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The Cooper Brothers

In From the Cold (Gunshy Productions)

They were gone for a helluva

long time, but without a doubt the Cooper Brothers have stormed back with a vengeance. Just listen to the opening track Gunshy on this new, Colin Linden-produced disc and there’s no denying they can still kick out the jams and rock with the best of them. That Richard Cooper’s back writing damn good songs, Brian Cooper’s vocals are as rich as ever and the band is together again - with some new, young blood – is cause for celebration. And the raucous opener is just the beginning. Popular in Canada (and

legends in Ottawa and the Valley always) in the late 70s, the band last recorded new material for an album in 1983, then went their separate ways. A best-of collection and some occasional live performances renewed the energy and the musical urge: the result is this aptly–titled collection of country-influenced ballads and rockers. The song writing is clever and heartfelt, the musicianship stellar and the harmonies soaring. In From the Cold is the Cooper Brothers older and wiser but still making great music. ‘62 Fairlane is a sweet lament

for a lost era, Jukebox a rave-up featuring the king of roadhouse country-blues himself, the great Delbert McClinton on harmonica and harmonies, and another

special guest – Blue Rodeo’s Jim Cuddy - shares lead vocals on the understated, wistfully-beautiful Hard Luck Girl. The first single, That’s What

Makes Us Great, is an ode to being proudly Canadian and, in keeping with the lads’ well- known fondness for old-style watering holes (The Prescott and the Carleton Tavern get mentions in the liner notes), the video was shot at the venerable Elmdale Tavern in Ottawa. Paradise Pie and Tear Down the Walls are social/political commentaries well disguised as catchy, up-tempo rocker,s while The Way She Shines and Little Blue Church bring to mind other roots-based bands like the Jayhawks, the Old ‘97’s or the Bottle Rockets, just made distinctively their own by the band. Toss in a few artfully penned

and ably performed slower numbers (Love of Ages, Our Love Deserves Better, Never Cease To Amaze – featuring great pedal steel work) and there you have it – this album’s the complete package. The bros are back and their initial offering should amply satisfy their long-patient fans while creating another generation of new ones.

OOOOout of five

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