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West Coast

This spring and summer I had some great studio sessions with Patrick Watson and Howard Bilerman, including a series of sessions with Montreal’s own Adam Cohen. One of those sessions was for Adam’s late great father and my long time idol, Leonard Cohen. I still can’t believe I got to sing on a Leonard Cohen track, even though it hasn’t yet been released. During the summer of 2016 I listened to I’m Your Man and The Future for a few times every week. I still can’t get his voice out of my head.

Molly Sweeney and Patrick Watson

Photo Credit: Howard Bilerman


My first session with Adam was particularly memorable because I didn’t know he was any relation to Leonard Cohen. I knew he was from LA, so I assumed he was a west coast songwriter with a buttery voice (which he most certainly is)…so when Adam sang in his mid range, I told him his voice sounded Leonard Coheny in that register. My compliment was met with silence, and then I got that awful foot-in-mouth feeling. How could I have missed the family resemblance? He must hear that all the time! Overhearing our conversation on the vocal mics, Howard instantly texted me a picture of Adam and Leonard together with a LOL caption from the control room. That was so far my favorite way to start a collaboration.

Molly Sweeney and Adam Cohen

Photo Credit: Howard Bilerman


My biggest regret leaving Montreal when I did was that I wasn’t there to join in the candlelight vigils around the Cohen residence. There’s something really special about mourning a poet, especially one so beloved by an entire city.

So now for the I played my last show in Montreal with my friends Avec Le Soleil Sortant de Sa Bouche and Yoo Doo Right at the end of August, surrounded by friends and Patrick joined us onstage for Floodgates. Less than a month later, I drove a 26′ foot truck out to British Columbia, where I’m building a studio and working on songs for my third album (that’s right, my third one). We drove across Canada with a futon in the back of the truck and camped out at beautiful vistas along the way, nearly lost my two cats in Thunder Bay (turned on the air brakes while taking them on a walk), and our truck got egged by teenagers just outside of Regina. I guess maybe our American license plates might as well have been a bullseye.

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Under the State Trooper’s Radar

I’ve spent the last two years just about in the chair of my production studio, figuring out Protools and testing mics and preamps and trying to get good sounds. Vocal takes, guitar takes, all that stuff…it’s pretty good practice actually, spending that much time on nine songs.

Now, finally, I have some spare time to play other songs and get inspired to write some new ones. I’d been subletting my jamspace for the past year to save money for the recording…now I’ve got it back and I’m playing drums and guitar and jamming with some great musicians. I went through my voice memo recording and took five days to organize them all…there’s an accumulation of 3 years of ideas I haven’t properly gone through.

So my boyfriend Linus has been encouraging me to do Youtube videos, get used to being in front of a video camera. I used to love that stuff when I was younger…my childhood friends Dan and Adam Brown and I used to make tapes of us joking around when I was living back in Michigan. Well, now I’ve got a sweet little production studio and I’m hopefully going to stick to my new years resolution of doing covers of songs by artists I like, and maybe a few of my own tunes. Linus is the cameraman and video editor, I’m the sound engineer. It’s a little sonic and visual tour of the room where I’ve spent the past two years editing and doing takes.

So without further ado, here’s my cover of Bruce Springsteen’s State Trooper, my favorite tune from his album Nebraska. It’s an excellent tune and really fun to play. A little vocal frye and overtones in there for effect.

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