One of the finest songwriters you'll ever hear, our good friend Peter Cooper,
has crafted an album made up entirely of songs by one of the greats, Eric Taylor.
Next week, on Friday November 13, that album, Depot Light: Songs of Eric Taylor, will be out in the world for you to listen to and love as much as we do.
Hey Peter!!! What's up with the Eric Taylor tribute record?
This is not a tribute album.
It’s me—Carolina-raised, Nashville-residing, Grammy-losing Peter Cooper—singing the songs of Eric Taylor, a man whose notions of rhyme, melody, meter, and story shaped and changed the way I think and feel about music.
I’m not singing these songs in tribute. I’m singing them because they are the songs I most wanted to sing. Some people, even some people in my troubadour tribe, haven’t heard them before. I hope they download this thing, or hear it on some streaming service, and assume that I wrote them.
My hopes won’t be realized, though. Nobody is going to think I wrote these songs. Hell, no one will think Kristofferson or Tom T. Hall or Chuck Berry or Billy Joe Shaver or Patty Griffin or John Prine or Todd Snider wrote them. Eric Taylor songs aren’t in competition with anyone else’s. They are singular, not similar. They exist in their own world.
I spend a lot of time around singers and songs. And none of them remind me of Eric Taylor. Thomm Jutz, who co-produced this album and played the guitar parts, will back me up. Thomm’s last name is pronounced “Yootz,” like how a guy from Brooklyn might refer to young people. He and I were in the van one day, listening to guitar-vocal demos that Lyle Lovett produced, long-ago, on Eric Taylor. We started thinking aloud about making an Eric Taylor tribute album, maybe bringing in Lyle or Rosanne Cash or others who love Eric’s songs. But, in the end, I wanted these for myself. Why spread ‘em around when I could steal them outright.
I’ve given you some of the back-story here, but you don’t need it. You might need these stories, though, and these lines. Someone else writes about a barroom. Eric writes, “The good times scratched a laugh from the lungs of the young men.” Someone else writes of piss-ant retribution. Eric writes, “The all-night waitress, she just talks too much / So he steals her spoon, and her coffee cup.” Someone else writes of loss. Eric writes, “Every night but one, by God, she came on home with me.”
This is rare and wondrous stuff, through no fault of my own.You’re welcome to it.
-- Peter Cooper