When you are part of a legendary folk band, as Ray Cooper was until
2011 with the Oysterband, the easy option is to stay and reap the
benefits of successful tours, albums, reviews and airplay, However,
Ray had a desire to branch out musically, and to release his own
albums encompassing a wider range of styles, and now, with the imminent
release of his third album, his decision to seek pastures new, and
solo, have been vindicated by the acclaim he has received, the fans
he has won over, and the quality of the songs that he has released.
His new album 'Between The Golden Age & The Promised Land'
will surprise many of his listeners. It is a big sounding record
with serious themes, but is nevertheless simple, raw, joyous, and
While Cooper continues to develop as a singer, here he plays all
the instruments too, in a stripped down production inspired by producer
Rick Rubin's treatment of Johnny Cash's late recordings. The familiar
mandolin, cello, guitar and harmonica are all there but Cooper also
makes his recording debut as a piano player, and features it prominently
throughout the album.
There is folk here but it's never quite folk. Nevertheless the
album is more English sounding too, with the inclusion of several
trad tunes, and songs woven into the album as the listener is taken
on a journey from the English countryside, to Flanders, Venice,
Beirut, and even to the moon in his song 'Ocean Of Storms'. The
song is king, and stories abound on his new and diverse album.
The opening track 'Drunk On Youth' describes a happy memory as
a teenager, swimming in a river drunk, the album moves on to describe
the true story of a maverick soldier in WWI, the beautiful Arab
singer Asmahan, a holiday romance, being a father, the present day
migrants in the Mediterranean, before ending with the classic hymn
'Wayfairing Stranger', all of which fall nicely under the umbrella
of the title. 'Between The Golden Age & The Promised land'.
'The golden age and the promised land are the two great dreams.
Both are exaggerations, probably, but nevertheless compelling. The
dream of how great things used to be and the dream of how great
they are going to be'. said Ray.
An exciting and enthralling new album, laden with stories, and
songs with hook lines aplenty, all played and sung by Ray with a
raw edged, stripped down, harder hitting production, this could
transform and propel him into the big league.
Remember the name, Ray Cooper, a one time member of Oysterband
yes, but a star in his own right, burning more brightly than ever
before on 'Between The Golden Age & The Promised Land'.
' Musically 'Between The Golden Age & The Promised Land' is
a majestic, tour-de-force of an album, destined, surely to become
one of the albums of the year. It rewards the listener with the
promise of songs that will long remain in the memory' David Pratt-
Fatea- pre release review.