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One of the best things about working at WERS is finding out about incredible, new artists that are bound to go places in the future. Preston Cochran is one of those artists and, even more incredibly, he is an Emerson student! Despite only being in his freshmen year, Cochran has just released his debut album, Stumble Into Tomorrow, on Bandcamp. His profile states that “uses personal experiences and observations to write songs about love, youth, and bemusement” and that the albums “highlight[s] Cochran’s strong melodies and unique sense of vocal harmony… the songs have a contemporary yet timeless quality.” Cochran entered the WERS studios with just an acoustic guitar and got right down to playing his mesmerizing folk and pop ballads.
The first song he played was from Stumble Into Tomorrow and titled “Plain To See”. It was the right amount of soft folk music, wafting along gentle melody of missing love and lose. At times, his high sounding voice was reminiscent of Jeff Buckley or Chris Martin and the mournful lyrics followed suit in the comparison. (“What can I say? Someone else is winning your heart better than me/Falling out of love isn’t always plain to see). While the version Cochran played for WERS was more folky, the album version has a nice country twang to it. A lot of effort was put into the production and arrangements of Stumble Into Tomorrow and it definitely shows. To have such dedication and talent at a young age is certainly impressive.
The song perfectly contrasted the cold weather outside with its comforting and welcoming sound, adding an odd poignancy to watching all of the various people walking around the Common.
He followed up with the catchy “Made of Two” that featured a jumpy chord progression and some nice “da da”s thrown into the chorus. Whereas the last song had a more somber tone, this one definitely gave off a sunny and happy feeling; a nice showcase for Cochran’s knack for balancing different moods and emotions across an expanse of tracks. The acoustic version of this song is certainly different from the album version which is replete with power-pop production: A handful of catchy guitar riffs, a big rhythm section driven by the beat of a tambourine, and some nice harmonies rounding up the lot.
The final song was “It’s Not Fair”, a soft and tender moment with a handful of sad lyrical lines. He patiently cries “When we feel this, how can I heal?” and “we both know that it’s too late, we can’t ignore what we feel”. While heartbreaking lyrically, there is a nice build up to a catchy chorus filled with more “da da”s. The combination of a catchy melody, bouncing chord progressions, and somber lyrics make “It’s Not Fair” sound like an odd combination of the first two songs.
With Stumble Into Tomorrow and an early EP, Chase out The Darkness, available on iTunes and Bandcamp, great things are in store for Cochran. It was great to see such a young, Emerson-bred talent play for all of the listeners of WERS!