It's not very often a Seattle singer/songwriter makes appearances at Salt Lake area bookstores.

But Jill Cohn, an artist who takes pride in being a true independent musicmaker, will do just that May 18 and 20. The May 18 show will take place in Barnes & Noble, 10180 S. State, and the May 20 program will be in Barnes & Noble, 612 E. 400 South. Both intimate performances begin at 8 p.m.Cohn will be supporting her third album, "Stories From the Bluebus."

"This album was a challenge to make," Cohn said during a phone call from her Seattle home. "I worked with an outside producer - something I have never done before. It was a learning experience for me. It gave me a feeling of depth just being in the studio this time around. And it really wasn't as bad as I made it sound. It was a good lesson for me."

Still, sticking to her guns, Cohn had the final say in the recording process.

"There were a lot of opinions and a lot of input this time around," Cohn said. "Some of them were great, and some weren't so good. I did learn to compromise, but the songs are pretty much what I envisioned them to be. And they are basically the way I play them live."

Cohn, who cites Kate Bush and Joni Mitchell, among others, as her main musical influences, said the majority of her songs are autobiographical or at least based on stories that she could personally relate to. Her last two albums, "13september6" and "The Laughing Universe," were both emotional rides.

"Stories From the Bluebus" is a little more polished but does have the trademark Cohn nip. "I wrote all the songs while I was on the road. So the album is like a mental journal. As I kept touring, I realized I was really living to play rather than playing to live."

In a sense, touring is the reward for all the challenges, Cohn explained. "I get excited when I play. And I do like to tour, and I like being an independent artist. There's more freedom there. I think the next album will be produced by me."