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Classification and Categorization

This page attempts to technically describe Scott Cooley's music - that is, original Scott Cooley songs, as recorded by Scott himself.  Headings, subheadings, and bullet lists provide easily-consumable music classification attributes by category to convey an excruciating amount of detail about what Scott's music sounds like.

Brief Description

Scott Cooley's recordings of his own songs have an overall sound that can best be described as real.  There are no fake drums, fake bass grooves, loops, virtual instruments, auto-tune, or synthesizers.  There are no fancy electronics or effects to mask skill/talent levels.  What you hear is pretty much how it would sound live - if there were four or five other Scott Cooleys playing all of the instruments Scott plays at the same time.  There is a lot of spirit and intimacy behind this acoustic music, and you can feel like you're right there with him, along for the ride.  You wonder if Scott himself thought the same part of a song was cool for the same reason you did when he wrote it, recorded it, and then listened back.  He probably did.  Instead of being great at one thing, Scott is competent at many.  Using your imagination, you can see how rewarding it must've been for one person to write the songs, play all the instruments, sing, and record/engineer/produce it all with total freedom and control as intended.  In this way, you're listening to one person's vision that has become a reality.

Lyrical Content

  • Abstract Lyrics
  • Ambiguous Lyrics
  • Cash-Obsessed Lyrics
  • Clean Lyrics
  • Defiant Lyrics
  • Empowering Lyrics
  • Explicit Lyrics
  • French Lyrics
  • Great Lyrics
  • Heartbreak Lyrics
  • Heartbreaking Lyrics
  • Humorous Lyrics
  • Joyful Lyrics
  • Lyric-Centric Aesthetic
  • Lyric-Centric Composition
  • Lyric-Centric Performance
  • Lyrical Melodies
  • Lyrics about Partying
  • Lyrics that Tell a Story
  • Narrative Lyrics
  • Political Satire Lyric
  • Positive, Upbeat Lyrics
  • Romantic Lyrics
  • Sad Lyrics
  • Socially Conscious Lyrics
  • Storytelling Lyrics
  • Surreal, Stream Of Consciousness Lyrics
  • Tight Lyrics



  • Breathy Male Lead Vocalist
  • Clear Pronunciation
  • Distinctive Male Lead Vocal
  • Dominant Vocal Hooks
  • Emotional Male Lead Vocal Performance
  • Emotional Vocals
  • Exaggerated Enunciation
  • Laid Back Male Vocal
  • Smooth Male Lead Vocalist


  • Subtle Use of Vocal Harmony
  • Blending of multiple tracks to produce chorus
  • Occasional female backing vocals (Lenore Cooley)

Structure / Composition

  • Basic Rock Song Structures
  • Musicianship:  evident natural talent as opposed to classically-trained skill
  • Melodic Songwriting
  • Minimalist Arrangements
  • Subtle Buildup/Breakdown


  • Mixed Minor & Major Key Tonality
  • Mixed Major, Minor & 7th Chords
  • Instrumental Solos Featuring Blues and Pentatonic Scales

Ostinato (repetition)

  • Acoustic Sonority
  • Chordal Patterning
  • Occasional Use of Acoustic Fills & Vamping Riffs
  • Melodically Phrased Acoustic Instrumental Solos
  • Knack for Catchy Hooks
  • Overall Meditative Sound
  • Repetitive Chorus
  • mirrored yet separate, widely-panned dual acoustic rhythm guitar tracks

Rhythm / Meter

  • Slow, Mid-tempo & danceable uptempto Grooves
  • Mild Rhythmic Syncopation
  • Varying Tempo and Time Signatures – usally 4/4 w/ some 3/4
  • Rhythmic Intros


  • Varying Rhythmic Feels
  • Laid Back Mid-Tempo Shuffle Feel
  • Occasionally Romantic and Danceable
  • Occasinally, A Reggae or Jazz Waltz Feel


Describing this warranted its own page:

"Bad" Qualities

  • Intentional low fidelity
  • Insufficient and/or dated production quality
  • Unbalanced and/or over-processed mixes
  • Unintended distortion / clipping
  • Editing issues (abrupt endings, intros or splices)
  • Tuning issues
  • Overly offensive and/or inappropriate content
  • Noise or hiss / poor signal-to-noise ratio


The task of defining the Scott Cooley sound can perhaps be aided by an overview of Scott's musical influences:
  • Singer-Songwriters who play acoustic guitar:
    • the sensitivity of a James Taylor or John Denver
    • the classic rock influence of John Fogerty and Neil Young
    • the world music influences of Jimmy Buffett and Paul Simon
    • the classic country influence of Willie Nelson
    • the folk and blues stylings of Bob Dylan
  • The Acoustic Rock sound popularized by the early 90s MTV show "unplugged":
    • Violent Femmes
    • R.E.M.
    • Nirvana
    • Kiss
  • The entire Garage Rock subgenre:
    • Bands from the late 60's (The Kingsmen, The Kinks, The Grateful Dead)
    • Michigan bands throughout the 70s (Question Mark & the Mysterians, Tommy James & The Shondells, Iggy Pop & The Stooges, The MC5, Grand Funk Railroad)
    • early punk (Ramones, Patti Smith), and the "revival" years (White Stripes, Jack White)
  • The Heartland Rock subgenre:
    • Bob Seger
    • Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
    • John Mellencamp
    • Steve Earle


  • Traditional, Blues, Folk, Americana & Roots Influences
  • Hard Rock and Rock & Roll Influences
  • Motown, Soul, Funk, and R&B Influences
  • Cajun, Creole, Zydeco, New Orleans Influences
  • Caribbean, Mento, Calypso, Ska, Reggae, Surf & Hawaiian Influences
  • Mexican & Latin Influences

