Peter Cooper

Mission Door

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    7
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Peter Cooper marries his singer/songwriter knack to bright, country music on Mission Door, creating a hybrid that falls within alternative country in today's music scene. The album is highlighted by Cooper's steady vocal delivery, his self-penned songs, and spare arrangements, frequently underpinned by tasteful steel and dobro. Even within these basic arrangements, small variations -- harmonica and accordion -- prevent the flow of the material from becoming overly familiar. There are a number of guest appearances including Nanci Griffith, Todd Snider, and Fayssoux McLean who join Cooper on the title cut. While Cooper has a literary streak, he's smart enough to offer a dash of humor here and there to loosen up the proceedings. A rather odd religious moment also inserts itself about three-fourths of the way through Mission Door. "Sheboygan" almost sounds like "she be gone" but actually identifies a place where the song's narrator is sitting on a bar stool drunk. The song's idea, perhaps tongue in cheek, is that if everything is set in motion by a higher power, then one is doing the Lord's work, even sitting on a bar stool. Call it alternative country religion. Fans will also enjoy the album's liner notes, which include small asides and backdrops to each of Mission Door's songs.

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