Five albums with Cobra: Micah Schnabel
Article by Ray Cobra, Drawing by Pat Downing
When I think of Columbus and music, lots of things come to mind. In ten years here I have amassed a lot of memories. But the first thing that comes to mind is Micah Schnabel of Two Cow Garage. When I first moved here, I spent the first few months just hanging home and going to the occasional promowest show. Then one night I decided to go have a few drinks at the bar around the corner from my apartment. I walked in, and there was a band playing, a local band—I was instantly a fan. There was something about their brand of punk rock and rock that made me feel at peace, made me feel welcome, made me feel at home. That band was Two Cow Garage.
That night I became a fan/friend of the band. However, there was something more to them that stood out. I didn’t quite figure it out until the next year when Micah Schnabel put out his first solo release. It was him. His lyrics have a way of pulling you in, of hitting home. Micah writes some of the realest lyrics you will hear in music today. Not only that, but he is a storyteller. The way he writes things is unmatched. In the span of one song he can have me smiling and with tears in my eyes all at the same time. When it comes to songwriting, he is hands down my favorite. And he is also my inspiration when I write my poems or short stories. I want to write about real things. I want to help people through my writing. I want to inspire. And I owe this to Micah Schnabel.
It gives me great pleasure to introduce this installment of Five Albums with Cobra. Ladies and Gentlemen, Micah Schnabel:
Julien Baker – Sprained Ankle
The first time Julien played Columbus we got this tape from her. It stayed in the car’s tape player for an entire year. If we were in the car that’s what was playing. It’s beauty and power. It’s unbelievable to me that someone so young could create something so perfectly breathtaking and beautiful. Some are born special, I guess.
Listener – Being Empty/ Being Filled
Dan Smith of the band Listener is one of my favorite writers. The depth and sincerity of his writing hits me in a way that doesn’t happen often. I was working on my last record Your New Norman Rockwell when I stumbled on them. I was writing these spoken word songs and I was terrified of what I was doing. Finding Listener comforted me and gave me confidence to approach songs in a new (to me) way.
St. Lenox – Ten Fables of Young Ambition and Passionate Love
Different records serve different purposes for people. Whenever I’m feeling stuck or like I’ve trapped myself in a box creatively, I go to St. Lenox. It’s always refreshing and makes me want to sit back down and write. The songs and stories are exciting and fresh and told in an honest, present day experience and voice. There’s no hiding here: lights-on, naked-in-the-mirror honesty.
Bone Thugs – N-Harmony-Creepin’ On A Come Up
This record changed my world. This was the record that made me a music fan. Bone Thugs were in Cleveland, and I was only 80 miles away out in rural Ohio, and I think that excited me. To know that folx just down the road had created this masterpiece. It was angry and brilliant. I didn’t just listen to this record, I devoured it. Dissected it. Every lyric. Every kick drum beat. My dad had John Prine, and I had Bone Thugs. I love John Prine and Bone Thugs for the same reason: the honesty.
Hey Chels – (self-titled ep)
As you can probably tell by now, I go through hard phases with records. This is my current obsession. Vanessa Jean Speckman and I did a show in Los Angeles with them on New Year’s Day this year, and I was floored. The songs are perfect. The lyrics are smart and sharp. The hooks are relentless. And they have a Wurlitzer, which is my favorite instrument in the world. They might also be the nicest group of folx in the world. Please go listen to the song “Cross My Arms” right now if you’re reading this.