Saturday, August 26, 2006
Introducing James Cooper
A couple of weeks ago I said goodbye to my friend James Cooper, as he headed back to Australia. James had been in London for a couple of years, combining designing record sleeves for a Shoreditch design firm, with pursuing a musical career. I was a little disingenuous back in January when I reviewed his gig at The Betsy Trotwood as if it was a new artist I had ‘discovered’, when really it was a mate.
With James, I found myself in the odd position of getting to know someone before hearing their music. When it came to listening to it for the first time, I really hoped that I would like it, as I didn’t fancy telling a friend that I thought his music was crap. I needn’t have worried.
Mind you, it didn’t get off to the best start. The first track on his debut album Second Season is firmly in the territory of American FM on-the-road rock. I gulped. How much more of this could I take? Thankfully, the rest of the album is a whole lot better. As I said in my previous review, the album’s great – a classic slice of freewheeling Americana, 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 (although I doubt James knows these guys). Earlier in the year it was on constant rotation in the Growl house. It’s a bit funny being into the music of someone you go down the pub with.
Ironically, after coming to London to kick-start his musical career, things seem to have taken off for him a lot more back in his homeland. That, combined with the dream offer of a producer job in Sydney was more than good enough reason for him to pack his bags and leave London. So farewell James, mate. We’ll miss you here, but all the very best back in Oz. I’m sure we’ll hear how it all goes. Looking forward to hearing the new album next year!
Check out some tunes from Second Season. Three of my favourites – the ace Beatlesy Save Me From Love, the gorgeous ballad Dry Reaching for Grace and the sparky guitar pop of Dream Trader. These will only be here for a short time, so get ‘em while they’re hot. If you’re reading this and you’ve missed out, check out his website download page for more free music.
Download: James Cooper – Save Me From Love
Download: James Cooper – Dry Reaching For Grace
Download: James Cooper – Dream Trader
For anyone reading this in Australia, he’s just released Second Season round your way, and he’s playing a few dates in support of it. You can see him at:
27 AUG: THE ROB ROY HOTEL, MELBOURNE
30 AUG: THE VANGUARD, SYDNEY
17 OCT: SYDNEY UNIVERSITY MANNING BAR
Buy Second Season at Amazon