Top Ten CD's of 2011

Cary Cooper - Pink Umbrella. By simply picking up a ukulele, this already-great songwriter has found her muse. One song after another, done in her own somewhat quirky way, yet with depth and brimming with heart and soul. She is stepping up her game and stepping out with a voice that's all her own.

Hudson Harding Music

Pink Umbrella is really stunning. It's smart pop writing, the gamut of emotions from fun to cute, flirty, sensitive and gutsy. If you liked Cary Cooper's stuff before, you're going to love the new record.

Wise Madness

Cary's music is just like Cary, intelligent, clever, and adorable.

Buddy Magazine

On Pink Umbrella, Cary Cooper shares mostly thoughtful songs, mostly about everyday life: humor in the face of common adversity, letting go, insecurities and inspiration, childhood memories and a mother’s prayer, the actor Jimmy Stewart and other movie stars in a short essay on love being hard to do, an apparently metaphorical song about a flower so close to blooming under the snow as spring is almost here, etc. “Whimsical” certainly comes to mind, but “wispy” does not. This mother of two teenagers, with her little-girl voice, fits loosely, perhaps, within the folk genre. There’s a bit of pleasantly delivered angst – “she’s just a drop in the bucket, nobody knows” and “if I could, I would have let you inside . . . peel back the layers, what do you see, nothing in the middle but me” – and a bit of wistful humor – “I went and left you for Jesus, it seemed like the right thing to do . . . I always had more fun with you.” Cooper’s husband, Tom Prasada-Rao, co-produced the 13 original songs – three of them co-writes – with Jagoda (no first or last name used, depending on which Jagoda is; perhaps I should know). The supporting cast is fine: Jason Rafalak, Brad Yoder, Radoslav Lorkovic, Jeffrey Barnes, Rich Feridun, and teen daughter Hannah-Kate Odom; “other” daughter Caroline apparently isn’t on this one. – Tom Geddie

Disciplined Destiny

The setting is St. John's Lutheran Church on Christopher Street in the West Village. I'm a little late and Cary Cooper has already begun her set. She's wearing short sweater dress over tights and boots. Cowboy boots I'm guessing as she is a Texan. It's been a while since I saw Cary perform, the first time seeing her gig solo. The voice I've always enjoyed. Part little girl, part rebel, part philosopher. All dissolve into pure woman when her Texan twang meets heart softening lyrics. Like my favorite new song: Nothing in the Middle. I don't wanna give up my story I don't wanna give up my pride I don't wanna give you the glory If I could I would let you inside. Peel back the layers What do ya see? Nothing in the middle but me Nothing in the middle but me. If I had to give up my story If I had to give it to you Would you hold on to it for me Would you know what to do with the truth? If you had to unravel my story Would you be ok when you see Do you think you would be sorry When there's nothing in the middle but me. Peel back the layers What do ya see? Nothing in the middle but me Nothing in the middle but me. Now imagine this backed up by a Ukele. That's right you heard me. Oddly fitting for the frolicksome songs this elfgirl wrote for her third album: Pink Umbrella. Performing live she's backed by Ritt Henn whose plucks on the double bass provide a gentle cushion for the lilting melodies. Then there's the drummer playing the underside of a tambourine with drum brushes. I've heard his named whispered before. Jagoda's playing on the album or he's producing the new song. Jagoda turns out to be a surnameless musican with an eerie affinity for rhythm, drumbeat in particular. That and a wickedly dry sense of humor. That they are exceptional musicans is obvious. The ease with which they perform blows me away. Cary owns the solo limelight with the casual confidence of a longtime pro. The stories she scatters between songs mark her a true folk singer. Like Left You for Jesus with the hilarious line: "Till another fella broke your your spell." What poor sot has a chance against Jesus? Even if the son of God isn't that romantic and doesn't party much? The timing of this solo tour is perfectly timed. Cary and husband Tom Prasada-Rao both appear on CW's Troubadour, TX. A reality show about Texan singers. Finally the big bad world gets to hear my favorite male vocalist! Topped off with the beauty and winesome charm of Cary, methinks there's super stardom brewing for that family. If you don't catch Cary live you can check out her albums, listen to snips of her latest stuff and watch the latest episode of Troubadour, TX. If she does drop into your neck of the woods, give her a listen.