"Once, when I was a teen, I had a mom who had a mom who had a mom..."
Cory Patrick Coleman has a part time gig that he landed a few months ago working for J.C. Penney retouching photos, a job that he shares with King Bucks musician Joe Butcher. Before that, he had a string of jobs, including working for Dillard's for the last four years.
"I probably would have still been there," Coleman said about his last job at Dillards. "You get to that point where you're just kinda, you're wanting to be done with it, but you never do it. I mean, you have to do this to pay for your shit. But you hate it a lot, you know?"
"And she lost her mind in the Spring from the cancer cells that left her frail, a windless sail..."
Recently, Dillards made the decision to move their creative team up to Little Rock, Arkansas, and that was a move that Coleman was not willing to make. Hence, J.C. Penney and the part-time gig that helps pay for his true passions.
For a brief period from April 2011 to September 2011, Coleman worked with the Army/Air Force Exchange (think of it like a Walmart for the military) retouching images. This time, however, he was working by himself as opposed to having the team of six people he was used to at Dillards. The work was overwhelming enough, but other personal problems kept amassing, and he decided to quit the exchange and make a record. "I finally took the time to do something I've wanted to do for the last five years," Coleman said. "I knew that it [taking time off from the corporate world] was something that I had to do if I wanted to make this record, and to get my focus back on track."
After he finished his record, he worked for a month at Sky Guitars in Denton. The owner decided he didn't really need an assistant anymore, so Coleman was let go and found a job at Brightroom Inc. in Fort Worth, again, retouching photos.
Last year, the A.M Ramblers and Hares on the Mountain mandolinist put out one of the best folk EPs in the DFW area, called Bird Sounds. This six song, seven track output is rich with heartache and regret, and the Neil Young-sounding singer songwriter, who turns 30 this year, made sure to put some personal moments on the record, especially during the heartbreaking sixth track, "Once."
"And I was no good kin at all. I made fun of her and then she ripped my shirt then she left this world..."
"I don't remember exactly where I was at the time. I was probably sitting at my cubicle," he said of the moment he was first inspired to write "Once," a sauntering, naked confessional rehashing three of his biggest regrets in life. "I've done some pretty bad things in my life, and then there were these three just really bad things that were important transitional lessons in my life that just came to me. Maybe I didn't recognize them at the time [the incidents occurred] but I did eventually."
Coleman vividly remembers one of those instances, when his grandmother was slowly being done in by Alzheimer's, and he and his teenaged friend had made fun of her during one of her incoherent ramblings. As Alzheimer's tends to manifest violence in normally non-violent people, it manifested in his grandmother, and she grabbed a hold of his shirt and ripped it almost clean off.
"Then a church hymn, taught me right from wrong, and we buried her there on Thanksgiving Day. It was all messed up..."
Growing up in East Dallas, Coleman attended the same private school, First Baptist Academy, for all 13 years of his pre-collegiate education, and some of his earliest influences include Nirvana, Tripping Daisy and The Flaming Lips. A little later into his teens, Coleman started getting into the music that currently informs his oeuvre, Townes and Bob topping the list.
In the Fall of 2001, Coleman came up to Denton to go to college, and that's about the time he started playing music live.
"We are all just children with wobbly busted knees who want to be as tall as mountains, but can't get past the trees..."
For the time being, Coleman is exactly where he wants to be. He plays in two of the bigger bands in the DFW area, the aforementioned A.M. Ramblers and Hares on the Mountain, and he continues to write his own songs.
His album can be purchased in Denton at Mad World Records and Recycled Books, both on the square, and it's also available on corypatrickcoleman.bandcamp.com. Or, if you wish, go buy his album at one of his live performances, the next one slated for Friday, April 26, at J&J's Old Dirty Basement in Denton.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the Observer's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Dallas's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
If his newest work is anywhere near as good as Bird Sounds, then God help us all, because it's one hell of a freshman effort.
"And we sell ourselves short on the shelves of growing the right way..." -"Once," from Bird Sounds