On March 18, Ross Cooper released his latest disc, "Give It Time." The singer told Billboard that he just so happened to be connected to iTunes on his computer early that morning – very early. "I really nerded out," Cooper admitted to The 615. "I wanted to be the first one to buy the record."
While he is regarded as one of the rising stars of the Americana format, and his music has traces of country, rock, and blues, Cooper says that he tries not to generalize his sound. "Sometimes I think it's best to not try to. Honestly, I've been called Americana because it can sometimes encompass everything under its' umbrella, but it's country. It's rock and roll, and rootsy, which is to me what Americana is. So, that's the answer I'm going with," he says with a smile.
"Give It Time" is a mixture of a lot of different styles, with maybe one of the most different tracks being the somewhat murky "Witches," of which Cooper told Billboard "That was a song that I had a good time writing. Then, when we got into the studio, we built the song around an old school country feel. It was almost like Tim Burton meets Hank Williams. It's all over the place. When we got the last mix back, I ended up really liking it."
Watch the premiere of the video for the title track below:
A cut on the disc that stems from real life experience is "Running Away," which he said he penned for his father. "My folks are from West Texas, and my dad runs a cotton gin. Where we're it is historically part of the Dust Bowl. A couple of years ago, when the drought was so bad across the United States, they were having a rough summer and couldn't win for losing. I remember being back home, and my dad had just had it. He said ‘To hell with this. I'm going to run away and join the circus. He didn't, but I wrote the song as an ode to that for him."
The art of storytelling – whether it be his family or folks he grew up with in his native Texas – is very important to Cooper. "I try to elaborate on something that is pretty close to real life," he said. "The ideas for these stories are rooted in something that has happened. I want to blow it out of proportion. That's the good thing about writing songs – Don't let the truth get in the way of a good story. If it weren't for that, there would be some lame stories. I like being inspired as opposed to pulling something out of thin air."
In addition to his musical career, Cooper also had a successful run as a bareback bronc rider on the rodeo circuit. As parallel as music and the rodeo worlds might seem, he says he tried to keep the worlds separate. "For the longest time when I was on the rodeo circuit, my rodeo friends had no idea I was playing music and vice versa. It was almost like these two different worlds. I wasn't playing rodeo songs or rodeo music. Even though they are the two biggest things in my life, I was self aware enough to know that's not how I write."
Make no mistake, however, the rodeo world will always have a special place in his heart. After all, he might not be here were it not for it. "My dad rode the circuit, and my mom was actually Miss Rodeo Texas in 1976. They had known each other for a while, and had a lot of the same mutual friends. Then, they started dating. That's how they met," he recalled.
Cooper will be hitting the road starting May 1 in Midland, TX. He says he's ready for the ride. "The next thing on my agenda is to book as many shows as I can., and try to stay busy as I can getting the record out there. I just want to keep a very consistent summer calendar doing shows. I can't wait. It's going to be a good year....I hope."