The case for Wil Cope is sneaky and subtle. It is there for those who stop and listen for a few minutes or for those who accidentally happen across one of his shows that are seemingly in limitless supply.
I have seen on more than a couple of occasions concert goers catch the last couple songs of a set and stop to ask who this guy is. Frequently paired on rock and roll bills in East Austin, there’s an odd courage that comes with bringing the quiet Americana (I hate this term, see below for a better description) in an Eastside scene that rarely sees such a thing.
Mellow and calm in demeanor, Cope’s songs are in the vein of Gram Parsons, Townes van Zandt and Neil Young, frequently making the jump from contemplative to atmospheric, accentuated by a warm pedal steel tones that forms a soothing California-era American Music Club sound.
Tapped to open for Richard Buckner during his last swing through town, Cope and his band can be found playing nearly every week somewhere in the city. They are in a word, a part of the scenery and part of some of the soft-spoken charms of the music scene that aren’t immediately apparent.
Subtle until it sneaks up on the listener, Cope’s songs frequently build toward a melodic groove, presenting a gradually-working salve to listeners looking for a place to rest their weary selves and/or hearts and the end of a long day. Good whiskey-drinking music, but not in a cinematic cliché kind of way. Or at least that’s what I tell myself.Tangent: attention should also be paid for similar reasons of Austin’s Jess Williamson, although she’s too new a discovery for me to discuss in an informed manner.
With Cope’s 2010 Sunset Craves album having long-since left the station, Cope is sitting on a pair of Nashville-recorded albums that if we’re lucky will see the light of day before too long.
(Editor’s Note: Wil has several shows this week in conjunction with SXSW. Check his Facebook page for details.)
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