Dana Cooper – I Can Face The Truth
Earlier in his career Missouri singer-songwriter, Dana Cooper with his superb voice was a sophisticated more city-oriented singer. From 1997 with songs like “Miracle Mile,” the harmonica-driven “Sleep of the Innocent,” he had an urban edge. On the CD cover of “Miracle Mile,” he wore a fedora & “floated” down an alley between tenement buildings.
I always filed him with Peter Himmelman, Alex Rozum & Marc Cohn music. But, as his career progressed Dana seemed to lean more generously into an alt-country & captured a James Taylor-Ramblin Jack Elliot ideal. It works for him on his latest 13-cut album I Can Face The Truth (Drops Feb 18–Dog Eared).
Mr. Cooper opens with an excellent lyrically potent title track “I Can Face the Truth,” (…but not today). Typical Dana Cooper humor & heartfelt expression wordplay are evident in his varied showcase. He doesn’t hesitate with his accomplished technique to create a more commercially hit-oriented tune like “Upside Down Day,” – catchy & assertive.
The Dana Cooper songbook has always been engaging no matter what genre he dips his musical fingers into. The solid rhythm section was created as many have been with musicians in separate rooms or remotely due to pandemic circumstances. Musicians always find a way to create. The benefit afforded was being able to do the work with the luxury of time.
The LP was recorded between Oct. 2019 & Aug. 2021 in Nashville. Produced by multi-instrumentalist Dave Coleman (electric-acoustic-slide-bass guitars/12-string Mando guitar/Nylon string guitar/drums/organ/piano/percussion/accordion/vocals & he paid probably for the pizzas as well) & Dana (lead vocals/acoustic-electric guitars/12 string Mando guitar/harmonica/percussion). Dana was encouraged by Dave to play his Telecaster & Rickenbacker 12-string again.
Good lyrics & stylization was consistent on songs like “Ours For a Little While.” An exceptional cover of the classic “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” with harmonica & genuine country angst. I’m surprised how many songs I enjoyed personally.
“Bluebird,” co-written with Tom Kimmel is a cool-rootsy alt-country with harmonica & a steady anvil of a beat. An energetic contemporary tune “I Know a Girl,” serves up a good upbeat hook & the vocal trickery wraps it tight. Dana Cooper has found his niche & maintains it.
Nothing, absolutely nothing in this Dana Cooper country-torrent is hokey or novelty-oriented. I guess I have to re-establish Mr. Cooper closer to my Townes van Zandt, Guy Clark & Billy Joe Shaver shelves.
Musicians on board include Chris Benelli (drums/percussion), Paul Slivka (bass), Brother Paul Brown of The Waterboys (Hammond B3 on “Bluebird”), with backup vocals by some recognizable names Rebecca Folsom, Elva Jones-Hahn, Tom Kimmel, Jonell Mosser, Joseph Murray, Maura O’Connell, David Starr & Gillian Tuite.
Tray Card Color Photo by Corrine Tames. The 47-minute CD will be available @ https://www.danacoopermusic.com/