Keyboardist Dave Cohen is one of the most in-demand musicians in all of country music. A quick glance at some of his recent credits on Spotify finds his playing all over recent chart-topping releases by everyone from Florida Georgia Line and Rascal Flatts to Kid Rock, Steven Tyler, and countless others. Cohen was also recently named the Academy of Country Music’s 2017 Keyboard Player of the Year. For these reasons and more, he's our Talent Scout Artist of the Week.
NAME: Dave Cohen
HOMETOWN: Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
MUSICAL TRAINING: I took private lessons (classical) until age 13, then I played in bands. I went to three semesters of Jazz school at Humber College before dropping out to go on the road.
FIRST GIGS: My first paid gigs were with cover bands when I was 15 in Calgary. My first "big boy" gig was with a Canadian country artist named Johnny Reid. I stayed with him for six years. He's a big deal in Canada.
MUSICAL INFLUENCES: Rami Jaffee, Benmont Tench, Larry Goldings, Ricky Peterson, Matt Rollings, and as far as piano/keyboard players go, I can't overstate my love for Bill Evans.
WHAT I’M LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW: Swedish singer/songwriter Tingsek - a brilliant arranger and producer.
MY BIG BREAK: My first big gig in the states was with country singer Joe Nichols. I ended up touring with him for around four years. It was the first time while in Nashville that I could answer the question "Who do you play with?" with an answer that people knew outside of Canada!
LATEST PROJECTS: Chris Young's "Losing Sleep" just wen to #1, Old Dominion's "Written in the Sand" is about to be as well. I've been fortunate to have a steady stream of releases for the past few years.
FAVORITE KEYBOARDS AND WHY? No doubt that I lean on my Nord Stage 3 more than any other piece of gear. I have one in every rig I own. It covers all the bases by itself. I also almost always have either my Prophet-6 or my OB-6 nearby.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU? I've been working pretty heavily on the new Florida Georgia Line record that will be coming out. Jake Owen has some new music that's going to be pretty amazing. I spent a few days in the studio with Ed Sheeran recently - I believe that music is destined for a movie soundtrack...
ADVICE TO THE NEXT GENERATION: I don't know if I have advice for a generation of people, but if I were to say anything it would be for keyboard players that want to work in Nashville to come and hang out! You have to be here to play, and there's always room for one more.