Cooper Greenberg is a guitarist and singer/songwriter based out of San Antonio and Austin, Texas. Influenced by a wide array of artists, songwriters and genres, his writing style combines intricate, guitar-driven melodies with personal, storytelling lyrics. In December 2016, he released his debut EP Wave Pool and backed by a full band Dream Sequence in 2018. His latest seven-song collection was recorded by Tommy Munter at Matador Recording Studios in San Antonio.
Greenberg states that the record was intended to combine a bunch of sounds that he loves – classic alt-country from such artists like Willie Nelson and Townes Van Zandt, mixed with some psychedelic aspects of Texas music, like Marfa and TX. He also has an affinity for the more intimate ’70s sounds, like Jim Croce and early Elton John, so you’ll hear some of their influences on this album, too.
The album’s title track opens with a gorgeous, lilting melody on the acoustic and the warm, twanginess of a lap steel or pedal steel guitar of some kind. Right off the bat, I could clearly hear Jim Croce influence – just in the way Cooper played his guitar and arranged the notes and chords during the break. Overall, a nice, mellow and easy-going kind of song. On “Cactus Flower” Cooper picks up the rhythm on the electric with a full band to back him, somewhat in the style of John Mayer. The ending gets crazy fast and reminded me of Carlos Santana. “Post-Graduate” mellows things down again with a style that’s one-part blues and one-part soulful country.
“Wave Pool (Reprise)” presents another take from his 2016 debut by the same name. On the breaks/solo parts, the chord changes sounded very much like a brand of alt-country rock, from such ‘80s southern roots bands like R.E.M. Cooper gets soulful and tender with his guitar playing on “Over and Over, Again and Again” along with a reverb-echo effect on the vocal. The programmed backing beat and spacey synth brought interesting texture to an otherwise mostly guitar and vocal song.
“Evening Red” features a funkier beat with a low down, moodier feel. The rhythm is good and tight and I thought this was the hardest rocking song as midway through the tempo really speeds up. “Take Care of Me” sees Cooper back on the acoustic, singing lyrics and strumming in a lonesome, rustic style. Then about halfway through, he changes the mood, by changing the rhythm and style of the song – fantastic! I thought the tune ended the album in a remarkably strong way with its memorable melody.
Production wise, Dream Sequence truly shines with all the instruments coming off so well mixed and mastered, it’s not hard to tell that Cooper is in good company. Also, it’s was definitely easy to hear that Greenberg has got what it takes to go far. With his vocal chops, phenomenal guitar playing and likable name, I wouldn’t be surprised if the world hears more from this Texan real, real soon. If you like what you hear on Dream Sequence, I suggest you check out his first release as well.
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