You know there’s something for you when a show starts with “Salvation.”

An acoustic solo concert with Citizen Cope last night.  A small amp and his Martin guitar, the stage set for sparseness.  There was no introduction.  Just Cope as he stepped to the stage and began to strum the slow and heavy song featuring a few chords and his strong voice.

courtesy of Wikipedia

His movements are slow, the words flowing from his throat, sweet and fragile.  So vulnerable but thick with experience, it’s almost as if he’s singing a cappella in our theatre of 500.  You could almost be lulled by the beauty of the notes that reach your ears – hear the silence fill the auditorium between his breaths.  But listen closely to the intensity of the lyrics and there is pain weaving clues about the dark places he’s seen.

Well I came down with my Martin blazin’
My voice
It was cutting him up
Now he’s aiming
His first shot grazed my eye
I lost half of my sight
And my firstborn’s life
The second shot grazed off my guitar moon
And it made my guitar kinda play out of tune
But I just kept playing
Like I had nothing to lose
He turned the third on himself
‘Cause the bastard knew
Salvation I’m calling

Put the gun down
Put the gun down
Put the gun down
Put the gun down

From the beginning, Citzen Cope disarms us.  For the rest of the evening, he offers familiar songs stripped down to their most essential parts.  Simple strums and his rich voice sing the poetry of human struggle, redemption and healing of the heart.

He has a scar near his right eye.  He rarely speaks between songs but to say thank you and touch his hand to his heart.  He has the air of someone that may have slept in a prison cell and yet he is so delicate and gentle I want to become his bodyguard for life and protect him from all things violent.  He moves deliberately like water on the stage and we, the seated witnesses, fall in love in two acoustic hours.

courtesy of

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