From Cooper Williams Band
COOPER WILLIAMS BAND
WHAT IS NORTHERN COUNTRY?
IT’S ALL ABOUT LOVE. At its core, that’s what Northern Country music is all about. At least, that’s what you would think to hear Cooper Williams talk about it. It’s what was going through his mind in late 2015, when he first took pen to paper to write what would become Cooper Williams Band’s first song and single, Bar Pick-up Game.
SO WHO AND WHAT IS COOPER WILLIAMS BAND EXACTLY?
Childhood friends Cooper Williams and Aaron Schine comprise the unapologetically non-traditional country band duo. With Cooper fronting the band with his guitar and Aaron providing the backbone on drums, their sound is at times invigorating and energizing, at others melancholic and balladic, but always delivered with a sense of purpose. Lyrically, the band strikes an iconic balance of light-hearted storytelling and emotional self-awareness that attempts to describe the experience of being a twentysomething guy living in the Northeast - an experience both band members know well.
IMPORTANTLY, NEITHER ONE EXPECTED TO END UP HERE. Cooper and Aaron grew up together, and then went their separate ways for college to pursue wildly different interests. For Cooper, that meant studying aerospace engineering at MIT. For Aaron, it meant heading to Bard College in upstate NY for a degree in philosophy. But as we know, what goes up must come down, and the ‘high’ of college was bookended for both by the stress-inducing thought of “What’s next?”
Cooper Williams Band is about answering that question in a new and profound way. During college, Cooper and Aaron each fell in love with country music, but not without serious reservations about the genre at large.
For Cooper, it happened the summer he and a friend road tripped from Maryland to Tennessee for Countryfest and listened to nonstop country for the nine hour ride to prepare . One crazy weekend in Nashville later,, Cooper had gone from a stranger to country to a fan for life. From the sound of the music to the lifestyle it proposes, everything just seemed to click for him. Says Cooper, “In my mind, there’s nothing better than just sitting back on the roof in the summer with a beer and listening to country music.”
For Aaron, it was also a summer romance. While working in an upstate New York farm woodshop during an internship, he was exposed to the local country radio station, which the crew listened to all day long. “I’m not a farm guy,” says Aaron, “But all of a sudden when I started listening to country music, I felt as if I belonged”. That sense of belonging stuck, and makes him a fan of country to this day.
And yet, sometimes it feels like country music is about excluding others, like marking a line in the sand and only celebrating everyone inside, a xenophobic take on how to live your life. Lee Brice sings, “I’m a member of the drinking class [...] if you’re one of us, raise your glass”, as if to say, “If you’re not one of us, don’t.” In his hit single Boys ‘Round Here, Blake Shelton says that his boys “don’t listen to The Beatles” and there “ain’t a damn one know how to do the dougie”. These kinds of lyrics encourage country dwellers and city goers to stick to their kind.
WELL, AARON DOES LISTEN TO THE BEATLES, AND IF YOU SEE COOPER, YOU SHOULD ASK ABOUT THE DOUGIE.
As it turns out, country music is, as Bradley Gilbert proposes, very much “country wide,” and very much inclusive of a wider audience who, regardless of culture or class, want to hear someone sing about love, and passion, and truth. Cooper Williams Band represents a growing movement in country music trying to appeal to that wider audience, while still paying tribute to the sounds of the great country and rock innovators of the past.
I GET IT. I LIKE IT. SO IS THIS REALLY COUNTRY MUSIC??
This is country music for people who do and create. It’s for the story writers, not the story readers. This is for the people who love life: the ones who go out for a crazy Friday night and run a marathon Saturday morning. Or the ones who dropout of college to make their own path. Or the ones insane enough to know their dreams and pursue them. This is the pursuit of starting a new take on country in none other than Boston, MA. Help us write a history based on passion, good times, and great music.
THIS IS NORTHERN COUNTRY, BROUGHT TO YOU BY COOPER WILLIAMS BAND.