Because Songs Matter


Many longtime Drive-By Truckers‘ fans have long speculated about what a Mike Cooley solo album would be like.  Going back as far as Southern Rock Opera Cooley’s songs were fewer in number but high in stature.  His songs were usually the most poignant on any given album so the thought that if he could ever produce an album full of his own songs it would be legendary. The problem is that the reason he had so few songs per album because he didn’t write many songs per year.

A Fool On Every Corner isn’t exactly the solo album that many of us dreamed of but it’s still a lot of fun. It’s only been in the last few years that Cooley started playing acoustic solo shows and A Fool On Every Corner is a simple document of a couple of those shows.

Since an album like this doesn’t need much of a review my initial idea was to try and ask Cooley 5 questions over email.  I mentioned it to AutopsyIV and he passed along a possible email address to reach someone who could reach Cooley.  Then I got nervous.  It’s Mike fucking Cooley and I was afraid he would trash my questions, that my attempts to be witty or insightful would be met with contempt and ridicule.  I have no basis for this thought but in our little scene there are probably few people that are held in the esteem and puzzlement as Mike Cooley.  If you own the Alabama Ass Whuppin album listen to the part where Patterson describes what an Alabama ass whuppin’ is, then listen for Cooley’s small part.  So I was afraid.

Then I read this article from Pop Matters. The article is incredibly well thought out and written.  There are great opinions and insights into Cooley’s music.  And there were quotes so good from Cooley that I knew nothing I put together would be as good as this.  I’ll leave a great quote below but the whole article is well well well worth your time.

What does he hope his kids will take from their dad’s songs? “Hopefully very little,” and he laughs (that requisite self-deprecation) before narrowing his eyes to consider. “Hopefully they’re having a little trouble relating to it right now. But as they start studying literature and getting into reading more complex stuff, maybe they’ll look and go, ‘Wow, my dad does that.’ You know, maybe make a connection between me and something respectable.” He then follows with a chuckle to take the edge off.

-Jason Leahey, PopMatters.

Mike Cooley - Cottonseed     

Mike Cooley - Eyes Like Glue     

Official Site, On Facebook, On Spotify, Buy A Fool On Every Corner


  1. Andy Andy
    January 30, 2013    

    To be quite honest, I really didn’t care for this. I love Cooley, I love him much more than Patterson actually. It was on this site or another that someone quoted to something along the lines that: “Patterson writes better lyrics, but Cooley writes better songs.” If anything this album supports that theory. Cooley’s songs are productions and bring you on a roller-coaster ride. Cooley alone, without an electric guitar just can’t do that. I’ll still spin it and I don’t mind giving Mike my money, I just wish he could pull a good solid solo album a la what Patterson has done.

    • January 30, 2013    

      I wouldn’t be surprised if DBT called it quits in a few years. (I have absolutely zero basis for this claim) If that actually happens I would be that within a year or two Cooley would put out an actual solo record. That would be something to shit a brick about.

      • willy willy
        January 30, 2013    

        It is not that i did not care for this record it was simply that the songs were not as compelling as the songs are with the truckers. cooley is my favorite trucker and his songs are all mind blowing to say the least. not sure what my point is, but i would not be surprised if charles is right about the truckers and a cooley solo record….peace and thanks for the reviews as always.

  2. Matt L. Matt L.
    January 31, 2013    

    Solo acoustic, even from a guy as great as Mike Cooley, kinda wears me out.

    HOWEVER, I saw the DBT in concert last Friday in Austin. Best live show from them since Isbell left (and I have never seen them turn in anything other than a great live performance). Just epic.

  3. Scott Fuchs Scott Fuchs
    January 31, 2013    

    I agree with the commenters that dig Cooley but didn’t much care for this album. Somehow it left me cold, too. I’m a big Cooley fan, but these songs just don’t work for me acoustically.

    • January 31, 2013    

      totally on board with you Scott.

  4. Gprd Gprd
    February 1, 2013    

    I find this a very strange release. Cooley with the DBT’s or acoustic doesn’t really matter to me both fantastic. What I can not figure out is the poor bootleg quality production or the choice of songs to omit Zip City and Uncle Frank. To me it is like Isbell not including Outfit off a live release. Signature songs in my opinion.

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