Ross Cooper is the rare country musician who has actually lived the life of a cowboy. The former professional bareback rider was still bustin’ broncs when his music career began. Though a knee injury sidelined his rodeo career, Cooper drives a band like he’s still wearing spurs and holding on for eight. His new album, I Rode The Wild Horses, pushes country music way past traditional territory just for the rush. It’s the new Nashville sound: glimmering pedal steel, rollicking & rocking telecaster riffs, soulful keys, and gorgeous harmonies.
Cooper grew up surrounded by music taking piano and guitar lessons. By the age of ten he’d written a gospel song with his mom, and set his mind to playing guitar and a life of music. He’s been in Nashville for five years, but Cooper hails from Lubbock, Texas, the hometown of Buddy Holly, and Holly’s influence upon Cooper’s music is clear. Every country song rocks, and every rock song has an unmistakable twang.
Ross Cooper’s career has parallels with Chris Ledoux, the bareback riding world champion and country music star that inspired Garth Brooks’ rodeo songs and rambunctious live shows. Like Ledoux, Cooper began making music while still working the rodeo circuit. Cooper’s rodeo lifestyle provides great material for his songs, but this isn’t just a rodeo record. A fan of both indie-rock and country-folk greats like Guy Clark and John Prine, Cooper draws largely upon small town life and the simplicity it affords. It’s this eclectic taste in music and his time in the trenches with other talented songwriters that makes I Rode The Wild Horses special. The sound of the record ranges from country torch bearers to dirty garage rockers, and from the first note you know this is something different.
Cooper maintains a songwriting integrity and honor that he learned in West Texas and in the rodeo circuit. If you want to hear a story, there’s nothing like getting it straight from the source, and I Rode The Wild Horses is a refreshing take on cowboy music. It’s a showcase of this former bareback rider’s talents as a songwriter and musician.