Last year, Jill Cohn wasn’t thinking about writing music.
She had just gotten out of a seven-year relationship that saw her pick up and move from Seattle to Colorado. The last thing on her mind was resuming a touring schedule or creating new songs.
“I didn’t want to write a break-up record,” she said in a phone interview from Washington. “I was focused on healing my broken heart but then things started getting nice in my life. I was feeling happy again and having a more positive outlook on my future and I started writing songs.”
She took those songs with her on tour, mostly traveling between Washington and Oregon, getting back into the groove.
“Two songs came down the pike. One called ‘Possibilities’ and one called ‘Legends’ and I thought I was ready to make another record,’” Cohn said.
The result was Balanced on the Rail, a record Cohn will be releasing in Cottage Grove on Dec. 21 during a Winter Solstice Concert at the Cottage Grove Events Venue.
While Cohn’s promotional material describes her music as paying homage to Joni Mitchell, Sarah McLachlan and the Counting Crows, she says it’s not that cut and dry.
“The hardest thing in the world to do is describe your own music,” she said. “I’m always flattered when I have those comparisons to Joni Mitchell or Counting Crows because that’s the music I cut my creative cloth from. More than anything though, I’m a folk artist and a songwriter. I hope to contribute my experience with something that matters to people and that they can connect with.”
Cohn started connecting with people through music in her home city of Seattle where she got her footing as a musician.
“I started writing songs and put out my first CD and then I realized, you know, playing shows was going to be the way to get that out to people,” she said. “I love traveling so I started doing small trips. At first it was just here and there and then it became my full-time occupation.”
Eventually, Cohn landed opening gigs for Jewel and Dave Matthews. In 2001, she was a top five finalist in the Lilith Fair Talent Search and since 1999, has released 12 independent releases — some appearing on popular television shows.
When Cohn finally felt ready to make music again after her break-up, she contacted her old band in Seattle and the group recorded the record over the span of six days.
Now, Cohn is taking the record on tour.
“Even now when everyone has hundred of songs on their phone, live shows are important. I just connect with an audience,” she said.
The 7 p.m., Dec. 21 show is family-friendly, according to Cohen and is priced on a sliding scale. Entry starts between $5 and $10 per person.
“I’m super excited about it and I’m excited to do a Solstice concert because not everyone celebrates Christmas or Hanukkah so it’s nice to have a gathering for folks about the season in general,” she said. “It’s all on a sliding scale, whatever folks can afford because of the holiday season and money is tight.”
CDs will also be available for sale during the concert and Cohn’s music can be found online at reverbnation.com/jillcohn.