Cohn walking on audience requests
You wouldn't expect a Grammy award-winning artist to invite requests from the audience during his concerts, but singer-songwriter Marc Cohn says he thrives on that kind exchange of energy.
Which means the Musikfest Café in Bethlehem should be ideal for his concert there, 8 p.m. June 7, since few sit more than about 60 feet from the stage.
"I usually prefer small theaters, or any place where the audience is partly visible and right up close," says Cohn. "It makes for a much more personal, intimate show. I like knowing who's out there."
Cohn's bound to be asked to play his best-known hits, like "Walking In Memphis" and "True Companion." But he says he likes to push others he feels are even better, such as "The Things We've Handed Down," a gorgeous tribute to his then as-yet unborn child.
"There's another song of mine called 'Olana,' [as well as] 'She's Becoming Gold.' They're kind of hidden in the record somewhere."
Cohn promises his Bethlehem performance will be "really special.
"I have one musician, Glen Patscha, who I've been playing with for years. He was in Levon Helm's band, founder of a band called Ollabelle." Patscha also played with Sheryl Crow.
"He recommended Chris Bruce, also from Sheryl Crow's band, and this will be the first time I've ever played with Chris for a full show. So, this will be a rehearsal, sound check and concert in one."
Opening for Cohn is Rebecca Pidgeon, wife of writer-director David Mamet, with whom he's traveled "on and off" for years.
"She's better known as an actress, but she's really wonderfully talented. She'll do a set at the start of the show, and later she'll come out and do harmony with me."
This summer, Cohn tours with Mary Chapin-Carpenter. The traveling can be wearing, he says, but it all goes back to that exchange he feeds from.
"I've rarely had a show where I don't feel more energized when it's over than I do when I walked onstage. It's an incredible gift to be able to walk onstage, sing your own music, and have an audience that came to hear music you've created."
Hear the music they love … on request.