Marc Cohn to headline JCC Palo Alto benefit event in February


Marc Cohn, whose “Walking In Memphis” from 1992 is twenty years later still a staple at KFOG and other adult contemporary stations, headlines a benefit event at and for the Oshman Jewish Community Center, Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016. Tickets are a pricey $275, although there are also sponsorships levels (and presumably special seating) for $2,500 and up. The event is announced (via a card in the mail that clarifies that this is the same Marc Cohn six feet over Beale) with corporate sponsors such as Coupon


For comparison sake, jazz guitarist John Pizzareli played last month at the same venue for $40 to $55.


See also, Foreigner recently at Menlo Circus Club, which raised $375K for El Camino Hospital in May.

If you just happen to be a Marc Cohn fan and don’t have $275 you can see him at Livermore Bankhead theatre for $59 a few weeks prior.


2. (the next day) I am sort of tripping on this. From Steve Knopper in the Chicago Tribune, 2011:
The album Cohn put out two years after the shooting, “Join the Parade,” is one of his best, with poignant references to a devastated New Orleans — “Dance Back from the Grave” — mixed with nostalgic remembrances of inspirational musicians — “Listening to Levon,” named for the Band’s Levon Helm, and “The Calling (Ghost of Charlie Christian).” A phone discussion of Cohn’s voice leads to a recollection of one of his most memorable lines, from his 1991 radio breakthrough “Walking In Memphis.” The lyrics deal with a Jewish gospel-music-lover meeting a devout pianist who asks him, “Are you a Christian child?”; the singer responds, dramatically, “Ma’am, I am tonight.”

“It’s 100 percent autobiographical,” says Cohn, who is Jewish. “The moment I wrote it, I had no idea I was writing a hit, but I knew I was writing something that deeply defined so many facets of me — my conflicting feelings about religion, about my own state, my humor about it, my acceptance about everybody in terms of what they believe. … It’s not a religious thing for me, it’s just deeply moving. And I guess that’s all in that line.

“It’s so funny — people often think that I’m Christian or born-again, from not only that song, but others,” he says. “In a way, I like that. There’s nothing clear about what I’m writing, in terms of spirituality. But to me, that line could have only been written by a Jew. It’s such a Jewish line, and I love that.”

3. I didn’t realize, until reading the fairly extensive wikipedia entry on “walking in memphis” that there is a Cher version (plus Lonestar, whose country version went as high on those charts as the original went on the mainstream charts, Top 10).  Frankly, I only watched half of this, two minutes, but it made me think about Jim Jarmusch “Mystery Train”(and then as  I write that Greil Marcus) as the song itself.


To the extent it has “borrowed interest” and name-checks Al Green, Elvis, W.C Handy, it reminds me of Mary Lou Lord “His Indie World” which namechecks Superchunk and Huggy Bear.

It says he took a treck to Mississippi to visit Murial Wilkins (which reminds me of Malcolm Welbourne pka Papa Mali telling me about going up to North Mississippi to visit Jessie Mae Hemphill. Also, I’m thinking of my own brief experience managing  Roy Tyler and New Directions a leaving member of Gospel Hummingbirds and are respective embodiments of ethnic or cultural cliches (me, in a borrowed Lexus, taking him to be interviewed at KFJC, which also in Plastic Alto, calls to mind Tom Friedman, which I’ve never read).



The opening scene of Jim Jarmusch “Mystery Train” to me is more interesting than Marc Cohn’s 1991 hit — I distinctly remember the other-worldliness of sitting in the dark, in my indie world, 1991 a rainy Sunday matinee in San Francisco with Carrie Moulton. “far from yokohama” which


train train

jumpcuts to this spring (and we rode-tripped, Terry my Terry and I, in our Honda, to install art at the Wing Luke, a Jew in a town named for an Indian Chief channelling Philipino consciousness into a Chinese museum, but what I’m getting to is Mama’s Mexican Kitchen, in Belltown, Second Avenue, and it’s Elvis Room.

5. And also, I saw, for comparison sake, David Krakauer the worlds leading klezmer musician at First Methodist Christian Church in Palo Alto on Shabbat and recently Chris Isaak featuring Hershel Yatovitz, who told me of his sojourn in Memphis and Sun Studios (with Cowboy Jack Clement)



Mark with a K not C Weiss not Cohen or Cohn, in the Elvis Room by John Liddicoat

About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player, and blogger; he also sang in local choir, fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32 Reads 'Howl' and owns a couple musical instruments he cannot play
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