CaptainCosmo - Web Staff
Professional Review of "One Man Land"
Captain Cosmo (Cosmo Perry Tillman) may not be the true captain of any ship or armed force (and let’s all be glad for that), but if you’re looking for somebody to rock your party, this captain is one leader you will gladly follow without question.
Cosmo calls himself a honky-tonk pianist. And it’s true that he sometimes sounds like a saloon player, banging out notes while imaginary cowboys drain whisky, chase girls and get into a little gunplay. However, one can also hear a whole lot of New Orleans styled playing in his approach, which many times sounds like Dr. John, and before him, Professor Longhair. He also has a singing style that leaves him coming off like Joe Walsh, had he been raised in The Big Easy.
This brief recording finds Cosmo playing a thing he’s termed the Mighty Sonic Ensembleizer. In short, it’s a contraption that combines six instruments, or a six-piece band, into one. The math of it adds up to ten instruments total.
Cosmo has been playing a long time. His resume includes performing with some of the best bluegrass artists, including Doug Dillard, Vassar Clements, John Hartford and Byron Berline. He’s also opened for some incredible country talent, such as Jerry Jeff Walker and Lee Greenwood. He probably has more in common with those that straddle the country/rock/rockabilly line, as in Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins, both of whom he’s also opened for. That’s an amazing collection of performers to have some association with!
All of these credentials would add up to naught, though, had Cosmo not also had the talent to pull it off. And he most certainly does. One Man Land, which reads like a play on the one man band concept, includes a few oddly endearing songs.
The seemingly innocuous title of “A Bedtime Story” appears on the surface to be something soft and sweet. Perhaps it’s a lullaby. Maybe it’s a comforting song a mom might softly sing to a child before sleep takes over. However, Cosmo has something entirely different in mind, so good moms beware! At one point he sings, “I’m just so scared I might wake up dead.” He then goes on to sing about such things as apocalyptic asteroids that might land and destroy the earth. Although he announces, “Now I lay this body down to sleep,” you get the distinct impression this guy won’t be getting any shuteye anytime soon. He’s too darn afraid of the world, and all the dangerous secrets it holds, to ever truly rest for the night.
“Please Pass Me By” is also a bit of a strange one. Its title reads a little bit like a gospel song; one where a man asks God not to pass him by. That’s usually how these sorts of songs go. However, Cosmo spends time asking that one stay away from him, instead. In a woebegone, warbling voice, Cosmo sings for just a little personal solitude.
“I’ve Got My Rock & Roll Shoes On” is Cosmo’s simplest song. Instead of worrying about things that go bump in the night, as he does throughout “A Bedtime Story,” the good Captain sings a song about playing rock & roll and dancing. It’s a rollicking, old time rocker, with plenty of piano – of course – as well as lots of saxophone.
Yes, Captain Cosmo is likely the sort of character that would lead any fighting unit into certain doom. When he’s making music, though, he wages war on boredom, unhappiness and apathy and in that war, he’s a winner. One Man Land is a sweet, old time, individualistic collection of piano-driven songs. This isn’t some recorded strategy to bump Maroon 5 off the pop charts because typical Maroon 5 fans wouldn’t know what to make of this lovable crazy man. For those that get it, though, Captain Cosmo is one spacey musical treat.
Artist: Captain Cosmo
Album: One Man Land
Review By: Dan MacIntosh