He’s coming, so cope with it

Clarence Greenwood, known on stage as Citizen Cope, will be kicking off his fall tour on Wednesday, September 13, at South Burlington’s Higher Ground. The tour is in support of his newest album, Every Waking Moment, scheduled for release on September 12. Originally from Memphis, Cope relocated to Washington, DC and found his musical niche. It was during his time there that he developed his unique style – a blend of folk, soul, rock and hip hop. Cope’s appeal comes from his ability to create multilayered and provocative songs over the simplest of music. Most of his songs are juxtaposed with a loose hip hop beat, a piano or a guitar. The lyrics themselves are uncomplicated, sounding like a minimalist poem-spare, but descriptive and powerful. His style is deliberate and drawly. What may seem tedious to some is refreshing for others, and with Cope’s delivery over smoky beats, his carefully written lyrics have more ability to sink in. In recent years he has found commercial success, literally, with the single, “Son’s Gonna Rise” airing on a commercial for Pontiac. From the 2004 album, The Clarence Greenwood Recordings, the ominous but optimistic song also enjoyed airtime on “One Tree Hill.” As the title indicates, the song describes not the literal “sun” rising, but the drive to the hospital where a “son” will be born. Cope has also collaborated with Carlos Santana on the song “Sideways” which appeared on Santana’s 2002 album, Shaman. Cope, now based in Brooklyn, describes his new album on his website as “stripped away.” He says he steered clear of anything that “didn’t enhance the material or make the songs better,” a new move, considering Cope has been accused of stretching material too far at times. Citizen Cope is playing his newest tracks live at Higher ground on September 13.