The first time I became acquainted with Chase Cohl was, not surprisingly, by stumbling across her Instagram feed, an illustrious collection that ties together good fashion, eclectic quotes from musical greats and an air of carefree, flower child like wanderlust –which happen to be some of my favorite things. So it’s no wonder that when I found out Chase was playing at Imogene & Willie Saturday night, I thought it was at least worth going to give a listen to the woman behind the photos of wild horses, fur coats and acoustic guitars who reminded me of my own gypsy soul.
I walked into Imogene & Willie, which I had never been before, and was embraced by glowing candlelight, the smoky smell of burning sage and what I could best describe felt like an atmosphere of close-knit friends and family, even though I didn’t know that. I often find myself in uncomfortable situations when I go out alone to cover a show, but it took me no time to settle in and feel a cozy warmness and sense of familiarity among the small crowd gathered inside Imogene and Willie (the complimentary homemade hot mulled cider and Bulleit may have helped). Aside from making me feel at home, the warm cabin-esque environment provided a perfect contrast to Cohl’s chillingly beautiful voice while also complimenting her swooning almost small town like charm.
I took a seat Indian style on the floor a few feet from the Canadian native on a bohemian patterned blanket (as the owner of the store encouraged everyone to do). As the show began, it quickly started to feel like just another night sitting in the living room of a friend’s house in East, drinking whiskey, telling stories and listening to music – an intimate affair that has become one of my favorite things to do in Nashville. Aside from her blatantly stunning voice, Cohl had an incredibly developed knack for storytelling, stringing together one song after another, pausing between each tune to take a drink of her own hot toddy and give the song life by painting a picture of what inspired it to the seated group of friends and onlookers. My favorite explanation went along consequently with my favorite song of the night “Blue Eyes” in which Cohl describes getting really drunk and leaving her friend an emotionally driven voicemail, which would eventually be the base for a single on her album. Cohl sings “Pink lips say I won’t hurt you … But every time you turn and walk away I say to myself, this will be the last time, because you can’t trust a man with blue eyes.” Later Cohl described a night in Nashville, which also gave way to inspiration for a song, when she had just moved to the city. “Have you ever been in a city where you don’t know anyone and you make really bad mistakes just because you’re bored?” Yes, yes I have. It’s this charming honesty and relatable spirit that sets Cohl apart and makes her live show feel special. That and the inherent dreaminess she infuses into her folk music that gently touches and soothes the soul, making for perfect medicine for going down into the Nashville winter.
Catch Chase Cohl perform at The 5 Spot tonight with Cory Chisel & The Treasures. She promises a kiss on the mouth to the first ten people to make it to the show. I wouldn’t miss it.