Citizen Cope to perform in Grass Valley |

Citizen Cope to perform in Grass Valley

The Center for the Arts will bring singer/songwriter Citizen Cope for a solo acoustic concert Grass Valley's Veterans Memorial Auditorium on Feb. 7.
Submitted photo |

WHO: Citizen Cope

WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 7

WHERE: Veterans Memorial Auditorium, 255 South Auburn St., Grass Valley

TICKETS: Already on sale to members; on sale to the general public Wednesday, Oct. 29; $38 members, $48 non-member, $58 premium — reserved seating (does not include applicable fees). One dollar will be added to the price of every Citizen Cope ticket for purchasing musical instruments for middle schoolers in Lame Deer, Montana, a community on the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation. Lame Deer is part of Turnaround Arts, a program of President Obama’s President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities that is using arts education to help students succeed.

Tickets are available at: The Center Box Office, 530-274-8384 ext 14; BriarPatch Co-op Community Market, 530-272-5333, or online at

For information:,, or

The Center for the Arts will bring singer/songwriter Citizen Cope for a solo acoustic concert Grass Valley’s Veterans Memorial Auditorium on Feb. 7.

Dug deep into the rich soil of American music, Cope’s roots are complex. You may think of Bill Withers or Neil Young or John Lee Hooker or Van Morrison or Willie Nelson or Al Green. Yet, listening to Cope, you also may think of none of the above. You may not think at all, but rather feel a man exposing stories that haunt his heart.

He was born Clarence Greenwood, a child of the 1970s, and his life journey is as singular as his art. He is the radically mashed-up product of Greenville, Miss.; Memphis, Tenn.; Vernon, Texas; Austin, Texas; Washington, D.C.; and Brooklyn, N.Y. These locations are felt everywhere in his stories.

In the past nine years, he has produced four albums of depth and distinction, each a critical chapter in his search for a sound that paints an auditory American landscape in which despair wars with hope and hope, tied to love, is elusive.

Cope’s musical education was catch-as-catch can. Folk tales — whether through William Faulkner or Big Bill Broonzy — shaped his sensitivity. A few college courses at Texas Tech alternately bored and excited him. In the Austin of the 1980s, he took sound classes and found himself fooling with a primitive four-track setup. Turntables intrigued him. He heard hip hop as inspired invention. For years, he got lost in his self-designed lab, cooking up beats and motifs that only later would be shaped into songs.

In the midst of the squalor, grandeur, and hypocrisy of the nation’s capitol, Cope set up camp.

Vocalist Michel Ivey recruited him as a mad scientist who feverishly concocted samples for the artsy-edgy configuration known as Basehead. As the group hit the road, Cope stayed in the background, moving dials and pushing buttons. Inside his head, he heard stories that still had not assumed full form.

The long night of gestation got even longer. Finally, as the songs gave birth, Cope assumed others would sing them. He had sculpted certain stories and developed certain sounds. As a serious artist with no interest in rock star glory, Cope presumed he’d eventually find the right voice to sing his songs. The right voice was found.

By playing in local venues, the writer/producer ultimately met the only singer equipped to narrate the idiosyncratic stories. That voice resided within his own soul.

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