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The Family Tree: The Roots

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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

Radical Face Has Made An Inhabitable World

This new album is nothing short of phenomenal. From the second you start listening, the depth of the characters invented through these songs is apparent. Even if you don't choose to follow along with the story Cooper tells through lyrics, the architecture of the sound creates an enormous, full ambiance that promotes deep thought. A++


I didn't think "Welcome Home" could be topped, or even approached in terms of awesomeness -- and then I heard "Mountains." Fantastic, ethereal, hymn-like. Worth the price of the album alone.

"Ghost Towns," "Black Eyes," "The Dead Waltz" and "A Pound of Flesh" are also major highlights for me.

Ben Cooper is a mastermind and these songs define what music is all about. Not a single dud on this album. Support this!

I can't listen to other bands now!! :]

The first song I ever hewed from Ben would be Ghost Towns. I missed my opportunity to obtain it free, but after receiving the whole album. I made the best choice and listening to this drop dead gorgeous music!! I can't listen to other songs because of Ben and you know what I am glad. No other band or person has brought joy to my life as much as Ben has done for me! I recommend buying the full album. It helps me sleep at night, push through the hard times, and generally enjoy life to the simplest thing!! Thank you Ben Cooper for these amazing albums. I would also like to point out that of you like this album, you would surely love other albums created by Ben as well! :)


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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