Dug deep in the rich soil of American music, cross-genre guitarist Citizen Cope’s music blends hip-hop with folk, soul and blues and harkens to the likes of Bill Withers, Neil Young, John Lee Hooker, Van Morrison, Willie Nelson or Al Green.
Cope will perform at the Vilar Performing Arts Center today at 8 p.m. General admission tickets are $55 and available at the Vilar Center box office, by calling 970-845-8497 or by visiting http://www.vilarpac.org. The VPAC is located under the ice rink in Beaver Creek Village.
Cooking Up Beats
Born Clarence Greenwood, Citizen Cope was a child of the ’70s, and his life journey is as singular as his art. He is the radically mashed-up product of Greenville, Mississippi; Memphis, Tennessee; Vernon, Texas; Austin, Texas; Washington, D.C.; and Brooklyn, New York. These locations are felt in his songs — southern rural, big sky lonely, concrete urban and painfully romantic.
In Austin during the ’80s, he took sound classes and found himself fooling with a primitive four-track setup. Turntables intrigued him. He heard hip-hop as inspired invention. For years, he got lost in his self-designed lab, cooking up beats and motifs that only later would be shaped into songs.
In the midst of the squalor, grandeur and hypocrisy of the nation’s capitol, Cope set up camp. Vocalist Michel Ivey recruited him as a mad scientist who feverishly concocted samples for the artsy-edgy configuration known as Basehead. As the group hit the road, Cope stayed in the background, moving dials and pushing buttons. Inside of his head, he heard stories that still had not assumed full form.
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On record, his vision is…
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