People, Bands, Artists, Places

Some of the bands, solo performers, recording artists, songwriters, writers, poets, places, things, etc. that have influenced my music are (in no particular order):
  • Every artist in the Sound-Alike Comparisons section
  • Grand Funk Railroad
  • Mark Twain
  • The Beach Boys
  • Booker T. & The MG's
  • Beatles
  • KISS
  • Smokey Robinson
  • J.D. Salinger
  • Van Halen
  • ZZ Top
  • A.C. Weisbecker
  • Dick Dale
  • Robert Frost
  • Hank Williams Sr.
  • Ted Nugent
  • Mt. Holly
  • Chuck Berry
  • Violent Femmes
  • Talking Heads
  • Boston
  • Robbie Robertson
  • Elvis Presley
  • Leftover Salmon
  • Dr. Andrew Weil
  • The Grateful Dead
  • New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Paris, France
  • Vail, Colorado
  • Ernest Hemingway
  • Isle Royale National Park
  • Muddy Waters
  • The Meters
  • Bob Marley
  • Led Zeppelin
  • The Monkees
  • Mitch Albom
  • Elvis Presley
  • Elmore Leonard
  • Buddy Holly
  • Mark Farner
  • Alice Cooper
  • William Faulkner
  • Jimi Hendrix
  • Hunter S. Thompson
  • Ramones
  • Stevie Ray Vaughn
  • Nirvana
  • White Stripes
  • Spinal Tap
  • Tenacious D
  • Beach Boys
  • Carpenters
  • Crosby, Stills & Nash

Sound-Alike Comparisons (Artists)

What?  No way... The popular recording artists, bands, solo performers, musicians, etc. that people have said I sound like are:
  • Jimmy Buffett
  • Counting Crows
  • Jack Johnson
  • Jack White
  • Jack Black
  • Jeff Tweedy
  • Jeff Daniels
  • Tom Petty
  • Tom Waits
  • John Mellencamp
  • Steve Earle
  • John Fogerty
  • Neil Young
  • Bob Dylan
  • Paul Simon
  • James Taylor
  • Bob Seger
  • Willie Nelson
  • Barenaked Ladies
  • Gordon Lightfoot
  • Beck
  • John Denver
  • Violent Femmes


  • Acoustic Rock Instrumentation
  • Spirited Instrumental Prowess
  • Demanding Melodic & Instrumental Part Writing
  • Rare use of Electric Guitar Instrumentation
  • Occasional Emphasis on Instrumental Performance
  • Mixed Melodic Instrumentals & Improvisational Instrumentatls
  • Mellow Rock Sounds and Instrumentation
  • Unique Instrumentation – accordion, marimba, harmonica, acoustic hawaiian lap steel



  • Very Light Guitar Effects
  • Mixed Finger & Flat Picked Acoustic Rhythm Guitar
  • Acoustic Guitar Layering
  • Acoustic Guitar Riffs
  • Well-Articulated Acoustic Guitar Solos
  • Acoustic Lap Steel Slide Guitar


  • Very rare use of electric/acoustic guitar through amp



  • Accordion Accompaniment (Lenore Cooley)
  • Prominent Accordion Solos (Lenore Cooley)


  • Subtle Use of Acoustic Piano


Contrabass (Acoustic Bass Guitar)

  • Prominent Role for the Acoustic Bass Guitar
  • Symbiotic Kick and Bass
  • Slow Moving Acoustic Bass Lines to Riffing & Soloing

Electric Bass Guitar

  • Occasional use of amplified electric/acoustic bass guitar

Drum & Percussion Sections

  • Sparse Djembe Kick Sound
  • Dry Snare w/ brush
  • Acoustic hi-hat
  • Latin percussion/ Hand drum fills
  • Light Drum & Percussion Fills
  • shaker & tambourine
  • Wood slit drum
  • Hand Percussion Layer
  • Rhythmic Hand Clapping


  • Mallet Percussion
  • Use of Marimbas (Lenore & occasionally Scott Cooley)


  • Subtle Use of Harmonica for Accompaniment & Solos
  • Occasional flute (Lenore Cooley)
  • Whistling

Other – in rap song only:

  • Spoken Word
  • Synth Bass Riff & Synth Drums on rap song only
  • Use of Guitar Pick Low E String Scratching As Turntablism

Recording Technique

  • Moist (light reverb) Recording Sound
  • Minimalist Recording Studio Production
  • Vinyl Ambience
  • Unprocessed Recording Qualities

Leanings / Stylings

  • Country Rock Leanings
  • Old Time Music Styles
  • Radio Friendly Stylings

Musical Qualities

  • Alt.Country Qualities
  • Blues Rock Qualities
  • Classic Soul Qualities
  • Easy Listening Qualities
  • Folk Rock Qualities
  • Pop Rock Qualities
  • Indie Pop Qualities
  • Americana Qualities
  • Classic Rock Qualities
  • Caribbean Qualities
  • Roots Qualities

Feelings and Vibes

The feelings and vibes that I want to create or convey with my music are:
  • excitement
  • enthusiasm
  • unwinding
  • refreshing
  • relaxing
  • companionship
  • soothing
  • calm
  • vacation
  • holiday
  • lakes
  • cool breezes
  • enjoyment of the four seasons
  • escapism
  • hope
  • captivating
  • alluring
  • serene
  • peaceful
  • adventurous
  • uplifting
  • moving
Subpages (1): Genres