b. 1970, Tampa, Florida, USA. Raised in a religious family, his father is a Baptist preacher, Cockrell first heard country music on the radio, which contrasted with the gospel music he heard in church. With the church in mind as a career, he attended Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University, then attended the Southeast Baptist Theological Seminary in North Carolina. It was during this period that he began playing guitar at a local coffeehouse. He formed a band, Starlite Country, to play in clubs at nearby Raleigh and made a demo disc. This was Stack Of Dreams, and it was picked up and released in 2001 by Mile Of Music Recordings. One track, ‘Pretending’, gained popularity owing to achieving second place in the Chris Austen Songwriting Contest at Merlefest 2000.
In the late 90s, Cockrell had met singer Caitlin Cary, ex-Whiskeytown, and they became an attractive and successful duo. Concurrent with her work in the duo, Cary was a member of Tres Chicas with Tonya Lamm and Lynn Blakey. Teaming up offstage as well as on, Cockrell and Cary wrote songs together, sometimes singing and recording them independently, sometimes together. Among these songs were ‘Thick Walls Down’ and ‘Please Break My Heart’, both of which Cary recorded on solo albums.
Cockrell and Cary continued to work independently and as a duo. In 2005 they released Begonias, on which they duet with considerable flair, delivering several of their attractive compositions, including a subtly reworked version of ‘Please Break My Heart’ and the unusual, conversational and seven minutes-long ‘Conversations About A Friend (Who’s In Love With Katie)’. Cockrell sings in a high, plaintive tenor, a vocal sound that fits well the nature of the songs he writes, songs that tell of love lost or unrequited.