As long as people have put words to music, there have been love songs in the world. They represent the most common emotion that binds us all together as humans and they can express every step of a relationship's journey: the ups and downs, the sex, the drama, the joy and frustration, the first blush and the breakup.
Singer/songwriter Eddie Cohn is just one example of an artist who is not immune to the allure of a well-crafted love song, having studied the work of other artists and exploring similar themes in his own work. All of which was simply building up to the raw, heartfelt emotion that he brings to his latest album Guarantee Me Love.
"It's a bit of a surprise to me, too," he says of writing the songs for this new release. "I know firsthand how it's not so simple anymore: being with someone and being in love with someone is work. At the same time, it's work that all of us really want to do. We all want to find true love. Our hearts are all craving it. So I wanted to make a record that, while is very personal, is also something everyone can connect with."
That feeling of tenderness and candidness prevails on this, Cohn's third full-length. Not only through his unfettered lyrics "I remember when I felt lost/you wrapped me in shade/every night I want you beside me/then today I woke up with a goddamn mistake/think I'm gonna run far away/won't you guarantee me love"), but also his performances on the album. His voice, always one of his strengths, feels more present than ever. It feels like he's in the room with you, pleading, cajoling, and enticing with each line. The cracks are present around the edges, but they only add to the sentiments within.
The songs continue to resonate through the strength of their arrangements. Key to that was the sturdy work of his longtime drummer Adam Gust, but Cohn also wanted to experiment as well. Inspired by albums like Beck's Sea Change and Other Lives' Tamer Animals, he incorporated a lush, almost cinematic backdrop of strings to mesh with his guitar, keyboards, and vocals. To bring that to life, he called on Phil Peterson, a Seattle-based cellist and arranger who added lovely arrangements and texture to almost all the tracks on Guarantee.
Another key player in the process was producer Dan Silver, a renowned musician from L.A. and founding member of the alt-rock band Standing Shadows. According to Cohn, Silver helped realize the driving urgency of "Help Me Feel Something," the sultry pulse of "Dreaming of You," and the no-holds-barred rocker "Soul Fix."
"It was a relief to have the right man for the job," Cohn says of Silver's influence on the album. "I met Dan three years ago at SXSW. We kept bumping into each other at parties and shows in LA. We also found out we're both from Ohio and we love the same bands. It felt like a great marriage. We formed a great musical connection. It was a great process."
The next step is to bring the music to the world. Guarantee Me Love will be released towards the spring or summer of 2014, but Cohn is ready to give people small tastes of the full album. His plans are to release a single or two, videos, and remixes, and even some EPs featuring stripped down versions of the songs on Guarantee.
"In our ADD world, people don't sit through full albums anymore," Cohn says, "I want to enjoy the process of getting it heard and take my time with it. Let it naturally unfold."
Cohn is gearing up to set a Kickstarter campaign in motion so he can tour the U.S. during the coming year and, as he puts it, "find people that will gravitate towards the music."
And to hear Cohn talk about Guarantee Me Love, it's with the same sense of wonder, pride, fear and anticipation of someone entering into a new relationship, apropos sentiments considering the theme of the music within.