Three Decades Of Music

Early 90s - learns guitar, plays live, writes first songs

Scott Cooley took Intro To Guitar his Senior year at Albion College in 1989 and learned a few basics, although he learned more from friends outside class.  After getting his bachelor's in English, during which he particularly enjoyed creative writing and poetry, he moved to a ski area in Colorado where he gravitated toward other musicians.  Jam sessions with such friends in living rooms, basements and garages evolved to open mic nights at bars and coffee houses and then to bands who played some paid gigs opening for other bands. 

These types of activities culminated in Scott briefly landing the coveted headlining apres-ski gig at a slopeside saloon as half of an acoustic duo playing blues and classic rock cover songs.  Typically, since he had learned the pentatonic scale, Scott served in a lead guitarist role, occasionally singing backing vocals.  Being in his early 20s and single, the attention he got from young ladies after each show cannot be underestimated as a major factor in his decision to continue with musical pursuits.  Simultaneously, and beginning in 1990, Scott wrote the first of what would become hundreds of original songs, some of which he would occasionally try out at open mic nights to both polite and genuine applause.

Mid 90s - friend's band plays his originals, which become fan favorites

Gradually, Scott realized his shortcomings as a singer, but also realized his talents as a songwriter, which led him to cease playing in bands, duos, or as a solo act, but to keep writing songs.  As a close friend continued along the performance route with a band that became wildly popular, he arranged for the band to learn a few of Scott's original songs.  The band incorporated them into their act, and often they would perform them by request from fans, before which they would acknowledge Scott as the songwriter when announcing them.  This proved to be particularly satisfying, validating and encouraging to Scott to keep writing more.

Late 90s - more writing, home recording, learning new instruments

Over a period of several years, Scott found that recording the songs he'd written was also a satisfying pursuit.  Somewhat an introvert, he progressed to not only being a songwriter, but someone who was happy tinkering mad-scientist style with microphones and recorders at home after moving back to Michigan.  Wanting a full band sound without bugging his friends to play other parts other than guitar, he began buying more instruments and constructing a rudimentary home studio.  Slowly, as free time and spending money would allow, he not only upgraded his recording equipment from 4-track cassette to a computer-based audio workstation, but also bought additional instruments such as a bass, hand drums & percussion, and harmonicas that he taught himself to play to achieve the sound a band would make.

Early 2000s - one decade in, begins to release albums online

Progressing from sharing self-produced tapes with friends & family, Scott began to burn his own compact discs.  With the ability to record his songs digitally as he envisioned and mix multiple tracks together as if a band had recorded them, Scott was among the first wave of independent musicians to self-release albums online as both CDs and MP3s in web music stores like Amazon and iTunes when such a thing first became possible as a result of aggregator distributors offering digital music distribution services.  Nowadays everyone and their brother does this, but at the time, his friends and family were impressed.

2004 - Moon Dreams

Mid-2000s - more writing & recording, new website, social media

With a growing catalog of original songs, arsenal of recording equipment and instruments, and albums for sale in online music stores, a next logical step became creating an online presence in an effort to promote and market the recordings.  Just as he had taught himself how to write songs, play instruments, and make multi-track studio albums, Scott taught himself how to register a domain name, and create and host his own website for free (www.scottcooley.com).  At about the same time, social media became a thing, so Scott also made sure he had profile pages on sites like MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter to further make people aware of his music.

2006 - Lakeside Landing

Late 2000s - increased blogging, more marimba, posting of poems

Scott's wife, who owned a marimba, let him use it.  Although she played marimba (and accordion) on some of his early recordings, he eventually began to enjoy recording himself playing it on his own songs, and it became a part of the signature sound.  At around this same time, he also decided to ramp up his blog posts as a way to perhaps increase awareness of his music available for sale online, but also to satisfy his craving to diversify his creative writing.  It turned out that his subject matter - the craft of writing songs and recording music - was particularly inspirational to others who were interested in pursuing the same.  He also began to publish poems he'd written over the years on a page of his website that have been well-received.

2008 - Drive Time Companion

Early 2010s - songwriting competition, community involvement

After establishing himself online as a solo artist as best he could, Scott made inroads to identify himself more as a songwriter.  Winning a t-shirt in a songwriting contest, joining a regional songwriter group, attending a songwriter retreat, and reading books on the subject of songwriting all contributed to Scott's confidence as a songwriter.  Learning more about the craft via these opportunities also made him feel more like he was part of a community.

2010 - Sense Of Belonging

2012 - Cherchez La Femme

Mid 2010s - creative peak, addition of videos

With both the song quality and recording quality improving, the volume of output was at its fastest-ever rate during this period.  For these reasons, and because of a decline in output that would follow, this was probably the creative peak of Scott's involvement with music.  Additionally, Scott figured out how to create a few videos to accompany his recordings with free software.

2014 - Used To Be Good Looking

2016 - Rest Assured

Late 2010s - new instruments, writing decline, publishing

Ukulele and even piano began to make their way into a few recordings at this time as a means of satisfying curiosity to learn them, but also to provide further variation to the instrumentation on recordings.  The songwriting output at this time began to dwindle, perhaps due to some major life event changes.  It is also when Scott began to be sure his songs were properly copyrighted and published.  Registering with the Library of Congress, adding his catalogue to ASCAP as a music publisher, and also to various royalty collection services were among the more serious ways Scott took more official control of his works.

2018 - Missing The Boat

Early 2020s - more albums, back catalog exhaustion, songbook

The early part of this decade was spent on releasing two more albums that included both brand new songs and older, previously-unreleased songs in an attempt to finally record and release the remaining songs in his back catalog.  Some of the older ones had been requested by fans, and in the process of slightly revising them and recording them, a creative spark produced a few new ones as well.  Satisfied that all release-worthy songs were written and recorded, this gave Scott two albums "in the can" as they say prior to the start of the new decade.  This allowed him to pre-release them ahead of time and focus on properly documenting all of his songs.  That led Scott to perhaps the biggest accomplishment of all - his completion of creating a formal songbook, both printed and electronic, with both lyrics and chords, of his best songs - 126 of them to be specific.

2020 - Bluebird Days

2022 - Bluebird Days II

Mid 2020s - actually memorizing a few of his own songs?

With the excuse that his lyrics and chords were never typed up properly or thorough enough gone as a result of the publishing of Volume One of the Scott Cooley Songbook, could it be that Scott will actually attempt to practice all these songs he's written so that he could someday perform them in front of people from memory?  Time will tell.  Stay tuned.