Perhaps the most evocative yet challenging task of any blues musician is trying to convey an emotion through an instrument. Whether that’s through a voice, a guitar or a saxophone, the requirement to connect with and move the audience remains the same.
This might be one reason why the general consensus about blues is that it isn’t something you do, but something you feel. That makes singer-songwriter Lindsey Cohen’s case even more impressive. At just 17 years old, she’s somehow managed to combine a deeply resonating sadness with an energetic innocence through her lyrics and raspy vocals.
Carved from the urban experiences of New York City, Cohen’s songs deal with certain anxieties that are not all that foreign to most young-adults her age — relationships, shyness, finding one’s individuality. Yet, what’s exceptional about her work isn’t what she writes about, rather how she writes about them. For a moment, listening to Cohen’s songs feels as if she is an older women commenting on her life from years ago with a sense of nostalgia that anyone can relate to.
Although, Cohen’s first EP “Grace Under Pressure” is expected to be released sometime in January 2014, many of her performances can be found on YouTube. A personal favorite of mine is her cover of The Black Key’s “Little Black Submarine” where she’s clearly found a lot of inspiration. In “Stranger,” over a minimalist instrumentation, Cohen discusses how quickly the person you love turns into the person you no longer know. And in “Speechless” she notches the rhythm up and delivers an Ingrid-Michelson like ode to feeling out of place.
Cohen’s been a favorite over at Arlene’s Grocery on Stanton Street in New York and is to perform there again on November 2, 2013 at 8 pm. The tickets are moderately priced at $10.00, and Cohen’s performance is worth every penny. Even more, having a chance to see what’s in store for the future of pop-rock-blues is worth double.
Check back next week when Ben reviews the show!
Ben Rader can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.