Artist Spotlight

Darren Cooper Album Release Show

Photography by Hapless Guitar Photography, Article by Tim McLaughlin

Darren Cooper

The thing I love about this Indianapolis music community is the level of musicianship, collaboration and giving.  This was in full effect on this cool November Friday in the nouveau-hip Fountain Square neighborhood of Indianapolis, and in one of the coolest collaboration spaces, Fountain Square Brewing Company.  On this first Friday like most throughout the year it brings out many forms of art and that art, be it music, galleries, multimedia, dance, or food (yeah food is art). This is what brings out the masses.

This night was special.

Darren Cooper’s released his 13 track instrumental, “The Beginning,”  a project that is based on the seven days that it took God created Heaven and Earth and this event was witnessed by a nearly full house.  The cd release, not the creation of Heaven and Earth, I wanted to make that point VERY clear.  Although my two sons think I may have been around then.  I’m off topic, sorry.

Now before you get all worked up, let’s not have a debate on the merits of this or on any kind of religious uproar, as this is an instrumental cd and there is no preaching on it.  Darren is a religious man and would be happy to engage you on this matter if YOU wish, but just download the cd and listen to it.  It isn’t a come to Jesus moment, but if you listen to it you might visualize things.  Darren was quick to point out that this wasn’t religious or pious project but one that he hoped would encourage us to simply stop and celebrate the world around us.

Steve taking a moment from the drums.

The night started off as an art show and man was it AMAZING.

The idea was to bring together seven visual artists from a wide range of mediums and supplied them each a song from the release and to provide art that was THEIR interpretation of that song.   He provided them with no guidelines, but rather use the song to create.   This collaboration was genius, as it would give an artist a subject matter to work with.  Now for full disclosure I am as much of an artist as my 9 year-old Prius is the Bat Mobile, nor do I know how the mind of an artist works, but I did speak to several of them on this night.  Some felt that the songs were in their wheel house, and others loved the idea that they were going to work on a project that pushed them out of their comfort zone as an artist.  In the end that is what we want art and music to be, something that pushes us out of our comfort zone.

The artist that were part of this project were:

Erin Case /  Ceramic Artist

RA Buys/ Mixed Media

Alexa Adamson/ Ceramic Artist

Lauren Smith/ Painting – Mixed Media

Bradford Smith/ Drawing- Painting

Courtney Brooks– Photography

Davey Pelsue- Woodworking.

And lest we not forget the ever talented, and ready with a knife in case a birthday cake presents itself, Amanda Keller who curated and was over this portion of the show.

NOT ONLY THAT, but those who were lucky got a pair of earbuds and while playing the album on their “smart devices” we able to follow the art in stations while listening to the songs that was used to help create the works.


Now on to the musical portion of the night.

A close-up on Jeremey’s bass skills.

Darren Cooper is a known quality in this city as he was a member of the Bleeding Keys, and after he left that band his work since has certainly changed direction.  The rest of the band; Steve Bradley, Jeremey Saddler, and Galen Samples were new to me which is great.  To hear this band, not only execute the album’s tracks flawlessly, their musicianship was evident.  Now my photography gig goes by the name Hapless Guitar Photography, so I am naturally draw to guitarists and this night was no different.  Galen Samples’ guitar playing was great while not taking anything away from or over taking the whole stage.  The bass and drums were, in my opinion, almost jazz like in there sync and precision.

Cooper moved between playing his guitar and synthesizer effortlessly and had a great rapport with the audience.  He took great care to describe the songs, their meaning, and to bring you in with him on this journey with nothing more than instruments and imagination.  Mission accomplished.

Darren Cooper said that he would probably thank those in attendance a thousand times, but I lost count after 100.  It just shows how much he appreciated those coming out to show their support, but I think the crowd felt the honor with his music.

Before his final song he thanked the crowd, AGAIN, but also took time to thank the artists for their participation.  He hoped that at the end of the night you would have had a beer, listened to the music, and as he exited the venue the walls would be bare.

That’s the kind of guy Darren Cooper is.


You can download “The Beginning” from Darren’s website at

Tracklist below:

Day 1     The Beginning

Day 2     Separation

Day 3     The Gathering

Day 3.1  Time to Grow

Day 4     Sun Moon Stars

Day 4.1  Spring

Day 4.2  Summer            UGYPAG6

Day 4.3  Fall

Day 4.4  Winter

Day 5     From Land to Sea

Day 6     The Roar

Day 6.1  The Breath

Day 7      The Rest

Darren, Steve, Jeremey and Galen on stage at Fountain Square Brewing Company.


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