Scene & Heard

Cohn enjoying ‘new life’ on latest tour

Robert Wynia leads The Floaters during a raucous set recently. Peter Cornett, the band’s co-founder, has struck out on his own and hopes to perform around the area. Bradley Cook/Special to The Chronicle

COTTAGE GROVE – Jill Cohn couldn’t be happier about the way her new CD came out. ”Balanced on the Rail,” which was released less than a year ago, was produced by Malcolm Burn, whose long list of distinguished credits include working alongside Bob Dylan and Emmylou Harris.
”It’s my 12th record, and I just love the way it turned out,” said Cohn, a critically acclaimed indie folk singer-songwriter who is playing Sunday night, Dec. 1, at the Cottage Events Venue. The show starts at 7:30 p.m.
”It really breathed new life into my career. It still feels good to get out and perform … I love playing music,” she said.
As for teaming up with someone of Burn’s stature, she said the third time truly was the charm.
”I had worked with him on an EP and a prior record, but this time was unique, because I brought him to my hometown,” Cohn explained. ”It was my third time working with him, so I felt more relaxed.
”Before, it had been whatever Malcolm wants, Malcolm gets. I was more involved this time, and it felt good to take more of a creative role. … It felt like true collaboration on all fronts.”
Cohn has shared the stage with the likes of Dave Matthews, Jewel and Loudon Wainwright. She said it’s a big thrill to play an opening act for her musical heroes.
”I opened two nights for Shawn Mullins this summer. I’m a big fan of his and I love his music and songwriting,” Cohn said. ”Yeah, those two nights in August were the two best days of the year for me.”
Cohn, who played here last December, said she has known Kim Still, the Cottage Events Venue proprietor, for many years.
”I worked with her at the Eugene Saturday Market. She was the music coordinator,” Cohn said. ”I just adore her venue, and I’m excited about getting to play there again.”
* * *
Peter Cornett helped assemble a mega-popular rock band once before … who’s to say that it won’t happen again?
It’s certainly possible, now that he’s back in the talent-rich Eugene area.
Cornett, the original drummer and a founding member of Floater, spent four years in Rockaway Beach before heading home to Eugene a couple months ago.
”I wrote tons of music while I was out there,” Cornett said after watching a Floater show at Sessions Music Hall on Saturday, Nov. 2. ”So now I’m doing a solo project called ‘Riverboat.’”
Floater was formed in 1993 by Cornett and Robert Wynia in Eugene. Five years later they moved to Portland, where their popularity blossomed. The Willamette Week’s Best of Portland Readers’ Poll named Floater its Best Local Musician/Musical Group for 2018.
Few bands can match Floater when it comes to having a true-blue, devoted fan base. Many of the Floater fanatics at Sessions said they had attended dozens or even hundreds of shows.
Cornett said he sometimes misses the early days of Floater, when the band was playing garage parties and still cutting its teeth.
”Floater was easy. Rob and I could write nonstop,” Cornett said. ”Now, this is different. When you branch off, you don’t have that connective inspiration. It’s much harder to write on your own without that extra voice to bounce off of.”
It’s easy to see why Floater’s fans keep coming back for more – the band delivers. Their unique sound mixes in a healthy pinch of Pearl Jam and Collective Soul. Their cover of Depeche Mode’s ”Personal Jesus” was one to remember.
Cornett said he enjoyed the show, and didn’t rule out ”floating” again.
”I left due to irreconcilable differences,” Cornett said. ”We could definitely all work together again.”
* * *
Charming Disaster, the folk-noir duo that sings murder ballads and love songs about death, crime and the paranormal, by all accounts ”killed it” in front of a packed house at the Brewstation on Sunday afternoon, Nov. 17.
The band has been promoting its just-released third album, ”Spells + Rituals,” which features songs about poison, witches, monsters and the end of the world.



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