Ben Cooper
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Ben Cooper

Band Rock Acoustic


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"Raw performances make for an authentic recording"

If you ask Ben Cooper, the integrity of music is best captured and expressed when it is a live performance: Raw, stripped down and authentic.

It’s the reason the singer/songwriter decided to make his first solo CD a live studio album, and why he decided to title it Integrity.

“I think it was important to capture the performance. It’s not as fabricated,” he says. “I love performing and I think, or I hope, that comes across when you hear the album.”

After moving to Ottawa from Northern Ontario seven years ago, Cooper formed the band Stone Melodies, and recorded an EP and two full-length CDs. But after the members parted ways, Cooper saw a chance to return to his musical roots and draw upon the classic country and rock artists that inspired him to learn music in the first place.

As a one-man show, Cooper’s music has twangs of country mixed with catchy rock melodies, and bittersweet blues. His album is eclectic, but not disjointed. Maybe because of the live approach, or maybe just thanks to Cooper’s skill, it always seems natural.

Cooper says it took him a year to write, produce and record Integrity, but it may have taken a lot less time if not for a serious computer malfunction. Of course, it might have also been a very different album.

“I had almost a full album, recorded, polished and on my hard drive. My computer had a meltdown and I lost everything, but instead of getting upset I just thought screw it. I need to do it live this time, without all the bells and whistles.”

When I ask him if that computer malfunction was just an accident, or the universe’s way of sending him a message, Cooper pauses for a moment, then answers.

“Maybe it was a message, because I do think this is the album I was meant to make.”

Ben Cooper plays Sunday at 7:30 p.m. at Café Dekuf, 221 Rideau St. He will be joined by Peter Voith, Tyler Kealey, Shawn Tavanier and Jeff Rogers. Tickets are $10.

kim mannix vermette/metro ottawa - Metro News

"Top rock act releases disc"

Ottawa's Stone Melodies set to support new release

The "Best Band in Ottawa" is back - and with a new reason to prove why they hold the title.

Stone Melodies, a local rock quartet that gained local and national fame when they beat 88 other local acts to win the Ottawa portion of the Emergenza International Music Festival in 2003 and then won the Ottawa songwriting contest in 2005, celebrated the release of their new album with an intimate crowd of about 50 close friends and fans at the trendy Mercury Lounge on Feb. 23.

The evening, which marked the first day of the album's sales, was meant as an appreciation night for the band's dedicated fans. The band will celebrate the album's official release with a CD release party at Barrymore's Music Hall on Apr. 1.

"We're very excited about it," said drummer Jamie Urie of the album's release. "It's been a long time coming."

The band hopes that this release will mark the beginning of many good things to come for them. They are looking forward to being able to start touring in the coming months and hope the new album will draw attention from labels interested in signing them.

And they seem to be off to a good start in accomplishing these goals. The band already has a mini-tour scheduled in the United States for March. They plan to hit major cities like Chicago and will be accompanied through the tour by Bottle of Justus.

Despite the success these rockers have seen in recent years, they have managed to remain grounded and concentrate on their music.

"I think we all settled into it quickly because we'd all been in battle of the bands competitions before," said frontman Ben Cooper. "None of us were really overwhelmed by it.

"It's something to live up to," he added, referring to the media having called them the best act in Ottawa after winning the songwriting contest. "But I don't look at it that way. You can't really judge art."

But they don't deny the impact the exposure has had on their collective musical careers.

"There have been a lot of changes," said guitarist Jarrett Lee. "The best thing was getting the song on the radio and meeting a producer, which allowed us to get the album finished."

The 10-track album combines recordings of crowd favourites like "Typical" and "What Were You Thinking" as well as newer material, such as the song "Beautiful Place."

And it's exactly the type of record that will make it hard for any other act to steal their well-deserved title from their grip. - Exposure Magazine


Integrity – An Intimate Acoustic Performance fall – Fall 2007 Self Produced

Stone Melodies (self Titled) – Spring 2006
Produced by Albert chambers (Sky, David Usher, Simple Plan)

Stone Melodies – Reel 2004
Self Produced

Stone melodies – Alien Summer 2003
Produced by Chad Nesrallah Fat Dog Studios



He is the independent artist, the business man, the creative genius and the talented musician that make up this new generation of musicians. He is all of that, and humble.

Ben Cooper has been a part of the Ottawa music scene for years leading the way at bringing the local scene to the Canadian public and making Ottawa’s hot-bed of talent, the next big thing. His musical ability is unparalleled, yet complementary to many of today’s best musicians. His music is captivating and haunting like Cold Play, or poppy and rocking like Chris Cornell. He has a bit of that reggae spirit, that low down dirty rock and that upbeat happy pop that make him unbeatable when it comes to writing music. He won the Canadian Music Week (CMW) National Song Writing competition in 2005, and beat out the world’s best during the Emergenza competition in 2003. He’s been writing and publishing music for BMG and asked to open for some great Canadian legends.

His local fame and national recognition have kept him busy. A solo release of some of his old and new songs, recorded live and acoustic, was released in the fall of 2007, and he is slated to start working on his next album this fall with local power house Eric Eggleston as his producer.

Nothing stops this man from moving forward and discovering the new sounds and inspirations that make his music so compelling. Ben’s next project will be a revolution in sound combining former members of Stone Melodies with local greats like Peter Voith and Tyler Kealey, into creating a rich-eclectic mix of “what the future holds”. Dobro and slide guitar music will grace his new album, mixing that twang with solid rock bass chords, steady thumping drums and piano melodies, giving homage to greats like Ben Harper and Xavier Rudd while steadily committing to that Ben Cooper sound with lilting hooks, strong lyrics and memorable melodies.

He will be pulling out all the stops at this year’s Ottawa Cisco Systems Blues Fest, showcasing his new work, and paying tribute to his old songs such as ‘Typical’, the CNW competition winner, and ‘The Night George Harrison Died.’ It’s a guarantee that he will be swooning on the microphone like a young Elvis Presley, and rocking out like a young Bruce Springsteen. His Blues Fest appearance this year will leave audiences anticipating his next album giving them just a small taste of the big hits that are about to come.

Event: Ottawa Blues Fest
Location: Barney Danson Theatre
Time: 7:15 pm
Date: Thursday July 10th

Winner of CMW National Songwriting Competition 2005
Winner of Emergenza Music Festival 2003

Venues played:
Cisco Systems Ottawa Bluesfest 2007-2008
Blacksheep Inn - Wakefield
Horseshoe Tavern - Toronto
Barrymore's Music Hall - Ottawa
Club Soda - Montreal

Opened for:
The Trews
Jeff Martin (Tea Party)
Wide Mouth Mason

Show Cases:
Co-produced the Eric Haycock benefit concert for Muscular Dystrophy, Summer 2008. Money raised went to the Muscular Dystrophy Foundation