Scott Cooley is a roots-rock singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who doesn’t take songwriting, playing instruments, or singing too seriously. As a solo artist, his creativity isn’t limited to a specific genre, and as a result his albums hold the listener’s attention. Like the albums themselves, Scott’s appeal is the total package rather than his being great at one aspect of being a musician. Scott doesn’t sweat the details, and that’s part of the appeal - the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
There is a passion for his craft that you can hear - a passion only for putting together interesting songs, rather than for focusing on performing. Although he’s not totally unseasoned as a performer - he’s been known to entertain a crowd to the point of unprovoked group sing-alongs, uproarious laughter and massive spontaneous applause - it’s never been about paying dues as a touring act. He’s never been into memorizing songs, whether they be cover songs or his own. He’s never been into getting really good at guitar or singing, or playing live in front of people. Rather than try to impress with vocal chops or guitar wizardry, his motivation has always been the pleasure of coming up with new material. Instead of practicing, he prefers to spend his free time writing songs and quickly recording them, usually singing and playing all of the instruments himself. His records are obviously those of an amateur “do-it-all-yourselfer” with no formal training, and it is apparent on his recordings that his natural talent is limited.
Despite all this, or perhaps because of it, there is a lot to like about his music. The songs are appealing because the lyrical content offers a wide variety of material. There are thought-provoking songs, sad songs, and humorous songs - and even when covering somewhat serious subject matter, it is delivered from a lighthearted perspective. Indeed, it could be argued there is something for everyone musically as well - as this acoustic music has hints of hard rock, blues, folk, country, and world music with catchy melodies and instrumental breaks that clearly shine through minimal instrumentation and production. The decidedly unpolished quality is refreshingly real. The fact that there is no attempt to mask imperfections allows the emotional aspects to ring true with authenticity.
Whether the music makes you laugh, cry, or think, it touches you in some way, and through simplicity Scott Cooley does his job as an artist well. Scott can be introspective yet universal when dealing with heartbreak or wanderlust, providing an escape into a casual, mellow world guided by both an exciting spirit of adventure and at the same time a calm joy for life. Whether you’re lost in deep contemplation or charged with fist-pumping adrenaline, listening to Scott Cooley’s music offers many of those knowing “smile w/ head-nod” moments in between, where you’re going to know that certain points of certain songs probably caused the same reaction with many a listener out there, and probably for Scott himself too.
Americana/Roots | Indie Rock | Blues
Michigan Solo Artist's Flashes Of Brilliance Lead To Discovery Of Hidden Gems
Scott Cooley’s latest record, Used To Be Good Looking, is the 6th studio album he’s self-released on his independent label. Available in CD format from Amazon, and download from iTunes, Google Play, Bandcamp, and Spotify on June 21st, 2014, it contains 14 new original songs. The first half of the record is a little more mainstream, poppy, and commercial with shorter rock songs, whereas the last half finds Scott venturing into longer and more serious songs with hints of jazz, bluegrass, folk, and blues. Fans of the all-acoustic instrumentation, catchy melodies, and outstanding lyrics on his past releases will not be disappointed.
As far as live public performances go, he entertained attendees at Lamb’s Retreat for Songwriters in 2012 at the Birchwood Inn in Harbor Springs as a solo act, and also headlined the annual Schmoopiepalooza Festival in 2013 at Pickerel Lake in northern Michigan as a duo with his lovely and talented wife Lenore on accordion. Scott’s recent experiences leading up to this release have included a few get-togethers with family and friends, a few days spent sailing, a few days spent skiing, walking the new golden retriever, Levi, and regular date nights with Lenore. Essentially a non-performing songwriter and recording artist, Scott wrote and recorded these songs over the course of a few weekends, and an hour or two on a few different weeknights sporadically in his basement “man cave” spare bedroom studio since his last release.
The Scott Cooley band has in the past included wife Lenore as guest studio musician (accordion, keyboard, marimba, flute, background vocals) and spiritual producer Lucky Cooley (sadly, he’s now in dog heaven). This album is different in that on the first 13 songs, there’s no one else on it, but Scott finally convinced Lenore to play right-hand-only accordion on the final track, “Smitten with the Mitten,” and thanks to her contribution, it’s a strong candidate for consideration of being designated as a state song for the state of Michigan. Levi wasn’t quite up to speed yet on production advice, so as a solo artist, one-man band, and do-it-all-yourselfer, Scott wore all hats involved this time, recording himself playing guitar, bass, marimba, harmonica, drums, percussion, and singing the vocals in East Lansing.
Scott’s fan interactions, aside from the aforementioned live performances, have been limited to only one or two announcements on his website, and several posts to his blog about his experiences with songwriting and music recording. One fan chimed in with excitement upon discovering the song Mackinac Island from the 2006 Lakeside Landing album, and her intention to share with her college friends and family members in Michigan, and sure enough, the online MP3 downloads increased for that song again. Another fan reached out to Scott to note that he loved the last album, Cherchez La Femme, and having been on hiatus from being a musician himself, felt inspired to get back into it.
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|Release Title:||Used To Be Good Looking|
|Record Label:||Scott Cooley Records|
|Suggested Retail Price:||12.49|
|Preferred Retail Link:||Click here|