups and downs.

The songs on “Join the Parade” were influenced heavily by Hurricane Katrina; Many of the songs on the album deal with the death and destruction that Katrina caused.

Some of the lyrics were pulled from news casts that Cohn was watching on television just after being shot in Denver. But it’s not all sadness and helplessness in Cohn’s music ” many of his songs deal with triumph over adversity and the goodness in humanity.

“It’s not even a matter of being worth the wait,” said Cohn of his new album. “It’s just a piece of work I believe in so I released it.”

If there was ever proof that good can come from tragedy, Cohn has given it to the world with his return to the studio and the road.

High Life writer Charlie Owen can be reached at 748-2939 or cowen@vaildaily.com.


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