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  Dan Cohen, a Nashville-based musician who makes a living backing country artists such as Tracy Byrd and T. Graham Brown, is both a clever songwriter and an accomplished guitarist, and he is intent on demonstrating both talents on his self-titled debut album. On his compositions, Cohen portrays himself as a lovable loser with a taste for similes and metaphors he doesn't mind mixing (one verse of the leadoff track, "Rabbit's Foot," goes,
  "So I wear my soul like alligator skin/Hard as leather with a toothy grin/Stubborn as an anvil, crazy as a clown/But I smile for you when the sun goes down").
He usually seems to be involved, either happily or unhappily, with some woman who is a cut above him socially and intellectually ("You quoted Keats, I quoted Carlin"), and he alternately aspires to raise himself to her level or, more likely, bring her down to his. He also alternates between tuneful ballads and honky tonk rave-ups, and he tosses in three instrumentals that establish his talents as a fingerpicking guitarist. But his least emphasized yet most accessible talent may be his rich, warm tenor, which producer Matt King mikes closely on the ballads, making for a sound somewhat like Jackson Browne, but smoother. That asset may actually help Cohen succeed as a frontman.

American Songwriter : Dan Cohen  by Lesley Jones  [-]

  There’s an under-the-radar musical treasure in Nashville named Dan Cohen. His self-titled debut album has a touch of moody blues, traces of classic country and funky, soulful New Orleans jazz, making it not only a pleasurable listen, but a clever and intricate work of art. Cohen’s impeccable talents on the guitar move with every track (including three instrumental compositions) and his Lyle Lovett-like voice and energetic style are magnetic. On top of that, he’s got a flair for lyrics, “I’ve got two wooden nickels and rabbit’s foot/Livin’ on luck like a small-time crook/Steal a little sun, save it for the rain/Bring it home to mama and I put it in the bank” (“Rabbit’s Foot”). In a nutshell, this album is a perfect mixture of mature and retro styles making it both familiar and edgy.

Music News Nashville: Dan Cohen – Bluebird by ChuckDauphin [-]

 Veteran sideman / musician Dan Cohen has already achieved plenty of milestones in his career. He has played the stage of the heralded Ryman Auditorium, played behind some of the biggest acts in the business, and written with many of the most talented songwriters in Music City. So, with all that, you might expect his latest disc to be a great Country disc.

 Well, you’d be wrong. For all of his ties to Nashville artists and musicians, Cohen isn’t Country. I am not really sure how you would classify him – I guess in the singer / songwriter category. That would probably seem to be the right description. His lyrics are deep and introspective.

 Stylistically, Cohen is all over the map. There’s the uber-dramatic sound of “I Want You,” which scores with its’ TV / Movie-style instrumental arrangement. The lyrics are simply first-rate, as well. “Pennsylvania” is also a highlight, and maybe the most “Country” sounding tune on the album. (Ironic, with a title of one of the northern states, but the track does have a Waylon-esque beat to it) Bluebird is full of many different moods, lyrical connotations, and musical styles, from “Waiting For The Train” to the infectious “Hold On You.” Nashville might be famous for Country Music, but there are plenty of other styles represented in Music City. Dan Cohen is a prime example.

iTunes Album Review - Swamp Rat [-]

  The members of Swamp Rat, the trio of guitarist Dan Cohen, bass player James Cook, and drummer Derek Mixon, take a break from their day jobs, in which they back country stars on tour and in the studio, for this picking session of original material that demonstrates their versatility.
  Of course, they are capable of playing tasty Nashville country material like the lead-off track, "Nose Whistlin' (In a Tizzy)," but they also delight in trying out different genres and mashing them together. Thus, "Klezmer Magic" somehow conflates a klezmer feel with bluegrass, courtesy of Sam Bush's mandolin, and "I'm Leaving at 5" begins with a Latin tone before turning to reggae. Western swing is a particular favorite, and the players travel to Bob Wills territory for "Spankin' It" and "Take Her out of Texas," the latter featuring a vocal by their sometime employer Tracy Byrd. Steve Wariner also sits in to sing "Back on the Farm," and Johnny Neel joins the group for the bluesy closer, "Better Let Go," which would have been an excellent vehicle for Otis Redding. Swamp Rat may be a busman's holiday for three guys who only leave Nashville to go on tour with somebody else, but it's a lot of fun.

