Singing with his eyes closed through the start of the 21st Century, his relatable albums and modest style have attracted hundreds of thousands to the music. Greenwood powered through the cutthroat bigwig recording industry just to end up on the other side with his own independent label, Rainwater Recordings.
Today, he records albums on his own terms and performs around the country, visiting more than 40 cities with each tour. In advance of his upcoming show at Revolution Live, we spoke to Greenwood about his desire to work with D'Angelo, his growth as a human being, and his up-tempo time in the studio with the Mars Volta's drummer, Deantoni Parks, during the production of recent release One Lovely Day.
New Times: As a songwriter, who are some of your past and recent
inspirations? Why do you think it's important to keep the folky
storyteller types alive?
Citizen Cope: I don't think there's a lot of people writing in that
sense, and it's just something that came naturally to me -- the emotional
connection I would get from someone like Bill Withers or Bob Marley or
John Lennon. You have to commit spiritually and emotionally to the song.
I was always kind of drawn by those artists. We're living in times
where I think money has become something everyone is chasing around,
like a carrot on a stick. We've lost touch of our purpose with all the
technology and advances. We haven't made many advances toward human
compassion or love toward each other. Those artists have proved their
music speaks to people and gives value to life. It's important to kind
of have a resting place.
You've worked with Eric Clapton, Santana, and Richie Havens. Are there
any other greats on your wish list you'd like to collaborate with?
I'd like to work with Norah Jones and Dr. Dre... I'd love to do a song with D'Angelo.
The last time you visited South Florida, you were touring as a solo
acoustic act. This time, you're heading back with the band. How do the
performance experiences compare?
I just always liked performing solo because that's where a lot of the
songs were written -- on a guitar and just voice. As a producer, I always
want to add more to the songs. You can rest a little easier with a
band; you can put your guitar down for a second. But both of them serve
different purposes. I think there's the rock show and the intimacy of an
acoustic setting; they both show spark in a different light.