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The Family Tree: The Roots (Deluxe Version)

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Editors’ Notes

When the prolific Ben Cooper isn’t recording with the bands Electric President, Iron Orchestra, or Mother’s Basement, he creates worlds under the name Radical Face; the first Radical Face album, Ghosts, came in 2007. The 2011 release The Family Tree: The Roots starts a trilogy of conceptual albums about a fictional family, the Northcotes. Following the clan through two generations during the 1800s, these songs sometimes play like a study in ethnomusicology (“Family Portrait”) and at other times recall contemporary indie folk (“Black Eyes”). “Names” sounds like an Alan Lomax field recording, as Cooper picks a vintage acoustic guitar and sings in a hobo style that sounds like it’s coming from an old wooden radio. Throughout The Family Tree, Cooper challenged himself to only use instruments that would have been available to the Northcotes in their time: guitar, banjo, piano, strings and percussion. By inventing this family, their lineage, and their folk music, Cooper’s also creating a new public domain of old-timey standards. Bonus tracks include two versions of “All Is Well.”

Customer Reviews


Ben Cooper may be the most underrated person in music today. Everything he touches turns to gold. More impressive is the fact that he recorded all this in his mothers tool shed. Buy this album, enjoy it, then buy it again.

Feel this album

I don't believe I have ever liked another album as much after only one spin. You can feel this album as you listen. It is both haunting and beautiful. Throw on those headphones and get lost.


This album is an amazing followup to Ghost. While the EP was great, I'm pretty sure this will go down as one of my favorite albums of all time.


Born: Jacksonville Beach, FL

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Jacksonville Beach, Florida-based Radical Face is primarily Ben Cooper, who is also one half of similar quiet-is-the-new-loud duo Electric President. Both have inked deals with German label Morr Music. Highlighted with light orchestral flourishes and acoustic guitar, Radical Face's early recordings included an EP and an album titled The Junkyard Chandelier. In March 2007 Morr issued Ghost, a concept album about houses retaining memories. In 2011, The Family Tree Presents: The Roots began a series...
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