Cary Cooper has one of those voices—the kind you long for at the end of a hard day. She starts singing and you just sit back, close your eyes and breathe a little deeper. The Dallas-based singer-songwriter has delivered a masterpiece in the form of her latest record, Dirty Little Secret. The gentle, mostly acoustic arrangements weave effortlessly around the intimate poetry of Cooper’s lyrics. “My dirty little secret spilled out on the kitchen floor as you pour your second cup of tea / And I can’t clean it up the way I always did before, on the sly so no one else could see,” she confesses on the title track. Cooper gets help on Secret from producer Tom Prasada-Rao and fellow musicians Tim Burlingame (Sweet Talk Radio), Jonathan Byrd and Mary Gauthier. But even with such indie star power, it’s Cooper who shines brightest. One thing’s for sure—if she keeps making music like this she won’t remain a secret for long. —MW
True to its title, Cary Cooper’s Dirty Little Secret plays like a night of bedside confessions — some fun and flirty, others hinting at perhaps even deeper secrets best left hidden. But even when revealing her guilty pleasure of sharing questionably platonic phone calls on the sly with a man who’s not her significant other, Cooper’s delivery is softened with a reassuring sweetness that makes you want to hear more. Although both Cooper and her producer husband, Tom Prasada-Rao, are Kerrville New Folk winners, there’s nothing remotely folky about Dirty Little Secret; it’s light, airy adult-contemporary pop reminiscent of Lisa Loeb or Abra Moore. But apart from the giddy “Every Thing is Coming True,” the record is often subtle to a fault, full of quiet little melodies that discreetly tap you on the shoulder rather than overtly hook you. But as the hushed beauty of “Edge of the World” makes clear from the start, Cooper and her little secrets are worth your attention.
"Cary Cooper's new CD has captured me. It is so very well written, well sung and well recorded that I've found myself listening over and over again for the sheer pleasure of it, and the songs now sit in my heart like old friends. Her song stories are tales of a woman's hard earned wisdom as she embarks on that lonely spiritual journey that leads her to her self. Cary's voice is disarming and seductive, beautiful and inviting, but beware, these tales are not all easy to swallow. The road is rocky and the lessons come hard. But what an honest ride she takes us on! This is a wonderful record, and I hope that people will discover it and fall in love with it like I have."
While outside the clouds are gathering and it appears that the city can prepare for more rain, inside the sun is shining. The cause of this delight is ‘Dirty Little Secret’, the third solo album of Texas singer-songwriter Cary Cooper, who along with husband / musician / producer Tom Prasada-Rao also recorded two albums as The Dreamsicles. Honesty compels me to say that until recently Cary Cooper was a noble stranger to me and that I learned about her music during one of my musical excursions on the Internet. But the reception was more than pleasant. ‘Dirty Litlle Secret’ contains some of the most intimate songs I’ve heard this year. The liner notes on the CD are significant to this regard: ‘I’ve always been afraid of he truth. This collection of songs is my coming out party. ‘ And what a wonderful party this CD is! The opening ballad ‘Edge Of The World’ offers a more than a decent impression of what the following eleven songs will bring. A beautiful melody, a soft, somewhat sultry voice, sometimes reminiscent of Sheryl Crow and Shawn Colvin, lyrics that have nothing to hide, and a bunch of musicians who pour their hearts out into each song (just listen to the simple but very expressive cello of Dirje Smith). Songs like ‘Have Faith In Me’, ‘For The God Whose Name I Used To Know ‘(great lyrics!) and ‘Consider Me ‘(a short piano ballad about doubt and the difficult road to building and maintaining self-confidence) show Cary Cooper from her most sensitive and truthful side. What makes these songs, and essentially the whole album, this strong is that the intimacy never gets over the top or becomes pathetic. That’s a trap many other artists are not always able to avoid. Partly thanks to the excellent production of Tom Prasada-Rao, who chose a nice open and bright sound, Cary Cooper succeeds in avoiding this trap. And that is no small merit. Some listeners / readers might say ‘Dirty Little Secret’ is slightly too soft or too soft-hearted. As there are people who don’t like Impressionist painters or the poetry of the Roman poet Ovid. So be it. It won’t keep me from frequently gazing at these paintings, reading those poems and enjoying this great album.
