Music : "Coming back"
Citizen Cope (a.k.a. Clarence Greenwood) came out of Washington D.C. with a new sound - a sound that possessed the beat and the grit of modern urban society.
Citizen Cope released his self-titled debut album in 2002 on DreamWorks but left after poor record sales. He was finally picked up by RCA in 2004, and it is with them that he released, "The Clarence Greenwood Recordings."
Although mainstream radio seemed to all but ignore him, Citizen Cope managed to win the attention he craved. It came as a result of a laborious 16-month U.S. tour of colleges and clubs to find a youth-driven following.
His newest release, "Every Waking Moment," found success with many of its songs being used for television shows, movies, and commercials. While this direction may gain him some new fans, there is a possibility it might also dilute the integrity and authenticity that make Citizen Cope special. It would not be the first time commercial success has swallowed the individuality of a performer.
Citizen Cope conveys his lyrics rhythmically and softly. This is part of his intrigue. It is what draws you in and allows his lyrics to have impact.
The subtle balance in dynamics between music and voice is where Citizen Cope's live performance hinges. If the emotion of his vocals is buried by the music that supports it, all is lost - and this is a balance that pivots on the finest of lines. Those who attended Citizen Cope's packed performance at Outerland last summer found this to be the case at times, but this did not deter them from enjoying the concert immensely and from commenting on his overall charisma and intensity.
"The crowd sang along to every song, everyone was dancing. But the best part was how accessible he was," said Nettie Kent of West Tisbury, who attended the concert last summer. "After the show he didn't hide out backstage. He came out and talked and hung out with everybody."
Citizen Cope is no stranger to Martha's Vineyard. He has been coming here for years and has friends and ties here. His show, scheduled this Saturday, June 28, will no doubt have the atmosphere of a homecoming. There has been a buzz building for this show for weeks now, and a full house is expected. This is also the first big show of the season for the Outerland.
Whitney Dailey, the talent buyer for the Outerland, looks forward to the concert. "It's totally going to be a packed show," she said. "This year we are going to have a much more well-rounded schedule with more hip-hop and eclectic stuff. It will be great to kick off the season with Cope and his band."
Citizen Cope played two shows at Outerland last year, but this year it will be the one and only. He will be bringing his full band and possibly Alice Smith, whose sexy soul singing opened last year's performance. But whoever performs and whatever happens, this music is really something different and worth going out to hear.
Singer/songwriter Colin Ruel is a frequent performer on the Island, and regularly contributes music reviews.