Although the hit “Walking in Memphis” is the song title that ultimately became his calling card - earning this artist Grammy nominations for “Song of the Year” and “Best Pop Vocal” in 1992 on the heels of his Grammy win the previous year as “Best New Artist” - Marc Cohn has built a career with longevity thanks to the depth of his songwriting ability and the soulfulness of his distinctive voice.
Other early hits, such as “Silver Thunderbird” and the popular lover’s tune “True Companion,” solidified Cohn as a songwriter with a gift for storytelling and earned him wide respect from the host of artists he has worked with throughout his career, most notably Jackson Brown, Shawn Colvin, Suzanne Vega and Bonnie Raitt.
Cohn will appear in Hamilton on Jan. 17, in a concert presented by the Bitterroot Performing Arts Council – its third offering in the 2014-15 season.
Despite his early successes, Cohn stepped away from songwriting for a time until an unlikely event changed everything.
In 2005, while driving back to his hotel with his band and tour manager after a show in Denver, Cohn was shot in the head by a carjacker. Although the bullet had to be removed from his left temple, it miraculously missed penetrating his skull by a centimeter, causing little physical damage and allowing him to be released from the hospital the next day.
After working through a bout with post traumatic stress syndrome, Cohn released one of his most critically acclaimed records to date, “Join The Parade,” in 2007 and followed it with more than 150 shows across the country - a striking symbol of his continued relevance.
Along with collaborating producer and fellow Grammy-winning artist John Leaventhal, in 2010 Cohn released of “Listening Booth,” a tribute to the 1970s dawn of the singer-songwriter era, in which Leaventhal produced and performed on guitar.
The simplicity of the arrangements of popular music of that time, including classic tunes such as Cat Stevens’ “Wild World,” Paul Simon’s “Only Living Boy in New York,” and Bread’s “Make It With You” coupled with the laid-back bluesy feel of the album, allow Cohn to highlight his skill as an artist.
“It seemed like such a natural progression for me to do a record like this because, if you’ve been following my records from my first single, I have been paying tribute to musicians through my writing all along, from Al Green to Elvis to Levon Helm to Charlie Christian,” he said. “It’s really been a touchstone for me. Now I’m just repaying a debt of gratitude to the artists who’ve changed my life and taught me how to do what I do.”
The Bitterroot Performing Arts Council season continues in February with internationally renowned seven piece band, Pokey LaFarge.
For tickets, visit www.bitterrootperformingart.org, or call 406-363-7946.