Cohn Ed

Lunch with singer-songwriter Jill Cohn is an unexpectedly happy affair

Just then, the server walks by, and discreetly sweeps away some sprouts that had fallen from Cohn's plate onto the table. Cohn thanks her, then leans close to my tape recorder and helpfully intones: "The waitress came and picked up some sprouts." I like this; a lunch guest who includes helpful third-person narration on the interview tape. "And Jill also salts her salad," Cohn continues into the recorder. "It's something she picked up from her older sister; it's really disgusting."

I've finished my sublime sandwich, and order a cherry cobbler for us to split for dessert. While we wait, Cohn picks at the remnants of her salad, and tells me about the road. Most people I know who must travel for their work claim they hate it, but Cohn insists that it's a source of delight. In branching out from Borders gigs, for instance, she's encountered startling generosity. "In San Luis Obispo," she recalls, "I was supposed to rent this community theater for 50 or 60 bucks, and these people refused to take my money! It was so sweet! I said, 'You guys, you're supposed to take it,' and they said, 'No, we're supposed to support the arts.'"

And the drive itself has its scenic joys. "I love the Four Corners, and I also love the Northern California coast. And there's this one expanse of drive, from Spanish Fork, Utah, where you can just see for miles, and I have this one tape that I always put on when I go through there. U2's Joshua Tree. That's my music for going into the canyonlands."

All at once Cohn leans close to her salad, and plucks something out -- she's found a hair. I point out that it's a long black hair, and in all likelihood one of hers. She nods, laughs, leans close to my recorder, and speaks once again for its benefit:

"We found a hair in the salad, but we think it's Jill's."

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