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Local News / Entertainment

Tuesday, 4 May, 2010 0:24 AM

Stephen Cochran to perform at the 28th Annual Downtown Hoedown on Sunday, May 16


Stephen Cochran

by Jason Rzucidlo


DETROIT -- Stephen Cochran spent a lot of time in the military and got severely injured overseas. His doctor told him that he would never walk again. Cochran was went against all odds--not only is he walking, but he is an accomplished country music singer. He is working on a new album for release this October. Advance copies will be available at the CMA Music Festival in June. Cochran will return to the Downtown Hoedown this year with a performance on Sunday, May 16th.

Cochran's father, Steve, was also a country music singer and songwriter.

"There's basically no advice you can give on this business," Cochran said. "Basically, he prepared me for politics and the time it takes to get the record deal. There's a lot of starving artists in Nashville before you actually get to get on the big stages like Hoedown and stuff. He instilled in me that you've got to not quit. That's the whole thing."

He served in the military as a Marine in Iraq and Afghanistan. Cochran was a part of the 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion; 1st Marine Expeditionary Force and was severely injured during combat patrol.

"I was paralyzed from the waist down, they told me I'd never walk again," the country music singer explained. "They did surgery on me here in Nashville. It was about six months intense therapy to have me back walking again. That really led into me getting another record deal once I regained my leg and everything. The Marine Corps. really taught me was the commitment to stand up against anything. You really need this in this business. No one can tell me anything. I've had a surgeon tell me I can't do something and I've done it. The only being in this world that I listen to who can't tell me I can do something is God."

He spent some time performing with John Rich and the MuzikMafia in the Nashville area.

"John is great, he's someone to look up to," Cochran said. "As far as being an outlaw in this business, John, he embodies that. When I saw outlaw, I'm not talking about being arrested or trouble or anything like that. I'm talking about inviting a different type of music that mainstream country doesn't always go along with. I don't write songs I don't live. I think John and the Mafia are a great group of people who understand music and understand it is a universal language. I'm honored to share the stage with them."

Ironically, his band is named New Country Outlaws. How did that come about?

"When we came into country music, it was hard for us to find a home," he responded. "We were playing a little bit of southern rock and a little traditional country. I wanted my album to touch every edge of country music kind of like the old Garth Brooks album did. It was hard for us to find a home because everybody wanted to find the next Keith Urban. I'm definitely not the next Keith Urban. I had my own thing, my own style. It was kind of a no-brainer when we got together when those guys are the ones that make my music. They take it out of my head and put it on instruments and play it to the world. They are the New Country Outlaws."

Cochran is hard at work on his second album, which will be a follow-up to his 2007 self-titled record.

"I am probably more excited with this than anything I have in my whole career in music," the country music singer said. "The first album I got to do on Aria Records, a small independent label. I really only got the record deal because not all of the labels were willing to put the dollars into me not knowing how my back was going to hold up. We're moving from the small independent to a major label. They sat down and said, 'Stephen, you definitely came out, had top 40s and got yourself solidified as a country artist. We now want to happen what happen in Iraq and Afghanistan in a song.'

"It was something I've never done before. It was personal to me. I didn't want people to think he was using his military career to propel his country music career. I wanted it always to be about music. First off, we found a producer that fits us. Chris Henderson, the lead guitar player from Three Doors Down, is actually co-producing this with Bobby Capps, the keyboard player from 38 Special. We found someone who understands the music that I want to make. I sat down and wrote the whole EP myself."

He added: "There's a lot of people saying, 'Hey, you're on this label and this label has these writers so you've got to cut this song.' And that's not who I am. I am a singer-songwriter. There's not one song on it that I didn't write. I always wanted to do an album that I had written. So we got to do that this time. I got to sit down and tap into what it's like to rebuild your life from nothing in a song called 'Pieces.' And what's it like to give hope back to the brothers and sisters still serving in the military. That's called 'Hope' in the album. What it's like to take off your dog tags and hand it to a girl and go off to war and never know if you're coming back. That's a song called 'Dog Tags.'"

Cochran said the new album will be in stores this October, however advance copies will be available at the CMA Music Festival in June.

"However, we do have a treat for everyone coming to CMA Fest," he said. "We will have them ready for sale. We're keeping with the same tradition, my first album we unveiled at CMA Fest to all the fans. Obviously, that's what CMA Fest/Fan Fair is all about. It's about the fans and giving back to them. Without the fans, I'm homeless and everything else. As far as my organization goes, number one is fans. It will be moving over to internet right after that and into stores."

The country music singer returns to the Downtown Hoedown, after a performance at the festival in 2009.

"I was 10 years old, back in 1989, Garth Brooks came to Detroit and played the hoedown," Cochran explained. "It was probably the reason I'm in this business. It was the first time I ever seen a rock concert put on country music. It's exactly what I want to do. I will even credit Detroit and the hoedown with the first time that I've seen country music at the way that I do it today. My grandfather worked for GM for 30 years. I spent every summer from the time I was four to 18 in Detroit in Waterford. The oldest friends that I have are right there in Waterford. It's home for me. To get to come home and stand on the stage where I watched the man give me the dream, I don't even know how to put that into words. It's not the hoedown, it's the Stephen Cochran Hoedown."

What was it like performing at the Downtown Hoedown last year?

"Last year, I think I was so busy, we flew in played the hoedown, ran into a car and flew out," he explained. "This year, we're going to hang out a little bit more. I wanted to set aside some time and actually enjoy the hoedown. So we're going to come in early and stay late. Last year, I don't think I got to enjoy it because I was so nervous. I not only played for fans, but half of my family was there. I just glad that we put on a show that everybody enjoyed."

What do you have planned for your upcoming performance at the Downtown Hoedown this year?

"That's a surprise," Cochran said. "We're definitely going to involve the fans a little bit more. Last year, we were on the upper stage. I noticed you're very disconnected from the crowd. You're a good 50 yards from actually being with the crowd. We asked if there was anyway we could go on the lower stage to get right in the crowd and that way bring what we do more to Detroit. All I can I say is there is going to be a lot of crowd participation."

The country music singer said he is very excited to perform again at Hart Plaza. "Especially with the economy the way it is in Detroit, what a better way to take people's mind off the economy than the largest free concert in the world."

Look for Stephen Cochran to perform on the lower stage at the 2010 Downtown Hoedown on Sunday, May 16 at 3:45 p.m.

For more information, visit or visit his MySpace page.



Stephen Cochran performed at the Downtown Hoedown in 2009.






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