By Sam McDonald
3:29 PM EDT, April 4, 2013
Shane Cooley, the 25-year-old songwriter from the Northern Neck, has covered a lot of ground in recent months.
In March, he was in Austin, Texas, making his fourth appearance in conjunction with the South By Southwest music festival. He's recently been writing songs and hanging out with friends in Phoenix. This weekend, the William and Mary graduate will be back in Norfolk performing as part of the Sea Level Singer-Songwriter Festival.
"I’m wherever I need to be at any time," he told me by phone last week. "I've become a true troubadour ... hitting it hard and giving it all I’ve got. I'm managing myself and my career. It gets a little better all the time, so I must be doing something right."
While there's been no great leap forward for this amazingly prolific, totally independent artist, he reports steady progress. "There’s always progression. If there wasn’t it would it be a different story," he said. "But there’s always enough to keep me in the game."
Cooley said he's excited about sharing his new songs with listeners back home in Virginia. At 6 p.m. on Friday, April 5, he'll perform a free show at Urban Outfitters, 271 Granby Street, in downtown Norfolk.
The songwriter's most recent album, "When It Rains, It Pours," was released back in November on Band Camp and iTunes.
After a brief period performing as part of a duo, Cooley is back to playing as a solo act. His recent songs reflect his experiences on the road, he said.
"A lot of these new songs are based upon my travels, the people that I meet. And a lot of these new songs are about self discovery. There's something about traveling that creates that sense of self examination.
"Meeting new people and hearing new music is good, too. It’s what gets my gears turning as a songwriter."
He said the new songs are more upbeat and joyful than the ethereal, moody tracks found on "When it Rains, it Pours."
Cooley said he's proud to be part of the Sea Level fest and glad to help out Tidewater Arts Outreach, the non-profit organization that the festival benefits.
Tidewater Arts Outreach arranges for local musicians to entertain in local shelters, nursing homes and hospitals.
“I appreciate the good medicine they create with art and music, sharing that feeling of joy. I support that," Cooley said. "It’s a great organization to have around the Tidewater area.”
For more on Cooley, visit his Facebook page.
Copyright © 2013, Newport News, Va., Daily Press