audiotrack Burning The Daze

reviewed by Jill Hill

Published in Issue No. 13 ~ June, 1998

The ballad, “Already Home,” which is about finding a place in the world that feels like home is graceful, elegant while still managing to be upbeat. And the stunning “Lost You in the Canyon,” again about the terror of California, is a melancholy look at a lost relationship that is deeply soulful. Most of the songs are sad. Singer/ Songwriter Cohn touches some inner sadness, some peculiar angst produced by modern life. The songs are meant to console the listener about the loses inherent in living. Yet, I am unconvinced that “Saints Preserve Us,” a song about a mother’s death that blithely sums up a son’s sorrow with the chorus – “Saints preserve us/ We’re going down/This ship is sinking in the sea/Saints preserve us/And carry us along? For we may be together in eternity “- remotely touches what death brings to a family. And like country singer/songwriters, Cohn is not afraid to overwork a cliche. The success of many country songs is founded on cliches, but an urbane folk sound should have a more thoughtful lyric. Cohn too frequently falls onto shopworn phrasing. And there is a certain derivative quality to the work from the earth tone photos in the CD booklet of Cohn playing guitar in fields of grain(this must be a sign of middle-age) to the distinctive sound of heartache. Burning the Daze has all the indications of a John Leventhal production, who recently won a Grammy for his work with Shawn Colvin. Whether Cohn is served well by this association is left to the listener, but there is a fine line between sad and whine.

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Jill Hill lives with some kids, some dogs, writes, and manages a restaurant where she tries out her new CD's. She listens to a variety of music, from Classical to Blues, but tries to stay away from most rap. In her words: "I am always on the look out for a new band or singer/songwriter that I will like. I like a CD that does not grow old and weary sounding, which mean I don't want buy a CD that can be found on the used CD sale table a month later. One of my favorite CD's is Neal Young's Everyone Knows this is Nowhere. My favorite writer is Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and my favorite novel of his Of Love and Other Demons. X-Files is about the only TV I watch. I do not watch sitcoms and do not like music inspired by sitcoms. I'd rather listen to a sampled rap version of the Jetsons theme song."