Drew Cooper

REVIEW: Drew Cooper “This Life”


Drew Cooper has released a new album, This Life.

The album was produced by John Lousteau and Drew Cooper, mixed by John Lousteau and engineered by Oliver Roman and Evan Myaskovsky.

Musicians on this album are Drew Cooper on lead vocals and acoustic guitar; John June and Evan Myaskovsky on bass; Matt Ryman on drums; John lousteau on drums, percussion, and background vocals;  Patrick James Junior, Oliver Roman, and Jack Maher on guitars; Martine Guigui on keys; Drew Taubenfeld on mandolin; Albert Hickman on dobro; and Jody Bartula on fiddle.

At first listen, there’s a chord of familiarity that’s struck.  Something about Drew’s singing takes a few minutes to identify, but once you do, you’ll keep hearing glimpses.  His tone and growly delivery contains more than a little similarity to Eddie Vedder.  But imagine Eddie Vedder with a banjo among the electric guitars, and it’s a grittier Eddie Vedder who’s experimenting with latino rhythms, and you’re back to Drew Cooper on this album.  I guess that’s what you call red dirt, but with its own attributes.

“Vaya Con Dios,” is a roots rock blast, that welcomes you right into the party with a rock beat and Cooper’s voice with its grungy twinge, and “we drink moonshine all night long.”  “American Son” is another with a driving beat and electric distortion.  On “Madeline” there are some electric guitar leads and a midnight snow with his heart on a string.

“Lodi”  then comes in as a bit of a twist.  And yet it’s somehow the perfect cover for Drew and the band to slow things down to.

Most covers of John Prine’s “Angel From Montgomery” disappoint a little bit, despite their honest intentions, because they try too closely to emulate the glory of the original song, or go for a more subdued version.  This interpretation by Drew Cooper, however, is completely different.  His own powerful style is so different from Prine that you’ll be leaning in to listen, and hearing your favorite version by John Prine somehow in the background as you recognize it’s the same song.  There’s joy in realizing this is THAT song.  And the difference makes it a success.

“Whiskey and Smoke” is back to a heavier dirtier atmosphere and a song of desire.  “New Heart” is a ballad with a degree of reflection.  The title track, “This Life,” comes in at the end with sustained electric guitar and a song about rising from the ashes of loss of “this life.”

This album is some heavier, red dirt and grungy rock ‘n roll, with a roiling core of inner strength and emotion that somehow feels exactly perfect for summertime.


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