No Depression Bluebird Review By Lee Zimmerman

  A journeyman musician of special distinction, Dan Cohen has notched up an impressive resume, having written for such stars as Steve Wariner, Tracy Byrd, Andy Griggs and others. An artist who represents the so-called “other side of Nashville,” both literally and figuratively, he makes his best music when he writes it for himself. Accordingly, Bluebird shows an impressive array of songs and style, from the instantly compelling title track to the jaunty “Don’t Make Me Wait,” the McCartney-esque “Love Is Gone,” and the sweetly sentimental “Shine.”  Any country inclinations aside, Cohen represents himself as a fine pop provocateur, a singer/songwriter with a keen sense of melody and an easy accessibility. A fine support crew -- among them, Brad Jones, Matt King, Jace Everett and Doug Powell, each a superior artist in his own right -- help out, allowing Bluebird to soar to unexpected heights. (

The Tennessean:Dan Cohen, 'Bluebird' and the wonderful, terrible day - by Peter Cooper [-]

  The best thing that ever happened to Dan Cohen? That's easy. "I was driving up from Austin to Kentucky for my dad's birthday and to see Bob Dylan," he says. "It was just me, and my cat was riding with me."
  And that does sound cool. Father-son time is good, Bob Dylan changed culture with his brash songs and vivid language, and cats are fine if you don't have access to a dog. But, wait, that's not the "best thing" part of the story. The best thing happened at 2 a.m. in Arkadelphia, Ark., when Cohen turned a roadside Stuckey's into an open-air establishment.
  "Driving up to see my dad, I'd been drinking," he says. "Somehow, when I stopped in Arkadelphia, I backed into the front window of the Stuckey's and broke it. It didn't just break, it exploded. I got out, opened my door and my empty beer cans clattered to the ground. I looked up and there were four cops there, hands on their hips, smiling." Then came the arrest. The cops were nice enough to give Cohen and his cat some shelter (confined, of course), food and water. And somewhere along in there, Cohen decided it might be a good idea to give the rehab thing another try.
  Stuff has been different since then, and better. Which is why Cohen says the Arkadelphia Stuckey's incident is the best thing that ever happened to him. Things got clear after that. He moved from Austin to Nashville, made more friends, stopped endangering trucker haunts and made music.
  "I had to ask for rides, ask for help, which is something I'm not good at, apparently," he says. "I'm told by reliable sources that this is true. But without being able to drive, I couldn't isolate. Life and music hinges on staying connected. That's where life is, with other people. That's not something I thought I'd be learning at 40 years old."
  Cohen can drive again, but he's staying connected. He's even reaching out. And he's just released "Bluebird," an album filled with lovingly textured, artisan pop songs.
  Recorded before his big arrest, the album takes place far outside the Arkadelphia city limits. It features contributions from frequent collaborator and touring partner Jace Everett — he's the guy who wrote the "Bad Things" song heard in the opening credits of one of those television shows about beautiful rural vampires — singer-songwriter pal Matt King and producer/bass player James Cook.
  Brad Jones mixed the album, which is a showcase for Cohen's strong, dusky voice and for guitar work that is geared to evoke emotional landscapes rather than to impress with speed and precision. Cohen is a superb guitar player, but his playing is in service of his songs, not the other way around.
  That guitar playing was heard in critically hailed bands The Levees and Sons of Fathers, but Cohen is committed to his process as a solo artist.
  "I spent a lot of time being a sideman, and I know how to do that really well," he says. "But there's this whole other side that's humbling and challenging. It's difficult to try to figure out how to do your job at 40. I thought I'd be a little further along in my life at this point."
  Actually, Cohen seems pretty far along. He has made a standout album, one that deserves attention even in this crowded city of music. He understands the virtues of texture and connection, of elegance and edginess.
  This month, he heads to Norway with Everett for the third time in 2014. And he's been playing solo dates in the U.S. since June, navigating his Honda Civic 11,000 miles without incident: No roadside convenience stores have been harmed in the singing of these songs.

Vintage Guitar Magazine - Review by John HeidT

  The cartoon rats on its cover are a humorous representation of the three guys in this band – Dan Cohen (guitar, banjo, vocals), James Cook (bass and vocals), and Derek Mixon (drums), and the tracks include guests like mandolin giant Sam Bush, singer/guitarist, Steve Wariner, vocalist Tracy Byrd, and music veteran Johnny Neel on vocals and keyboards.
  The music is essentially country, but still hard to describe. The instrumental opener “Nose Whistlin’ (In a Tizzy)” sounds like the Buckaroos before Cohen enters with wild, distorted guitar right out of Joe Walsh-era James Gang. And Cook handles the whistling…
  “Back on the Farm” gives Wariner a chance to shine on vocals and a jazzy solo followed by fine fiddle. Cohen gets most of the solos, and he’s certainly a quirky player; at home on the country material, he brings his own twists like the chicken pickin’ mixed backward-tracked soloing on “Twitchy,” or the melody and gorgeous solo on “Lullaby”. “Something Goofy” mixes country and jazz with a killer solo, followed closely by a pedal steel turn by Brook Langton.
  Most of the tracks are instrumentals, while guests handle lead vocals. If you like great playing, mixed with more than a little humor, grab this.