A few years ago, I caught James at a few gigs in Tamworth. He was beautifully dressed, more like a man on a catwalk than a muso in a pub at a country music festival. Everything about him oozed class and style. He was very young. He still is. When he was younger he was more into a kind of music that is as far from Peel Street and cows in a paddock as rain has been in recent times.
Then he met a bloke called Bill Chambers, probably one of 10 of the most influential people in Australian Country Music, and the rest, as they say, is history for this young singer/songwriter.
To describe James’ music is probably best to term it as Alt. Country. It is definitely country, there is no mistaking it as anything else. His songwriting is so mature for someone so young. His songs are thoughtful, tender and easy to listen to. There are a few surprises, with mixes of tempo and style with a possible shower song nomination in the making with Midnight Love, an almost boppy number.
James is getting a lot of interest from pockets of the music community that would probably not always listen to country and that is a good thing, again, they are hearing that there is more to country music than one type.
His image is a bit different to others, he has a way of carrying himself that is not the norm with country music singers and his voice is not traditionally country….though his music has very much a strong country vibe.
I think that the younger market will definitely be curious about this 21 year old. Older fans will appreciate the musicianship, the variety and the quality of the production of the songs. They will hear things in the music that are reminiscent of artists who were around long before James was even thought of . He is a bit of an old soul with a young head and heart. There is something very unique and exciting about an artist such as James Van Cooper. I was pleasantly surprised the first time that I heard him and this album just cements my faith in that thought. I really love this album. It is full of golden moments.
Lights Don’t Shine reminds me of Donovan, one of my favourite singer/songwriters. It is my pick on an album full of songs that shine.
1. Passing Through
2. Younger Then
3. Coming Home
4. Midnight Love
5. Car Crash
6. Goodbye My Friends
7. Lights Don’t Shine
8. Don’t Say It’s Over