Best known for his hit ballad “Walking in Memphis,” Marc Cohn has been called one of his generation’s most compelling singer-songwriters. Following on his sold out 2016 show in Livermore, he returns to the Bankhead Theater on Friday evening, Jan. 19, for a single performance with special guests the legendary gospel group Blind Boys of Alabama. As with a number of other shows at the Bankhead this year, tickets for this show are already nearly sold out.
A natural storyteller with the precision of a brilliant tunesmith and the passion of a great soul man, Cohn has released a half dozen recordings since “Walking in Memphis” off his debut album won him a Grammy Award in 1991. Able to balance the exuberant with the poignant, and distill universal truths from real life tales, TIME magazine praised Cohn as “one of the honest, emotional voices we need in this decade.”
According to Cohn, he has been obsessed with pop music for as long as he can remember. He grew up hearing his older brother’s band rehearsing songs by the Beatles, Ray Charles and the artists of Motown, and came of age during the 1970s, when singer-songwriters dominated the airwaves with lyrics about life experiences he was just coming to understand. Their songs resonated with him then and continue to influence and inspire his soulful sound and style. Cohn sang with a band through high school and experimented with songwriting before heading to Oberlin College where he taught himself to play piano. He transferred to UCLA and eventually began to play in local venues building up a loyal following. Over the course of his career, Cohn has recorded with many of the legends of that earlier era including James Taylor, Bonnie Raitt, David Crosby, and Graham Nash. His most recent album, “Careful What You Dream: Lost Songs and Rarities,” an anniversary collection of demos written and recorded more than 25 years ago, was released in 2016.
Cohn will be joined in Livermore by The Blind Boys of Alabama, whose pioneering modern style transcends race and genre and has inspired fans for more than seven decades. Their music captures a singular spirt that pays tribute to their musical traditions, while sounding as modern and vital as ever. The song “Let My Mother Live” off their recently released album “Almost Home” was just nominated for the Grammy Award for Best American Roots Performance. A reflection on the lifelong relationship between Blind Boy’s group leader Jimmy Carter and his mother, the song was co-written by Carter, Cohn, and John Leventhal.
Whether singing his own songs or the creatively re-shaped songs of others, Cohn’s ability to speak straight to the heart of his audience is unmatched. Together on the intimate Bankhead theater stage, Marc Cohn and The Blind Boys of Alabama will share music that has stood the test of time, as well as new songs sure to remain audience favorites for decades to come.
Event: Marc Cohn with special guests The Blind Boys of Alabama
Date/Time: Friday, January 19, 2018 at 8:00 pm
Venue: Bankhead Theater, 2400 First Street, Livermore
Price: $60-$110 regular, $17 students and active military personnel
Tickets: visit lvpac.org or call 925-383-6800