The beginning of the song “Four Long Years” warns us that the folky-funky group The Nathans will be focusing on a scary theme: four more years of Donald Trump’s presidency. They sing with a psychedelic-rock sound, declaring that it “feels like we’ll never recover … there’s terror on every shore.”
Written after the last presidential election by singer-guitarist Jeff Cohen — who is joined by bandmates Julie Anne Cohen (his daughter) on vocals, Rob Leitner on guitar and vocals, Tom Lenahan on drums and Jonathan Perl on keyboards — the song expresses anger about our president that resonates today. Certainly many of us are concerned that Trump worsened the health care crisis by initially dismissing the pandemic as something under control.
Bassist Rob Norris joins the band on this track. He is a member of The Bongos, whose March 20 concert at the Outpost in the Burbs in Montclair was postponed because of the pandemic. Norris also plays with the bands Tulula!, OmU and Blue Paradox. He is recording his second album with Tulula! and asks that fans support the group by listening to its album, Singing Songs in the Dark, played loud; visit tulula.bandcamp.com/releases.
Both Cohen and Norris hail from the Hudson Valley in New York, nestled in beauty and surrounded by many remarkable area musicians.
The Nathans were formed in 2014 by Cohen and Leitner. “We discovered that both our immigrant grandfathers were named Nathan; to pay homage to them, and all our immigrant ancestors, we named our band The Nathans,” said Cohen.
Their 2015 debut album, Up the Hill, reflects the band’s eclectic style with rock, folk, jazz, blues and country influences. Their new material also includes bossa nova, calypso and reggae; it will be recorded when this crisis is over.
Cohen studied with Art Garfunkel and is a founding member of the 1970s band Trilogy. He released two earlier albums, Summer’s Going By and Better Than New.
Leitner performs in another Hudson Valley band with his ex-wife, called Me & My Ex. Lenahan played for the New York City band, The Suspects.
Stephen Jacobs does not appear in the video, but is a band member and also the frontman/songwriter of The Dirty Sock Funtime Band.
To buy Up on the Hill, visit jeffcohen.bandcamp.com.
NJArts.net’s Songs to See Us Through series is designed to spotlight songs relevant to the coronavirus crisis and encourage readers to support the artists who made them (and won’t be able to generate income via concerts at this time). Click here for links to all songs in the series.
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