Riley Smith + Ross Cooper

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Riley Smith + Ross Cooper

Riley Smith's vocals and songwriting blend country rock, soulful Americana and modern pop. No secret to those familiar with his role on the popular TV show “Nashville”, Smith’s gritty, yet smooth, singing voice and charismatic presence have built for him a career on stage and screen. Acting in popular shows like "True Blood" and "True Detective," taking the lead role on The CW’s "Frequency," and his latest role on The CW’s “Life Sentence” with Lucy Hale, all got him out in front of people. But mixing his acting work with his love music has introduced him to them in a way unlike any other role he has played.

Riley’s self-titled EP, produced by Kevin Leach and co-written with a cast of songwriters of all variations, is inspired by his time spent in Nashville and is relative to feelings and emotions he had whilst living in such a compelling, yet isolating, city. “My influences are as diverse as the city”. After landing a role in hit TV show “Nashville," Riley became aware of the impact iconic city of music had upon him. Smith set out to use this opportunity to his advantage. His time spent in Nashville was spent submerging himself in music. Smith confides, "I set out with a goal and plan to utilize my time in Nashville to write with as many writers as I could with the goal of making an album”

Raised on a boa-fide quarter horse ranch in Iowa, Smith began by diving into the realm of classic country music, exploring its history and roots. The longer he was in town, and the more musicians he collaborated with, his sound started developing into something more dynamic and divergent. Smith’s writing process began to reference a wider variety of sounds and styles, resulting in a body of music that is relatable, heartfelt and diverse. "It's what I think makes the sound unique and kind of difficult to put in a box.” Smith reveals.

Smith describes the EP as ‘loaner music’, “there’s a common theme of distance and space running through the EP. There’s a longing and yearning to the music. Lonesome at times”. This relatable desire for closeness will inspire audiences to not feel alone, to feel understood in the world and realize that there are others who are feeling the same. Smith declares “I want the EP to hopefully transcend to anyone who's ever felt alone”.

Lead single 'I’m On Fire’ features Smith’s warm vocals, resonating guitars and an infectious chorus. His heart wrenchingly authentic delivery results in a beautiful and achingly relatable record that is sure to be a radio hit. The song was a co-write with Matthew Perryman Jones and Tim Lauer (Hank Williams, Shawn Mendes, Blake Shelton). Smith describes how there was instant chemistry and respect between them all and how the song felt like it wrote itself. “I’m on Fire exemplified what my time writing in Nashville was all about to me. The synergy. The talent."

'I Can’t Keep Missing You’ highlights the traditional pop country sound that we are so familiar with. It successfully amalgamates pop, lyricism and sensibility. Whilst 'Break Something’ features Smith’s versatile sound of Americana with a fiery blues rock delivery.

Smith’s past successes include supporting Jordan Sparks, a residency at the iconic Hotel Cafe in Los Angeles and a European tour. Further achievements include major market radio play and numerous film and tv placements. In a world of sound bites, text messages and ten second online videos, it takes a special talent to get people to pay attention to music for more than a few moments at a time. Lubbock, Texas native Ross Cooper is that talent. His upcoming album I RODE THE WILD HORSES makes a case for long-term listening, the kind of music headphones were designed for. His is an intimate listening experience that starts with the introspective title track and segues to story songs, the kind of songwriting Texas, Lubbock in particular, has been giving America for centuries.ting as his music is, Ross Cooper’s story may be even more captivating, if not unexpected. Born into rodeo family (where his parents met), Cooper spent his life in the rodeo and, up until a few years ago, he had dual careers as both a bareback bronc rider and musician. It took a knee injury for the storytelling singer/songwriter to decide where his true path lead and fortunately for us, he chose music.

A product of West Texas from a town which he says is “an island surrounded by dirt,” Ross Cooper comes to music as naturally as he did the rodeo. While his family wasn’t heavily invested in music, he wrote his first song with his mother on her piano – Ross was only ten. From there, he learned from and listened to his parent’s favorite music (ZZ Top and Hank Williams), then his older brother’s (Cory Morrow, Pat Green and Robert Earl Keen). As great as those influences are, it wasn’t until Cooper heard The Mavericks and Ryan Adams that music really clicked.

From there, Ross Cooper was off. It brought him to a style of music that is unexpected from former rodeo stars: an amalgam of all those influences, but not stuck in one little box. This is music for everyone, not music tailored for the rodeo life. Some would call it Americana, some would call it Country, some would call it Rock. Whatever genre you choose to place it under, what it is is good music, and with that Cooper manages to take us on a journey that cannot happen in sound bites, text messages, or 10 second videos.