Chris McCooey can surely write a song. He can also hold an audience. In the EP Better Days, McCooey, aligned with a pair of seasoned musicians in Max Butler (guitar) and multi-instrumentalist Thomas deBourbon, inject the culture, tones and aspirations of The Bay Area. California’s sound, which can range from The Beach Boys’ summer-sun-kissed-pop harmonies to the fullness and jamming of the Grateful Dead, as well as the punk all stars in Green Day (think “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)”, somehow melts its way into the stylings on Better Days. McCooey reminds the listener of the world’s beauty, as well as its human anxieties. He makes it sound so easy and you want to keep revisiting these open-diary entries. All six of them. ” - Mindy McCall

Experience "Better Days"

The 6 song EP is out now at all major streaming services

The "Better Days" project, overall, is about reaching for the light at the end of the tunnel. It's optimism seasoned with hard truths, regret and disappointments. Wisdom doesn't come without some pain and scars and the songs of "Better Days" reflect hard earned wisdom through experience and a desire to make a better future for the next generation.

Musically, the project leans into Americana stylings, inspired by early bluesman like Lead Belly, the soul of Otis Redding and the country attitude  of Johnny Cash. The strong presence of multi-instrumentalist Max Butler (Chuck Prophet), expertly takes McCooey's musical vision and paints an inspired and original blend of early influences and newer indie rock sounds and textures. Veteran Bay Area musician, Jennifer Jolly (Zulu Spear), also lends her distinctive, New Orleans jazz inspired keyboard to the songs "Yonder" and "Better Days".


Produced by Chris McCooey and Max Butler

Mixed by Anne-Marie Pleau

Engineered by Dakare Dixon-Essien and AJ Hicks

Mastered by Matt Boudreau

Recorded at East Bay Recorders, Oakland, CA and Creekside Community Church, San Leandro, CA


Max Butler: Electric guitars, pedal steel, acoustic guitars, bass guitar, synth

Nat Butler: Bass guitar

Thomas DeBourbon: Drums and percussion

Jennifer Jolly: Piano, Rhodes, Hammond

Chris McCooey: Vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar

Lewis Patzner: Cello

Anne-Marie Pleau: Piano, synth


Max Butler, Nat Butler, Rachel Butler, Elizabeth Martinie, Christian McCooey, Chris McCooey, Joshua McCooey


Monique Rardin Richardson,

Julie Viens

Chris McCooey: Singer, Songwriter

San Francisco Bay Area-based Singer/Songwriter Chris McCooey is a product of the Bay Area: Born and raised, he has haunted SF, Oakland and Berkeley and they have left their mark on Chris’ writing, playing and his voice as an artist. Raised on grooves, heart, twang, soul, gospel and rock and roll, McCooey’s unique brand of musical storytelling contains collages, vignettes that recollect and muse about what he has seen, how he has felt and who he has known in these parts of this big world. 

Drawing upon his roots, McCooey’s music mixes elements of anthemic heartland rock, country ballads and rhythm and blues-influenced pop. On the lyrical side of things, he deftly explores universal themes and narratives of hope, love, loss, long suffering, aspiration and self-determination. To fully capture his singular vision and unique take on the California sound – something less surf boards and Beach Boys and more of a modern and rootsy style giving nod to 70s-era Golden State singer-songwriters (ala Jackson Browne and Eagles) – McCooey’s original songs are brought to life with a 5-piece band of music industry veterans. 

While forming the full band, McCooey reached out to Oakland based multi-instrumentalist, recording artist, music director and local pal Max Butler (Chuck Prophet) . Building out McCooey’s adept, seemingly-effortless songwriting prowess, heartfelt guitar work and innately-superb rock vocal croon (exhibiting a near-perfect balance of radio-friendly smoothness and gritty emotional intensity), Butler weaves in his live rock performance immediacy; His years of experience playing live to various audiences around the world act as guide. Joining Chris and Max to round out the sonic landscape as a core band member, SF Bay Area musician, drummer/multi-instrumentalist Thomas deBourbon (Small Crush) brings a youthful energy and edge. 

“I am fortunate to have breath in my lungs and all the blessings I can count and am painfully aware of so many who are less fortunate, McCooey reflects upon his main purpose(s) in life, and in his music. “I hope my time this side of eternity counts for something and I can l eave something behind that matters or means something to someone. This music is one channel on that radio. So welcome aboard.” 

In late 2020, Chris McCooey (and his talented band) released his first solo project, the impressive debut EP "Lovers and Cynics". The sophomore EP, "Better Days", will be released Fall,  2021. The EP will be preceded by a string of singles leading up to the much-anticipated drop.