Slow dancing with Citizen Cope

CITIZEN COPE-The RainWater LP (RainWater Recordings)

Citizen Cope, née Clarence Greenwood, had people slow-dancing in the aisles at Red Rocks Amphitheatre on July 15.

In all my visits to Red Rocks I have seen plenty of dancing, but never dancing in the prom sense of the word. It is, in a way, appropriate that the audience reaction to Citizen Cope is rather unconventional, as his latest release, The RainWater LP is unconventional in itself.

The general admission seats grew steadily more cramped and filled with movement as Cope’s set went on. People throughout the amphitheatre could be seen swaying and singing along, their hands bobbing up and down with the music.

Cope, currently touring as the opening act for O.A.R.,  didn’t say much to the audience. On two occasions he asked the crowd, “How’s everyone feeling tonight?” and a few more times he said, “It’s such a blessing to be here tonight.” Other than that, he let his music do the talking.

Each song shared a mellow vibe, but for the folks in the crowd familiar with Cope’s music the distinction was clear. With some songs the emphasis was on singing along to each and every word, while other songs (“Healing Hands” off of The RainWater LP) led couples in the crowd to slow dance in the limited space in front of their seats.

This album arrived nearly four years after Cope’s previous release. The Rainwater LP was released in March on Cope’s own label, RainWater Recordings; Cope also wrote and produced every track on the album.

“A lot of labels wanted to put it out,” Cope said in a press release, “but I kept hearing things like ‘Retail’s gonna need you to do this’ or ‘The artwork has to be like.’ I don’t want to be led into those confines anymore. I want to be able to do it my own way. Being able to operate efficiently, not having to move buildings to do anything, just seems so basic for any artistic endeavor.”

The album offers up 10 tracks that take the listener on a breezy relaxed voyage that lives somewhere in the space between Jack Johnson and Bob Marley with a twist of classic rock thrown in.
“Healing Hands” and “Lifeline” are standouts; while “Off The Ground” has the right mixture of pop and lightheartedness to make it an ideal summer jam.
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