Adrianne Cooper Smith — 17 April 2019 on Rocket Shop Radio Hour
Last Wednesday, April 17th, Adrianne Cooper Smith joined us on Rocket Shop for a night of folk punk. We weren’t sure if she was going to make it, because last we heard from her she was on her bike in Underhill. But she pedaled as fast as she could and made it to Big Heavy World with time to spare, still in her bike shorts. Adrianne appropriately started her set with a song about riding bikes. Bike riding is a very potent aspect of Adrianne’s life, and she often finds herself finding lyrical inspiration on her long journeys, some of which are over 100 miles long from southern Vermont back to Burlington. Adrianne even has somewhat of a “bike tour” coming up this Summer, where she plans to wake up at 4 am on May 3rd, bike 7 hours to Boston (with nothing but a homemade saddlebag filled with a sleeping bag, some clothes, and food), play a gig, and then hop a bus back to Burlington to play Waking Windows music festival. If that’s not rock n’ roll, we don’t know what is.
Adrianne grew up in rural Franklin, Tennessee, where she felt secluded from the big music scene in Nashville. In middle school, she decided that she was “going to be a rock star” so she started learning guitar. In high school, she fell in love with new folk bands like Mumford and Sons and the Avett Brothers, so she got a banjo. It was during this time in Adrianne’s life that she had the realization that she did not need to fulfill societal norms by getting married, having children, and getting a day job… she was going to dedicate her life to music instead.
After mastering the new folk banjo style, Adrianne was introduced to folk punk, and she began finding inspiration in bands like AJJ, Mount Eerie, and Loon. Through punk music, she started seeing queer representation, which in turn has become very centric to her own music and identity. Music has been a really special aspect of Adrianne’s life. She loves playing live, because it gives her “an occasion to show off, and to make [her] image feminine” not only with her appearance, but with her unique mezzo-soprano singing voice.
Aside from banjo and guitar, Adrianne also plays accordion, drums, upright bass, cello, mandolin, and violin. She is basically a music guru. She is also a part of Gahlord Dewald’s Community of Sound, and often finds herself pulling all-nighters in the recording studio.
To hear more of Adrianne Cooper Smith, check her out at Stone Church in Brattleboro on April 27th and at Waking Windows on May 3rd!
Text by Marisa Iannitto
Photo by James Lockridge.