25 April 2008

Word writer, song writer

We were in Nashville, spending a short weekend with a good friend of mine who works at the paper there, the Tennessean. We're eating dinner in East Nashville and in the mood for a party, but — with all due respect to Music City — I don't like the country & western.

Earlier in the day, my friend, Linda, had tried to call Peter Cooper. He's one of the lead music writers there, and Linda's his boss. If anybody knows where we should head that night, it's Peter, we figure. He never called back, though, and I don't blame him. When you spend your whole workweek writing about something, sometimes you just want some distance on the weekend. Who are we to demand his advice, simply because we've got his cell?

Then into our restaurant bursts Peter Cooper, picking up a to-go order. What are the odds? He doesn't know me or Jenn, but he recognizes Linda and strides our way. He's got a big smile and he clutches our table with both of his hands. "Here you are!" he says to her. "I've been in every bar and restaurant in Nashville looking for you!"

That's Peter Cooper, ladies and gentlemen. And aside from being a quick wit and kick-ass writer of newspaper stories, he's a great singer-songwriter. His debut record, "Mission Door," is just out. Give it a spin, but brace yourself for a little twang and lots of steel guitars. The themes aren't surprising — with sentiments about whiskey, wine and growing older — but there are some great moments, including the bluesy folk of "Take Care" and the snarky wit laced into "Boy Genius." (The download below says the album's "Cautionary Tales," but that's the name for the European release.)

Cautionary TalesPeter Cooper
"Boy Genius" (mp3)
from "Cautionary Tales"
(Corazong Records)
Buy at eMusic

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