Cary Cooper’s Dirty Little Secret is filled with thoughtful emotional dances about the secrets we keep from others and ourselves, and the freedom in letting them out. Her almost-little-girl whisper of a voice wraps itself around simple-but-not-too-simple lyrics and music that sometimes reaches toward layers of lushness. The dozen songs are basically smooth alt-pop, whatever that means; they’re mostly originals that Cooper wrote or co-wrote. To break Dirty Little Secrets into the two traditional genders and to flirt with the stereotypes, Cooper expresses a strong female viewpoint in the songs, which may mean that women will empathize the most while men need to hear it the most. Maybe these are messages for her two daughters; maybe these are just songs about what was on her mind, maybe . . . She sings of falling off the “Edge of the World” again, hoping for somebody to catch her or join her in the atmosphere. She sings of self-worth and insecurity, and of wanting to face the future rather than her fears. She sings of no longer being shackled to her shame, and of wondering whether happiness will last. Cooper doesn’t make it sound depressing, though; the CD borders on seductive without crossing any lines. Tom Prasado-Rao plays a bunch of guitars and keyboards and strings, accompanied by several folks on various other songs.
I first came to hear of Texas native Cary Cooper, through Facebook, no less and was immediately impressed. She has received rave reviews from numerous sources, one no less than Mary Gauthier. Her third CD, Dirty Little Secrets, comprises twelve songs, all written by Cary or her Tom Prasada Ro, who also produced the CD and added musical accompaniment, with some assistance from Tim Burlingame (Sweet Talk Radio), Jonathan Byrd and the aforementioned Mary Gauthier. Perhaps the scene is already set for the CD by Cary’s liner notes; “ I’ve always been afraid of the truth. This collection of songs is my coming out party. Here’s to all our dirty little secrets...and having the courage to hold them up to the light“This suggests exactly what we get, a CD of honest, from the heart songs, which cannot fail to move us, reaching our very own human experiences and emotions. Each song seems to represent part of her long and at times, difficult, journey of self discovery and self awareness. Let’s face it, which of us hasn’t or won’t find ourselves on at least part of that path during our lifetime? This suggests exactly what we get, a CD of honest, from the heart songs, which cannot fail to move us, reaching our very own human experiences and emotions. Each song seems to represent part of her long and at times, difficult, journey of self discovery and self awareness. Let’s face it, which of us hasn’t or won’t find ourselves on at least part of that path during our lifetime? The opening track, is a beautiful ballad, in which she articulates her wish that some one would catch her, or at least, join her where she finds herself. Simple and just beautiful. The title track Dirty Little Secrets, talks of playful, flirty secrets, whilst hinting at deeper, more damaging secrets, the kind left buried. In other songs she tells us of the freedom of no longer being ‘shackled’ to her shame and of her fears and hopes and dreams for the future. Everything is Coming True is full of joy as it tells of everything falling into place. At times her voice is sultry and emotional; at times more upbeat and almost playful, full of joy. In my mind, this is a very rare CD, where every song in the collection shines, for differing reasons. Standout tracks are perhaps, For The God I Used To Know, Seventh Grade, Forgive What I Find and Consider Me. I truly cannot pick a favourite song, which is rare for me, and with repeated listening it just becomes more clear what a stunning release this is. Thinking about it, I can only hope that Cary Cooper’s name becomes more widely known in the USA and Europe. Her music is certainly no Dirty Little Secret, and recognition is the very least that she and her stunning music deserve. Helen Mitchell
With her muted delivery and acoustic accompaniment, Cary Cooper projects the fragile, self-effacing image of a forlorn folkie dwelling among dark shadows. But there's a ruminative beauty that radiates through Dirty Little Secret songs like "Edge of the World", :wondering" and the title track. Cooper occasionally injects spunk and spark into her quiet laments as evidenced by the unexpected appearance of hip-hop cadences in the otherwise characteristically gentle "Thinking About It" and the exuberance found in "Seventh Grade". The high-profile musical support she attracts here from the likes of Mary Guathier, Dave Crossland and Emory Joseph (who all contribute backing vocals) suggest taht Cooper likely won't stay a secret - dirty, little or otherwise - for much longer.

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