“I kept a dirty, dirty secret / in my blue jean pocket” is the first line of “Coyote,” the moody single and opening track to singer/songwriter Shane Cooley’s new album, Forest. From that line alone, one might glean that this journey is not just a leisurely stroll through the woods.
Cabin fever is a sensation that most of us have become familiar with during the 2020s. Forest explores the depths of that sensation. Moved by both the tumultuous times in the world and his personal life, the album delves into the shadows of Cooley’s conceptual wilderness. The result is a hauntingly thoughtful blend of minimalist folk and American roots music. “About a year ago, I went for a walk in the woods, and wandered off-trail,” said Cooley. “I completely lost my bearings, and had to fight my way through heavy brush towards the setting sun, where I knew I would eventually find a road or highway. I think that feeling is at the epicenter of this album; being lost in a dark, dangerous place, with only your instincts to guide you.”
Cooley self-produced Forest in his river cottage in remote Mollusk, Virginia, and played all of the instruments. Most of the songs were conceived during moonlit walks in the woods, a place where Cooley has always felt at home. Sprinkled throughout Forest are nature sounds captured during the recording process. The album was mastered by Fred Kevorkian at Kevorkian Mastering in Brooklyn, NY. “I have known Shane for a decade, from working on his early projects,” said Kevorkian, “I always thought he was a very talented young artist then. Mastering his new record reinforced my opinion.”
Shane Cooley, age 34, has been writing, recording and performing music for over 20 years. The son of a high school principal and an art teacher/wildlife magazine writer, Cooley grew up in rural Virginia. After raising money for the 9/11 Red Cross Relief Fund with a self-penned song at age 14, he found a purpose and identity as a musician. He has been releasing music ever since.
After receiving a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature at The College of William & Mary, Cooley hit the road, touring both the United States and Europe. He spent most of his twenties in the music hub of Austin, TX, where he still frequently performs. His 2015 release, Kings Highway, was deemed “an absolute triumph” (The Daily Press), earning his reputation as a skilled and prolific songwriter. “He’s one hit away from radio stardom,” wrote Billboard critic Jeff Miller. Along his travels, he has shared the stage with Grammy-nominated artists Wood & Wire, along with Shakey Graves, Wild Child, and more.
Cooley’s songs have found their way to the airwaves of television shows such as NBC’s “The Mysteries of Laura,” and IBC’s “The Minor Accomplishments of Jackie Woodman.” He also composed the music for the Amazon Book Trailer for bestselling author Lori Foster’s Tough Love. The CW television show Songwriters Across Texas recently aired a documentary episode about Cooley’s life as a singer/songwriter.
When the COVID-19 pandemic swept the world in 2020, Cooley leaked his acoustic anthology, 50 Songs to boost the spirits of his fans, along with performing weekly live stream concerts on his Facebook page. The live streams continue to occur on Wednesdays at 8pm EST.
“Coyote” releases as a single on April 8, followed by the full album, Forest, on April 22 (Earth Day). Cooley will be raising funds and awareness for The Nature Conservancy in conjunction with his release. Shane Cooley’s music can be found on Spotify, Apple Music, Bandcamp, Pandora and more.
Shane Cooley (Official)’s tracks