Thad Cockrell

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Thad Cockrell
Thad Cockrell1.jpg
Thad Cockrell, Nashville 2003
Background information
Birth nameThad Aaron Cockrell
BornNorth Carolina, U.S.
GenresAlternative country, gospel, alternative rock
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter, musician
Years active1990s–present
LabelsYep Roc
Associated actsCaitlin Cary, Leagues

Thad Aaron Cockrell is an American singer-songwriter. He has released three solo albums, along with a collaborative album with Caitlin Cary. Cockrell, who often writes emotional songs, is frequently associated with his goal to "put the hurt back in country".[1][2][3]

Early life[edit]

While in school, Cockrell discovered his love of country music and rock n' roll, which was forbidden in his home.[2] Cockrell cites bands such as The Everly Brothers, The Cure, and Nelson as early influences.[2]

Music career[edit]

Cockrell recorded his first album Stack of Dreams with Chris Stamey of The dB's. It was recorded in one day as a demo. Cockrell liked it so much, he began selling it at his shows as an EP. Eventually the recording was re-mixed and given another track for the album's release on Yep Roc Records in 2001. Cockrell's friends and former Whiskeytown members Caitlin Cary and Skillet Gilmore played on the album. AllMusic gives a favorable review of Cockrell's debut, describing his voice as "the kind of high, lonesome warble that can raise the hair on your neck and put a tear in your eye", and the album as "striking a nice balance between not-so-rowdy honky tonk and heart-worn balladry".[4]

In 2003 Cockrell again worked with producer Stamey for his second release Warmth and Beauty. picked the album as a top independent release.[5] Allmusic proclaimed that the album is "pure country music, untainted by commercial considerations and without rock influences".[6] Cary and Tift Merritt lent harmony vocals on the song "Why Go".

Cockrell again collaborated with Cary for the 2005 duet album Begonias. A review in the Washington Post praises the album for conveying the complexities of marriage, writing that it is "as good a traditional country album as we're likely to hear this year".[7] Alternative country magazine No Depression praises Cockrell's lyrics as "straightforward simplicity", and also compliments the singing on the album as "intimate, immediate and intentionally under-rehearsed to capture an edge of freshness".[3]

After the three Yep Roc releases Cockrell moved to Nashville to focus on songwriting for financial reasons.[2] He wrote and co-wrote songs for Lost Highway artist Donovan Frankenreiter and Universal Records artist Courtney Jaye.[2] Cockrell continued to perform in Nashville. According to collaborator and Roman Candle's leader Skip Matheny, Cockrell was "more popular than ever".[2] However, reflecting a desire to "write less and find a community where he could be more than a musician", Cockrell left Nashville to return to North Carolina.[2]

During his time in Nashville, Cockrell co-wrote and recorded a duet with Mindy Smith for her 2007 Christmas album My Holiday, entitled "I Know the Reason".[8]

On October 13, 2009 Cockrell's first solo album in six years, To Be Loved, was released. It is described as "a collection that mixed lush, brooding melodicism and rustic, folk-y shuffles".[9] Cockrell commented that it is "more me than any previous release".[9] Independent Weekly says it is "a conflict-driven mix of love songs for Jesus and women. It laces gospel and country influences into gentle, loping tunes".[2] It was recorded in Nashville with producer Jason Lehning, who has also worked with Alison Krauss.[9]

Cockrell also performs with a Nashville band, Leagues (band).[10]

In the spring of 2016, Cockrell announced that he is working on his fifth solo album, via PledgeMusic.[11]


Cockrell is the only child amongst three sons not to become a pastor.[2] While Cockrell has many songs reflecting his faith, it has been noted that Cockrell's overall body of work doesn't consistently contain these themes. He has commented that he has "lost fans for his religious convictions and alienated some Christians with songs that aren't always about God".[2] An extensive Cockrell feature in Independent Weekly concludes that "archetypal conflict—secular pleasures and aims versus Christian tenets and rules—has powered Cockrell's songwriting".[2]


Year Title Label
2001 Stack of Dreams Yep Roc
2003 Warmth and Beauty Yep Roc
2005 Begonias (with Caitlin Cary) Yep Roc
2009 To Be Loved Major 7
2016 Alone Together (with LEAGUES) Dualtone


  1. ^ Hage, Erik. "Thad Cockrell". AllMusic. Retrieved 26 January 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Currin, Grayson (November 26, 2008). "Thad Cockrell returns from Nashville, finally ready to mix his music and his faith". Independent Weekly. Retrieved 2009-10-24.
  3. ^ a b Ray, Linda (July 2005). "Caitlin Cary & Thad Cockrell". No Depression. Retrieved 2009-10-24.
  4. ^ Hage, Erik. "allmusic ((( Stack of Dreams > Overview )))". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-10-24.
  5. ^ Craig Shelburne (September 24, 2003). "10 Independent Albums Worth Checking Out". Yep Roc. Archived from the original on 2003-09-25. Retrieved 2009-10-24.
  6. ^ Horowitz, Hal. "allmusic ((( Warmth & Beauty > Overview )))". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-10-24.
  7. ^ Himes, Geoffrey. "CAITLIN CARY & THAD COCKRELL "Begonias"". The Washington Post. Yep Roc. Retrieved 2009-10-24.
  8. ^ Gilstrap, Andrew. "Mindy Smith: My Holiday". Popmatters. Retrieved 2009-10-24.
  9. ^ a b c Keiper, Nicole (October 9, 2009). "Thad Cockrell readies new album, returns to Nashville". The Tennessean. Retrieved 2009-10-24.
  10. ^ Bruce, Taylor. "Meet Nashville Songwriter Thad Cockrell". Southern Living. Retrieved 2 March 2011.
  11. ^

External links[edit]