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Dana Cooper – The Conjurer

Dog Eared Records, 2010

What a killer album cover!  It reminds me of the old “The Shadow” and the like illustrations, which I imagine was the intent given that some of those old magician posters had a similar style.  I didn’t hesitate much to pick this one up even if I had zero idea what Cooper was going to sound like.  However, the hesitation would have been even shorter if the tagline stated that he ate knives or could be sawed in half without expiring.  I would have paid to hear that happen.  A track entitled “Ow … ARRGH … Hey I’m Okay” would’ve been an instant hit in my house.

Dana Cooper twirls up a combination of light pop and country, which is easily listenable and upbeat enough to spark momentum.  Cooper’s voice reminds me a little bit of Don Henley’s due to its hint of raspiness and even tone.  It’s enough to make songs like “Enough”  and “Cold Wind & Bitter Fiddles” pleasant to listen to no matter what the audience.  “Enough” is the first and probably the best track on the record, for it showcases the warm dynamic from the band as well as Cooper’s voice.

“Leave a Little Mark” is a fine song, and for it to show up this early in the record is a bit of surprise.  It has a sense of drama and a very pleasing composition with its urgent sound.  Considering one just got off from hearing a country swing, “Leave a Little Mark” is quick to show some of Cooper’s diverse tastes.  It is a unique track to the rest of the record, however, and it takes “Leo & Lucille” to shake things up a little.  Granted, it’s still a country song albeit with harmonica, but it’s about a hooker named Lucille.  According to Cooper she’s been “pissed off and knocked up/pissed on and locked up in jail”.  Pissed on?  That’s gotta be an angry hooker.  Despite her state of hygiene, it’s a charming rambler of a folk tune.

You can give a listen to some of Dana Cooper’s music at his website as well as MySpace.

Dana Cooper’s “The Conjurer” is a fine record for anyone interested in a singer-songwriter type who invests in touches of country, pop, and folk.  I imagine he’d be a good fit in anyone’s music collection if you need something easy to listen to.  What might add to the interest in Cooper and his music is the fact that he writes engaging blog entries on his website, so not only can you give him a listen but also read about various road stories and movie reviews.  Someone drop me a line when he posts of picture of himself getting sawed in half, okay?

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