Best known as a founding member and frontman of the Fresh & Onlys, and the creative mastermind behind Magic Trick, Tim Cohen has quietly developed a reputation for being a critically applauded yet somewhat unheralded songwriter. Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site for a bit you may know that 2016 has been extremely busy for Cohen as he spent time touring both with Magic Trick and Fresh and Onlys, splitting time between touring and a domestic life with his partner and newborn daughter and working on Magic Trick’s fourth album Other Man’s Blues, which was released earlier this year. And you may recall that I wrote about Other Man’s Blues‘ first single “First Thought,” a shuffling and twangy country blues that nods at psych rock and gospel while sounding as though it could have been released somewhere between 1972-1975. Lyrically, the song dealt with self-doubt, uncertainty and the acceptance of both — but with a wry, mischievous wit.
Cohen also managed to find the time to write his solo debut Luck Man which was written and recorded in his attic and El Studio after a recent relocation to San Francisco, a city he once called home several years before. Much like his previously released material with the Fresh and Onlys , Cohen’s material under his own name is deeply influenced by personal experience as a delivery driver, his own daily travels and Van Morrison‘s Veedon Fleece; however, unlike other songwriters Cohen tends to eschew focusing on the prototypical overarching topics such as love, hope and despair to focus on quietly complex and fully fleshed characters with detailed backstories, failed dreams, dashed hopes and perseverance through it all. As Cohen mentions in press notes “I like to think I’m leaving bits of wisdom behind, but I don’t possess the wisdom for longer than it takes to make a song. I inherit it momentarily, write it down, attach a melody that fits the words in rhythm, and then record it.”
“John Hughes” the first single off Luck Man is a warm and jangling bit of guitar pop that reveals a narrator, who possess a deeply questioning and uncertainty anxiety about himself, his talents and even his place in the world — and Cohen does so with a novelist’s attention to psychological detail, as he captures his narrator’s innermost thoughts with an unflinching yet empathetic honesty.
Look for the album on January 20, 2016 through Sinderlyn Records.