Mission Door is the initial collection of songs from this songwriter who spent earlier incarnations writing about musicians and music and absorbing what his heroes said; it is apparent he has learned these lessons. For a first offering it is a very powerful statement that has much to say. His eye for detail that he needed as a journalist stands him well as a songwriter, in addition he seems to have an artist's eye in the way he looks at, phrases, and arranges his words and music. His stories are told in a straightforward fashion in a linear manner so they are easy to follow, no beating around bushes and looking to obscure meanings. When you consider that this man is also a professor of Country Music History at Vanderbilt University, in Nashville, TN, it should not come as any surprise. What might come as a surprise is that this is not a straight ahead country disc. In this insane world where everything has to have a little box that it fits in, this is that larger category of roots music; which in this case means it hits many genres without sticking to one and blurs lines of distinction and owes as much to folk, rock, and blues without bothering to announce it.
This is a disc Cooper made with his main collaborator Lloyd Green, who is most known for his pedal steel work (think Sweetheart of The Rodeo among 100s of others), but is as good on the Dobro and is a masterful hand as Cooper's co-producer. The disc is packed with Players who don't mind cross-referencing distinctions and it is both a very engaging disc aurally, and a thought provoking disc mentally. There is a great tribute to Hank Aaron (715 (For Hank Aaron)), a couple of tunes looking at the harder side of life by Eric Taylor and all the rest he either wrote or co-wrote. His songs are filled with stories and some of them will move you one way and others another way, kind of good to go with his flow. This is one of those records that should not be missed because it is that good and also a harbinger of more truths to come.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
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