Singer/songwriter Clarence Greenwood, also known as Citizen Cope, has delivered a new acoustic album, The Pull of Niagara Falls, that reflects heavily on the artist’s early career while delivering three new striking, insightful songs and a cover of Randy Newman’s “A Wedding In Cherokee County.”
“‘The Pull of Niagara Falls’ is a lyrically heavy, ballad based, acoustic and vocal driven collection of songs,” Greenwood says. “I’ve read a lot about how Bruce Springsteen recorded ‘Nebraska,’ because I ‘ve had difficulty recording an acoustic album in the past, and wanted some insight. The compositions are weighted in what some may consider dark themes lived through the uncelebrated and flawed characters’ paths between cultural weariness and individual perseverance. The album touches on the symbolism of the shotgun in American culture, weaving in a storyline of an accidental homicide in a rural small town.”
Many of the songs on The Pull of Niagara Falls were originally written in the late ‘90s in Washington, DC, in the early years, prior to Greenwood’s debut. Originally intended for use on a never-released debut album entitled Shotguns, the those tracks document creative and personal coming of age for Greenwood as a songwriter.
The theme of album centers around the shotgun as an American cultural symbol of fear and its relationship to incarceration, institutionally and personally. Cope covers various uncomfortable topics ranging from the estrangement between a father and a son on “Family” to “Officer Friendly,” a song dealing with the rural backroad accidental manslaughter of a young man in a hunting accident.
“Difficult conversations of family, country, regret and loss are forged in the storytelling and ultimately reveal the unmatched ability of the human spirit to endure, where there exists a gravitational pull to fall,” Greenwood says.
The Pull of Niagara Falls is a take on America through the eyes of uncelebrated counterculture characters, mostly narrated through the view of the one supposedly doing wrong. “To do a thematic concept record on my debut proved a bit challenging,” says Greenwood. “I haven’t attempted to weave a storyline of songs together intentionally since, but it has happened naturally in some cases where songs connected to one another thematically. Now you can hear these songs as I wrote them on guitar and vocals. Very bare. But they are new recordings. And I felt the need to document these works.”