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This week we chat to Ash Cooper, the power behind The Ash Cooper Band…

Who inspired you to go into the world of music?

I used to love watching my Dad’s old Elvis videos of him live on stage in Vegas and Hawaii and I just thought that looked like such a cool thing to do….so I guess from the very early age I wanted to get up in front of people and try and entertain them.

What made you choose Country music?

Well, there’s a hint of country in Elvis I guess! My Dad’s collection also included some Willie Nelson, Jerry Lee Lewis and artists like that, so I also started to listen out for great words and melodies. Then as I grew up we would go to clubs where people would sing quite a variety of stuff, but it was always the country lyric and melody that would connect with me the most.

At what age did you want to become a singer?

Ha ha….I was probably about 6! I used to stand in my little box bedroom with a hairbrush and sing along to Beatles records! My Mom and Dad used to tell me I would never make a good singer, but I never let that put me off!

 What is on your iPod’s most played list?

At the moment it is Brett Eldredge, but it changes quite a lot. I think Keith Urban and Eric Church are probably the most returned to!

What was the first record you ever bought?

Ha ha….it was the Rocky IV soundtrack on cassette! I love the Rocky films and the music on that one was really cool from James Brown to Go West!

 And the latest?

I don’t buy anymore, that’s a feeling I really miss; unwrapping a new CD or LP and putting on the machine for the first time, but hey, time moves on. I am constantly extending my Spotify and Google Play library, so the last album I downloaded to Spotify was the new Zac Brown Band album (Jekyll & Hyde) and the last album (EP) I purchased was Megan O’Neill (Coming Home) both of which are really great pieces of work.

If you could play any instrument, what would it be?

I keep coming back to the piano, but time is against me on this one. I can busk a couple of chords and even wrote a song on the piano, but it’s certainly not an instrument I have mastered, so I would have to say piano.

What’s the one thing you can’t live without?

Too difficult…I am going to go collective and say my family (I am married with two beautiful girls, 8 and 6)

Do you prefer “Classic” Country or “New” Country?

Wow, controversial question! I don’t think there is such a thing as “classic” country to be honest. I would imagine Roy Acuff was not a big fan of what Waylon Jennings was doing and equally Waylon may not have been a big fan of Glenn Campbell and so on…. Music constantly changes like fashion and generations retain the music that they grew up on and they then consider this to be the “Classic” country. For me there is no preference thing, music is timeless and for me it’s all about how you feel when you want to listen to something. Right now I am all about new music because I want to write hit records and I can’t do that if I don’t listen to what people are listening to now. On saying all that, my Willie Nelson collection will always be a benchmark for me….

Do you have any superstitions or routines that you do before you perform?

Not really. I used to, but I find I don’t have the time for it anymore. I get to a gig, set up, sound check and try and go straight on if I can. I guess a quick toilet stop and make sure I have something to drink onstage and that’s about it.

If you could work with anybody, who would you choose to collaborate with and why?

I have answered this question in another interview and I will stick with that answer. If I could collaborate with anyone it would have to be a legend, so…..Willie!!

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I just hope I still have my eyesight in 10 years!! Seriously though, I have had major cuts with high profile artists and there’s maybe the odd songwriter accolade lying around!!

What do you do to “relax”?

Write songs…..

What is your favourite holiday destination?

Gotta be Nashville

 To find out more about the band and their music, plus details of their busy summer of gigs visit their website here.