Thursday, December 6, 2012

Photo journal of "by hand" album release concert

Our "by hand" album release concert at the Old Church in Portland was a fantastic, fun experience!  All photos in this post are by Portland photographer Julie Keefe. We are so happy she was there to document the proceedings!

Here is Stephen Cohen on acoustic guitar and Rich Hinrichsen on double bass.

The Old Church has such perfect concert hall acoustics that Stephen was able to sing and play his acoustic guitar totally unplugged, and Rich was able to play double bass and piano unplugged as well.

It was a big thrill for Stephen and Rich to have Stephen's brother Jeremy come up from Berkeley, California to sit in with the WALKING WILLOWS on electric bass and clarinet. Jeremy has played bass on songs in Stephen's albums in the past, including Thomas and Grandfather, on Human Voices, (the 2nd album by the Tree People), and Mr. Knickerbocker on Stephen's children's album, Here Comes the Band.  His live musical presence was much appreciated by all!

Jeremy played Stephen's little guitar on "Let's All Root for the Home Team".
Rich on piano. Rich played piano on several songs, including "Mad Waltz", "Thomas" and "Morning Song". 

Rich, after he did a beautiful piano solo piece called "Twins".
Stephen did 3 original solo pieces on cigar box guitar: "Ride the Train", "Red Tailed Hawk" and "Running Falls".
The cigar box guitar has become a great hit with concert audiences for Stephen. Here he is showing his cigar box guitar to longtime family friend Micheal Prager after the show.
Jen Harrison, who played French Horn on 1 hit song and Walking willow tree on the by hand album, was able to get to the Old Church in time, after an earlier performance that evening with the symphony, to help close our concert by playing beautifully on those 2 songs and making wonderful elephant music on The Elephant Walk as well.
Jeremy added clarinet parts to The Elephant Walk and Walking willow tree.
Here we are on our closing song, Walking willow tree, with Kate singing  her "Walking willow, willow tree, walking willow" part from the album. This was a concert that we enjoyed on so many levels. We remember it fondly!
After the show: concert attendees Sue and John, with Kate.
Rich after the show with a contingent of  friends from his high school days, who came all the way from Longview, Washington to attend the concert.
Tony Coulter, who hosts a radio show broadcast by WFMU in New York, was in attendance. Here Stephen is showing him a vinyl single of 2 of his songs that was released by Ethbo Music of London a few years back. Recently Tony played 2 songs from the by hand album and 2 songs from Stephen's real life and fiction album on his show.

Stephen showing off his guitar string bracelet, which was made "by hand" by Portland metal artist Kristin Shiga. Kristin elaborated on the original concept by Stephen to create a real work of art. Kristin was unable to attend the concert because of a bad case of the flu, but her one of kind bracelet was in attendance.


Here is the by hand album cover (photo by Kristin Shiga). We are very happy with the album and very happy with the album release concert! If you were not able to attend the concert and do not have a new album, you can order one from Stephen at or you can preview and order it on iTunes.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

great review and concert preview in the Portland Mercury

Staff Pick Readers Pick Up & Coming

The Walking Willows 

When: Sun., Nov. 4, 8 p.m.
Price: $10
Stephen Cohen's old group, the Eugene-based psychedelic folk band the Tree People, didn't garner a ton of attention during their initial stint, but they were posthumously discovered by record collectors worldwide and eventually had their 1979 and 1984 albums reissued. Now Cohen's new band, the Walking Willows, have a record that should similarly delight record collectors and fans of off-the-beaten-path folk. By Hand is a sparse, playful collection of songs performed by Cohen and double bassist Rich Hinrichsen, and they're performed with clarity, precision, and vibrant humor, as on "1 Hit Song" and "Mathematics." There's also some good old-fashioned, rain-sodden Oregon weirdness, and the result is a unique, entrancing folk record that doesn't sound like anything you've heard before. NED LANNAMANN

The Old Church

Sunday, October 28, 2012

nice review of new album in from Canada

Home of François Couture's music journalism and activism.


2012-10-23: The Walking Willows

Journal d'écoute / Listening Diary 
THE WALKING WILLOWS / By Hand (3 handed productions)
L’aventure des Tree People s’est arrêtée en mars 2011, avec le départ du flûtiste Jeff Stier. L’auteur-compositeur-interprète/guitariste Stephen Cohen et son fidèle contrebassiste Rich Hinrichsen ont décidé de poursuivre sous un autre nom, The Walking Willows. Et ce nouveau groupe publiait récemment un premier disque, By Hand, une demi-heure de pur bonheur fait-main. J’y retrouve la folk naïve émerveillée des Tree People, la douce voix de Cohen, les délicates instrumentales – un univers sonore dépouillé mais conséquent, de la chanson pour grands enfants. La flûte me manque à certains endroits, mais pas trop. Certaines chansons, comme “1 hit song” et “Movie lot”, sont de pures merveilles.
 The Tree People’s journey ended in March 2011 with the reitrement of flute player Jeff Stier. Singer-songwriter/guitarist Stephen Cohen and his trusty doublebassist Rich Hinrichsen decided to carry on under a different name, The Walking Willows. And this new duo recently released their debut CD, By Hand, 27 minutes of hand-made delight. The Tree People’s naive folk is still there, and so is Cohen’s sweet voice, and the delicate instrumentals – a stripped down and coherent soundworld, songs for grown-up children. I do miss the flute in some places, but only a little. “1 hit song” and “Movie lot” are fantastic (and fantastically simple) songs.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

"by hand" new album by the WALKING WILLOWS released!

iTunes - Music - By Hand by The Walking Willows 

We are pleased to announce the release of our new album! 

