Chris Cooper- Contact
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Chris Cooper’s Lines sits comfortably in that space between melodic subtlety and full-on shred. A mix of jazz, blues, and rock, and inspired by the likes of Eric Johnson and Robben Ford, Lines is an instrumental guitar album for discerning listeners. And while Cooper’s technique shines on his debut album, so does his sense of song and tone. From the fun rock of “Fireflies” to the sentimental jazz of “Snow Day,” Lines is full of feeling.
And feeling, after all, is the point. Cooper says, “The guitar is one of the most expressive, lyrical instruments on the planet. So if I can inspire some kind of emotional reaction with the instrument then I’m happy.”
When he set out to make the record, Cooper began writing using a Boss Loop Station, an approach that allowed the guitarist to layer and arrange parts without getting lost in the details of making the perfect demo. Once the song concepts were complete, Chris entered the studio, and began recording.
For gear, Chris played a frankenstrat and a 93 Ibanez RT450 through Fender amps. “I generally prefer to use clean Fender amps and get my dirt from pedals. Some overdubs were done with a Gibson SG, a PRS SE singlecut, a borrowed Taylor acoustic, and one of Jeff Savage’s beautiful hand built archtops. Pedals i can’t live without are my MXR Dynacomp, Maxon TS808 clone, a hand built overdrive by Jason LaQuerre, a Boss Turbo Overdrive (which i’ve had for 20 years) and my little 80s Ibanez Delay Champ. I actually use 3 different delay pedals. I kind of like delay, I guess.”
Two weeks later, Lines was born: a seven track album that Cooper describes as “instrumental guitar goodness that encompasses rock, blues, jazz, country, and a little shred for flavoring.”
Chris Cooper started playing guitar in 1988, when he shed years of exposure to The Beatles, The Grateful Dead and The Allman Brothers in favor of the punk scene – bands like Misfits and Dead Kennedys. But it wasn’t until his first exposure to Joe Satriani that Chris understood the possibilities of his instrument.
A friend of his turned him on to some jazz courses at a local college, where Chris found a world of guitar style and musicianship that he hadn’t learned from the super-shredders. The courses had Chris learning from great players and exposure to the music of Wes Montgomery, Pat Metheny, George Benson, Miles Davis and Cannonball Adderly greatly influenced his playing.
Studying jazz didn’t undo his love of rock, though. Chris developed an admiration for Robben Ford, Mike Stern, Eric Johnson, Greg Howe, Guthrie Govan and Jimmy Herring – players whose fusion of advanced harmonic knowledge with overdriven, ripping guitar playing influences Chris greatly. Hybrid pickers like country music’s Brent Mason, Albert Lee and Danny Gatton have also had a hand in shaping Chris’ sound.
And, in Chris’s words, “SRV still kills me every time I hear him.”
Chris’s musical career has spanned decades and styles from fusion to country, both on stage, in the studio and in private lessons. Since 2004, he’s lived in western North Carolina where he performs, creates and edits lessons and product demos on his YouTube channel Blue Collar Shred, records and teaches.
Chris’s self-produced CD, “Lines” is available at iTunes.
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