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Tickets to The Bluestone
February 9, 2023 at 8 PM
Doors Open 7 PM
Kolby Cooper lost his childhood and found his voice.
Cooper was 14 when cancer took his dad, and he channeled that painful loss into songwriting. He was 18 with the responsibility of a wife and baby on his shoulders when he used his high school graduation money to record an EP. And now, barely old enough to buy a round for the band, Cooper is pouring his signature blend of scorching break-up anthems and gut-wrenchingly relatable songs into a new record for BBR Music Group.
Far from the typical music industry inroads, Cooper has been riding the fast track from a small Texas town driven by necessity and inspired by his fathers working-class principles.
“Losing my dad and then becoming a dad made me think, “This just can’t be a fun thing. I mean, it’s fun – but it has to be a job too,” Cooper said with candor. “I have to work my ass off. I’m not Just trying to pay rent.”
In three short years, Cooper has accomplished what has eluded seasoned Nashville insiders amassing more than 110 million Spotify streams and playing numerous, sold-out show around the country, with thousands of fans singing along to his searing, wry lyries.
Drawn to his unrestrained, fresh sound, Cooper is earning early praise for his rough-hewn velvet vocals, layered over wailing electric guitar, and a buoyant Texas bottom-end. His new record is Country with clear influences from his Lonestar State roots. ‘The result “is authentic to me,” said the humble outlier. “I m older and understanding more about myself, and the music, and what I want to say. This is exactly what I set out to sound like.
At 22, he is coming into his own as a master storyteller and an angry advocate for the heartsick as he writes each of his songs from the deeply personal “Boy from Anderson County,” an autobiographical look at how love can propel a boy into becoming a better man, to “Good For You,” a sneering, steel-guitar slice of resentment, and the dreaded “its not you, it’s me pathos of
“Excuses, which was inspired by his guitar player’s sudden breakup.
Cooper is refreshingly kind and happy for someone who can readily tap into rage and angst. He embodies and moves confidently between contradictions from the defiant to the forlorn.
“People ask me, ‘Why do you write these breakup songs? You must have a bad past with exes.” he said laughing. “Ive been dating my wife since we were seniors in high school. I write from the perspective of what I see – a lot of tough relationships in a small town that I witnessed firsthand.
Charles Wesley Godwin
March 16, 2023 8:00 PM
Doors Open 7:00 PM
at The Bluestone
A native of West Virginia, Charles Wesley Godwin makes cinematic country-folk that’s as gorgeous and ruggedly raw as his homeland. It’s Appalachian Americana, rooted in Godwin’s sharp songwriting and backwoods baritone. With 2021’s How the Mighty Fall, he trades the autobiographical lyrics that filled Seneca — his acclaimed debut, released in 2019 and celebrated by everyone from Rolling Stone to NPR’s Mountain Stage — for a collection of character-driven songs about mortality, hope, and regret, putting an intimate spin on the universal concerns we all share.
“I started a family around the time Seneca came out,” he remembers. “After my son was born, I remember sitting in the hospital, thinking about how that very experience would eventually become one of those life moments that flash before my eyes when I’m old. I realized that time is passing, and my time will pass, too. Becoming a father made it all sink in.”
Those realizations quickly found their way into his writing. If Seneca painted the picture of a southern son in the middle of American coal country, then How the Mighty Fall — produced once again by Al Torrence — zooms out to focus on wider themes of time, transience, and the choices we make. Songs like “Strong” “Bones” and “Blood Feud” are roadhouse roots-rockers, driven forward by fiery fiddle, lap steel and plenty of electric guitar. Godwin does most of his painting with more subtle shades, though, often waiting until How the Mighty Fall’ssofter moments to make his biggest impact. On “Cranes of Potter,” he delivers a murder ballad with finger-plucked acoustic guitar and elegiac melodies, unspooling the narrative with a storyteller’s restraint. Meanwhile, “Temporary Town” finds him returning to West Virginia after spending five years in the midwest, celebrating his homecoming not with barely-contained enthusiasm, but with measured excitement, light percussion, and a steadily-building arrangement.
“I try to write with a sense of place,” he explains. “Up until now, that setting has always been my home, but I don’t think this new album is as locally-focused as my previous release. I hope these songs will connect with people wherever they live.”
The son of a coal miner father and a schoolteacher mother, Godwin began forging those musical connections in 2013, while studying abroad in Estonia. He’d learned the acoustic guitar several years earlier, looking for a diversion after failing to secure a spot on the West Virginia University football team. Halfway across the world in Estonia, he started strumming songs in his apartment, summoning the sights and sounds of West Virginia for a group of new friends who’d never laid eyes on the state. Fans were made, gigs were booked, and Godwin launched his full-time music career shortly after graduation.
Marriage soon took him to Ohio, where his wife worked as a fundraiser. Even so, West Virginia remained at the forefront of Godwin’s mind, and he saluted the area’s influence with his 2019 debut. Seneca was a hit, with Billboard praising the album’s “the vivid language and scenic ambience,” and Rolling Stone enthusing, “His voice, with its tight, old-world vibrato, is perfect.” Godwin hit the road in support of its release, touring domestically one minute and selling out shows in European destinations like Stockholm the next. When the global pandemic brought his touring to a halt, he set his sights on How the Mighty Fall, creating the album during a period that also witnessed the arrival of his son and the migration of his growing family back to West Virginia.
Charles Wesley Godwin has never been afraid to blur the lines, and How the Mighty Fall proudly straddles the borderlands between several genres. It’s a country album by an Appalachian-borne folk singer and blue-collar believer, laced with enough electricity to satisfy the Saturday night
revelers and enough scaled-down acoustic balladry to soundtrack the slow, gentle pace of Sunday morning. For every “Lyin’ Low” — a driving folk anthem, its larger-than-life melodies flanked by banjo — there’s a softly sweeping song like “Lost Without You,” which finds Godwin’s voice echoing between stretches of pedal steel and symphonic strings. This is music for campfires and car rides, for pool halls and mountain peaks, for big-city diehards and small-town loyalists. It’s Charles Wesley Godwin at his best, diving into character studies and richly-created fiction while still offering glimpses of the man behind the music.