Portland and Seattle album release concerts are scheduled:

The Old Church in Portland at 8 PM on November 4th

A house concert in Seattle, at 9034 45th Avenue NE, Seattle, WA 98115, (overlooking Lake Washington) at 7 PM on November 10th. 

Call Rich at 206-715-2859 for details about the Seattle house concert. 

by hand is up on iTunes!

The WALKING WILLOWS East Coast tour

Our short East Coast tour a great experience. A highlight was having double bass extraordinaire Ritt Henn sit in with us at our New York City performance at Googie's Lounge. Ritt's musical presence allowed Rich to play more piano, with Ritt holding down the double bass parts on pieces such as Thomas, 1 Hit Song, Morning Song and Mad Waltz. We also did, with great success,  a  few pieces , such as Sliding and Tale for 2, with double the double bass. We hope to have Ritt join us again at future East Coast performances!
After NYC we performed at the Finger Lakes region of New York State at Black Eyed Susan Acoustic Cafe (a very nice venue!), and then did a fantastic house concert (another highlight!) at Don Slepian's very interesting ArtMusic Coffee House in the Poconos in Pennsylvania. I hope to have some video from  these performances up soon.

The weekend before our tour I was privileged, along with my wife Kate and so many family members, to be at my nephew Jonathan's Bar Mitzvah, which was a wonderful event! You can see Bar Mitzvah photos at:
My brother Jeremy and I opened the ceremony by doing two Jewish musical pieces on clarinet and guitar:

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Stephen's "Rain House" performance at Project Space in Salem

I did an interactive performance called The Rain House at Project Space, an art event in Salem, Oregon.
The theme was rain, a good theme here in Oregon. I did several rain songs on guitar and cigar box guitar
 and enlisted audience members in playing my original rain, wind, and thunder instruments on the closing piece.
Special thanks go to guest performers Helena and Mark Greathouse, who did a wonderful song with voice
and accordion  complete with raincoat and umbrella,  Lisa Lee, who did a beautiful song about rain with voice and
autoharp, and Lily Gael, who did an experimental rain dance accompanied by me on cigar box guitar. Thank you to Kathy of the Salem Art Associaton for helping to make this performance possible. And special thanks to all the audience members, young and old, who participated!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Stephen's new guitar string bracelet

Custom bracelet for Stephen Cohen (sterling, bronze, ebony, piano key ivory, guitar stringsby Kristin Shiga

I am so pleased to have my new guitar string bracelet! It was custom made by Portland artist and "metal babe" Kristin Shiga. I've had this idea for a guitar string bracelet for awhile, and Kristin was able to take that idea and my original drawings and plans, and create something truly elegant and beautiful. I will be so happy to wear it at performances and other special occasions. I am also planning to use the above photo of the bracelet laying on Kristin's sketches for the cover for the new WALKING WILLOWS album. A working title for that album might be:  "by hand"

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The WALKING WILLOWS in New Mexico!

From the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge website    
Cellist Alison Reynolds sits in a few songs with the WALKING WILLOWS at the Boba Cafe Cabaret in Las Cruses. We love having a  local musician sit in with us. It adds to our touring experience in so many ways. We did two Saturday night shows at the Boba Cafe Cabaret to an attentive and enthusiastic audience. Thanks go out to our presenter, Chris Waggoner, an old high school friend of Rich's. Chris did so much for us, including promoting our performances in Las Cruces tirelessly and  finding  a double bass for Rich to use for the entire tour. We are grateful for renewing some old friendships, and for making many new friends in New Mexico. Another highlight was Rich augmenting the many musical colors he creates with the double bass by playing piano on a few songs in our Las Cruses and Santa Fe performances and playing electric bass on a few songs  in Taos  (thank you Peggy of the Taos Inn for lending us your husband's electric bass in Taos!). All in all, the New Mexico tour was a great experience for us on so many levels! 
We performed at the Adobe Bar at the Taos Inn. There was a wonderful audience of locals as well as Taos visitors in this perfect music venue. We liked it there so much that we stayed in our rooms at the Taos Inn an extra night.  
Here is the sunset over El Dorado from La Tienda, where the Performance Space is located.

The Performance Space is an 
acoustically tuned concert space located
in La Tienda, which is a community of
galleries, restaurants and businesses in the hills outside of Santa Fe.

We appreciated the hospitality extended to us there by our wonderful hosts, Steve Ewers and Destiny Allison. And we were so happy to see
Paul Schmidt and Joe Breza, two friends of Stephen from his 1970's days in New Mexico that he was seeing again for the first time in 38 some years.

After the last concert was done, and Rich was already back in Seattle, Stephen was in New Mexico for one more day. He took a walk, guitar in hand, in the Sevillita National Wildlife Refuge (located in the open spaces south of Albuquerque), stopping along the way to play a few songs under the blue New Mexico sky.

From the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge website.  

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

"Ride the Train": Stephen plays cigar box guitar

While working on a new WALKING WILLOWS album at an all day recording session at Dead Aunt Thelma's Studio in Portland, Oregon, I had filmmaker Billy Miller come in to make a video of me playing my song, "Ride the Train", on my cigar box guitar. I did it in one take, and the audio, recorded by engineer Dean Baskerville, came out so good that we will use it on our new album. My cigar box guitar, custom made by Bobby Bergland of Bobby Taylor guitars in Austin, is fret less and has 3 strings. I use a skeleton in a tuxedo salt shaker for a slide. Ride the Train!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Cistern Symphony is up on Tony Couler's WFMU blog

February 09, 2012