Tuesday, January 31, 2006

James Cooper & The Protectors at The Betsy Trotwood 19 January

The music mags have long done their tips for 2006, though Time Out has just belatedly (with very nice pics) done theirs. On none of these lists however, was James Cooper, but maybe he should be. His debut album ‘Second Season’ is a cracker – a classic slice of Americana-flecked guitar pop, evoking such singer-songwriters as Ryan Adams and Josh Ritter. I’ve also detected traces of some of my favourite Scottish artists – Teenage Fanclub, Roddy Frame and the Trashcan Sinatras. Classic songwriting with real mainstream appeal, if they could get the right exposure. You can listen to mp3 snippets on his website.

At probably London’s smallest gig venue (are there any smaller?) The Betsey Trotwood, he played songs from Second Season as well as some new ones. The newies were mainly done first, solo acoustic, then on came his backing band The Protectors to perform the rest. As well as an accomplished songwriter, James is also a fine performer, and the songs sound great live. Particularly impressive was my personal fave ‘Dry Reaching for Grace’, and ‘Dream Trader’ came across with fresh life in a live setting.

He’s playing at the legendary rock/folk venue The Troubadour for the UK launch of his album on 16 Feb. If you’re in London, make it a date!

More pics...

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