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James Cooper

Second Season

(Paisley Pop; US: 20 Oct 2006; UK: Available as import)

With a string of musical influences that run from Richard Hawley to Dylan to the Waifs and Crowded House, James Cooper knows what makes a very good pop song judging by “Everything to Everyone”. It’s a blue-chip kind of tune that seems to hit all the right buttons, and comes complete with some Westerberg-ish raggedness. The same can be said for “Love in London”, which is a softer pop nugget that brings to mind Neil Finn. And things go down another notch for the folksy, singer-songwriter ditty “Beautiful As You”. However, Cooper tends to get too depressed for the solemn piano-driven ballad “Sammy”. A better, yet bittersweet, effort comes later on during the pleasingly sparse, “Dry Reaching For Grace”. Fortunately, Cooper removes himself from this “woe is me” rut with the galloping “Christine”. It is the album’s highlight, and brings to mind a cross between Petty and Mellencamp. Just as grand is “Save Me From Love”, which sounds like it was picked from Lennon and McCartney’s pockets. And the closing, “Really Miss You”, is another little gem of a song. Cooper’s another underrated performer from the land down under.

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Originally from Cape Breton, MacNeil is currently writing for the Toronto Sun as well as other publications, including All Music Guide, Billboard.com, NME.com, Country Standard Time, Skope Magazine, Chart Magazine, Glide, Ft. Myers Magazine and Celtic Heritage. A graduate of the University of King's College, MacNeil currently resides in Toronto. He has interviewed hundreds of acts ranging from Metallica and AC/DC to Daniel Lanois and Smokey Robinson. MacNeil (modestly referred to as King J to friends), a diehard Philadelphia Flyers fan, has seen the Rolling Stones in a club setting, thereby knowing he will rest in peace at some point down the road. Oh, and he writes for PopMatters.com.


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