In 2009, I produced a second guitar CD, In the Wood. This collection of nine pieces, with six originals, also includes two classic Scots airs, Hector the Hero and Neil Gow’s Lament, and an old folksong melody, Katie Cruel. The album is dedicated to the memory of my brother, David Cohen.
1. Hector the Hero (J. Scott Skinner) – A beautiful tune I first heard while playing in the sessions around Western Massachusetts.
2. November (Max Cohen) – A solo finger style guitar tune I wrote when living in Northampton, MA. For me, the piece evokes late autumn in New England, hence the name.
3. Katie Cruel / Sarah (Max Cohen) – Katie Cruel is a traditional song that I had been playing with other ensembles. I decided to put my own spin on it, and record it as an instrumental. I sacrilegiously wrote a bridge for it. I’m sure there will be those who will call me a heretic for breaking with tradition, but hey – I thought it was cool. Rick Bausman played percussion and Brian Kerins provided the bass part. Sarah was named in remembrance of my grandmother. It was a tune that was coaxed out with the help of fiddler Donna Hebert.
4. Neil Gow’s Lament (Neil Gow) – Arguably one of the most beautiful melodies ever written. Neil Gow’s Lament is a favorite of fiddlers, but why should they get to have all the fun! Here’s a version for guitar.
5. Late One Afternoon (Max Cohen) – This was the first piece I recorded, and the piece that inspired the album. The birdsong heard on this track was recorded from my back porch.
6. Remembering (Max Cohen) – Written while living in the Pioneer Valley (Western Massachusetts). It was a pleasure to finally record this tune the way I wanted it.
7. Katie Cruel reprise (reprise) – This reprise was recorded under duress. I was in the final stages of putting the album together and suddenly I felt I needed an uptempo piece between Remembering and On The Shoreline. With a deadline hanging over my head, I banged this out in two hours and mixed it that night. This was such a contrast to everything else on the record – many of which took me days to arrange and record. I’m sure there is some kind of lesson about doing what can be achieved when you’re under pressure. I just think I got lucky.
8. On the Shoreline (both Max Cohen) – This is the piece that most reminds my of brother David. He loved to go fishing, and I think he was most at peace when he was on the shoreline casting his line into the water.
Audio samples ©, published 2009, Max Cohen, Cosmic Squirl Music, BMI. All rights reserved.