Ottawa’s own, The Cooper Brothers, are set to release their 7th album, “Radio Silence”, and plan to do it in style. Their upcoming show at Centrepointe Theatre this coming Fri., Apr. 28 will celebrate the CD’s official launch, and feature a series of great special guests, along with a vast repertoire of past/present material plucked from the band’s 43-year history. Music Express recently caught up with founding member, songwriter/guitarist, Dick Cooper, who gives us a sneak peek on what we can look forward to:
“The CD is coming out the day of our show. We’ll play several songs from it, and some songs folks haven’t heard in awhile…plus you gotta play the hits. Our opening act will be Lee Harvey Osmond (Tom Wilson), who’s an old buddy of ours. And then we’ve got Sass Jordan, who’s going to do some of her stuff and some of ours. We also have a bit of a tribute to our former founding member, Terry King, who passed away some years ago. His nephew Jordan, is going to sing a special song that I wrote for Terry which I think will be a great moment during the show. Also, Ray Legere will be coming up from the Maritimes to play with us, who is one of the greatest fiddle and mandolin players in Canada. He’s recorded with The Band, Rita McNeil, the Barra NcNeil’s, the Rankins…and he’s also on the new record. We’re also going to have a 4-piece horn section, which is something that’s new for us, both onstage and featured on our new album.”
Since their start, The Cooper Brothers have always been known for their full flavoured countrified southern rock sound, rich in a spectrum of guitars, pedal steel, keyboard, and their signature multiple vocal magic. Their music, inspired by bands like the Beatles, The Allman Brothers, and the Eagles, also possessed those great robust melodies and instrumentation representative of some of the great music that came out of the seventies. The music of The Cooper Brothers continues to reflect that same sound today…even a 20-year hiatus couldn’t disrupt the heart and spirit of a band that returned to the scene with a “Best Of” compilation album in 2006. From there, a re-ignition of songwriting juices came out of the floodgates with the production of three more albums within the last decade (“In From The Cold – 2010; “Southbound” – 2013; “Radio Silence” – 2017).
“My brother Brian and I are the only remaining original members. The guys that have been with us the longest are Ed Bimm (keys/vocals), and Rob Holtz (drums). The newer members include Jeff Rogers (vocals/keys/guitar/sax), Darwin Demers (guitar/vocals), and John Steele (pedal steel guitar/accordion). We pride ourselves in being a big band…there’s seven of us and we make no apologies for it. We like that big sound…those seventies bands like The Allman Brothers, Atlanta Rhythm Section, etc. all had that big sound. My philosophy on the production side of it is you have to service the song…the song tells you the arrangement. There isn’t really a template, other than those vocals are important to us. And the way I write is that I always think about how that chorus is going to sound…that’s always in the back of my mind when I write.”
As a prelude to the new album’s launch, two singles have been released so far to give listeners a taste: The title track “Radio Silence”, featuring the smoky lead vocals of Jeff Rogers, and “I’m Not Afraid”, featuring some great full horns and banjo. The Cooper Brothers will bring to the stage their tried and true formula which has stood the test of time, as has their massive fan following. The dream is alive and well with new songs that exhibit the band’s refreshing and on-going evolution, while embracing the necessary fibres of its past. From the music and memorabilia, to the musician-filled stage of members and special guests, this will be a show not to be missed.