Now Playing: Dana Cooper’s ‘I Can Face The Truth’ 

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Cooper
Image courtesy of Broken Jukebox Media



Dana Cooper is prepping for the release of a new album. It’s titled I Can Face The Truth and drops on February 18th.  But first, for those of you not yet familiar with the artist in question, a bit o’ background.

Dana Cooper

Cooper
Dana Cooper/Image courtesy of Broken Jukebox Media

A Missouri native, Dana Cooper is an American singer-songwriter and musician currently based in Nashville, Tennessee. According to his official website, his rockin’ resume includes 28 albums, starting with his premiere platter, Dana Cooper, which dropped in 1973, and a couple of singles. His “collection of accolades” is highlighted by “the 2014 Heritage Musician award from the Pilgrim Center for the Arts in Kansas City,” Missouri, and the “Folk Alliance International’s 2015 Spirit of Folk award.”

Cooper has also performed on the variety show Austin City Limits, the Mountain Stage, and at the well-known Kerrville Folk Festival. His songs have been recorded by several different performers such as “bluegrass singer Claire Lynch, Irish vocalist Maura O’Connell, Nashville songbird Jonell Mosser, as well as songwriters Pierce Pettis and Susan Werner.” 

Signature Sound

Dana Cooper’s signature songwriting stylings include a mix of multiple music genres including Americana, country, folk, and pop. Cooper’s father, George, had a “huge influence” on him. Cooper reports that one of his “earliest memories is of his father taking him to the Calico Cat, popping a coin in the jukebox and listening to Dana sing along with Hank Williams & Ernest Tubb.”

I Can Face The Truth

I Can Face The Truth is a 13-track album of almost entirely original material that Cooper either wrote or co-wrote. In a recent email, Cooper spoke about the making of the album, He said: “In all my years of recording I’ve never felt more free or creative in the studio. There is a joyful energy that runs through every song on the album and I’m excited for people to hear it. It’s been a long time coming but, for me, it’s worth the wait.”

Track by Track

The album opens strongly on “Always Old Friends.” It’s the lead single and was co-written with Robert Weingartz. It’s a nigh country-style cut concerning friendship. Cooper commented on the accompanying music video for this single saying: “[It’s] an inspiring look at the power and journey of friendship. Filmed in the arroyos at Frank Ortiz Dog Park in Santa Fe, [New Mexico], in the hills and fields surrounding Nashville, [Tennessee], and along some of my travels on the road.”

The second selection is the upbeat, “don’t-harsh-my-mellow”, title track “I Can Face the Truth.” Upon actually listening to the track, it becomes quickly apparent how it earned the titular honor and why he is promoting it as a “focus track.” This is also the song that started the ball rolling when deciding to create this new album. It was one of the first new songs he discussed with co-producer Dave Coleman.     

The next number is “Flower and the Vine.”  Cooper quiets down a little bit here but it’s both appropriate and effective.  No doubt this is one of those songs that works well with the ladies, or perhaps especially well with one in particular.   

He picks things up again with “Upside Down Day.”  It’s a fun, clever cut.  This one is radio friendly and soundtrack-ready and know doubt a result of his career as a songwriter.  

“Ours For a Little While” was co-written with Elva Jones-Hahn.  You can somehow tell this is a collaborative effort.  Apparently, the tuneful twosome brought out the best in each other and it shows.

A cover cut is always welcome on any new release. It fosters familiarity and creates a common bond of interest between the artist and the (especially new) listener. Here Cooper effectively adapts the Hank Williams’ classic “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.”  Here he remains true to the essence of the original while walking the razor’s edge between too little and too much.

How can you go wrong with a song like “Laughing and Crying”? Seriously. It covers all the bases.

“Bluebird” is the second single off this upcoming album. It was co-written with Tom Kimmel. In a recent email, Cooper and Kimmel discussed the new track.  

Cooper said he wanted “to convey a wry sense of hope for us humans.” Kimmel added: “I think sometimes a song can say in a few words what would take a volume to write. It seems like this one bubbled up from a deep well and wide perspective on a world that can be pretty tough on a tender heart and a bright spirit.”

The ninth number is “Summer in America.”  This seems to blend his past, present, and hopes for the future.  It balances both the good and bad and works musically.  

“Walls” was co-written with Rebecca Folsom.  On the one hand, it is a song that makes one-sided generalizations along the lines of a 1960s protest song.  On the other hand, it metaphorically speaks to all that divides us as well. 

   

“Humankind” follows here.  It’s a nice, seemingly simplistically presented piece.  It would work nicely during the holidays and yet works well any other time too. 

“I Know a Girl” provides the audience with one final, fun, upbeat example of what Cooper can do as a collaborative songwriter. Here he shares writing credits with Coleman. Apparently, they can co-produce and co-write, which somehow makes this release even better. 

The closing cut is the subdued song “I’m Just Passing Through Here.” While the message might be obvious, it does not discount the appropriateness of the theme or his ability to express an original thought. It is, in essence, an apt album endnote and undoubtedly will serve as an exceptional encore offering. 

Overall… 

Overall, this album offers original material that will work for fans both old and new. Here he tries to tell it like it is or certainly how he sees it and presents songs containing honest expressions, nigh universal truths, with a subtle, occasional retro musical tint and an underlying hint of humor to boot. So, check out Dana Cooper’s I Can Face The Truth because it’s just plain good for “Humankind.”