Musician with local ties on the rise |

Musician with local ties on the rise

Stewart Oksenhorn
Clarence Greenwood, who performs under the name Citizen Cope, makes his Aspen debut at the Belly Up tonight.

It was to be expected that Michael Goldberg, with his connections in business, politics and entertainment, would use his influence to bring top acts to the Belly Up, his new music club in Aspen. So the fact that Citizen Cope – also known as Clarence Greenwood, son of Aspen journalist Sterling Greenwood – makes his Aspen debut at the Belly Up tonight should be little surprise.

But there was a surprise involved in the booking: Goldberg was unaware of Citizen Cope’s Aspen tie. Only when the elder Greenwood, who publishes the occasional one-sheet newspaper the Aspen Free Press, called Goldberg this past weekend did the club owner learn of the Aspen connection. Goldberg was simply a fan of Citizen Cope’s music.He is not alone. Greenwood’s 2002 solo debut “Citizen Cope,” an intriguing mix of folk, soul, rock and hip-hop released on the Dreamworks label, featured a guest appearance by bassist Meshell Ndegéocello. On the follow-up, last year’s “The Clarence Greenwood Recordings,” Ndegéocello was again on board, as was an even bigger instrumental gun: guitarist Carlos Santana. Santana was only repaying a favor; Greenwood had been featured on a song, “Sideways,” on Santana’s 2002 album, “Shaman.”

The 36-year-old Greenwood, who sings and plays guitar and keyboards, has also kept good company on stage. A recent tour had him opening for gospel-rock group Robert Randolph & the Family Band. Citizen Cope is set to perform at June’s massive Bonnaroo Festival in Tennessee.Reviewers, too, have been paying attention to Greenwood, who was born in Memphis and raised in Washington, D.C., and takes his stage handle from his middle name, Copeland. “The Clarence Greenwood Recordings” landed on both NPR’s and’s best CDs of 2004 lists. Last fall, Rolling Stone magazine tabbed him as one of 10 artists to watch.

Stewart Oksenhorn’s e-mail address is

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