Citizen Cope: Bowery Ballroom, New York, NY 2/12/10

With the anticipation of the release of The Rainwater LP behind him, Clarence Greenwood (a.k.a. Citizen Cope) is back to his cool and collective musical ways. The New Yorker took the Bowery Ballroom stage last Friday, performing a collaboration of new and old Cope classics for a jam-packed Lower East Side crowd.


 If you’re unfamiliar with the name Citizen Cope, I suggest you add it to your musical vocabulary.  Refreshing and real, Cope delivers his soul through his lyrics—his work a musically truthful look into his life.


Friday’s show opener, “Keep Askin’,” got fans moving to the beat of Cope’s ethereal, yet enticing vocals.  The catchy and powerful “Healing Hands,” another track from Rainwater, paired reggae rhythms with Citizen Cope’s signature soulful sound.


Favorites like “Bullet And A Target,” “Hurricane Waters,” and “Son’s Gonna Rise” had fans clapping along, and despite his calm exterior, Cope seemed more than happy to be performing them.  But it was the heartfelt “Every Waking Moment” that brought the show to the next level. Cope’s stripped down vocal delivery was simple, yet so powerful that it was easy to lose yourself in the words and melody. “If There’s Love” was another shining moment, as the crowd swayed when Cope sang, “You make me feel like I belong under the sun…”


Show opener Alice Smith took the stage with Cope on “107 Degrees.” Refreshing and talented, Smith shined on her solos, but the duo failed to make a match on their harmonies, as the unique vocals of both performers repelled when fused together.  The encore brought an acoustic Cope and a solid performance of “Salvation,” a track off his first self-titled album, Citizen Cope.


But, it’s Cope’s allegiance to the Big Apple that brought the energy to this Bowery Ballroom show. “I’m glad to be back in New York,” he said on stage.


We’re pretty glad, too.



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