Ray Cooper (Chopper) of the British folk band Oysterband is leaving the band after their UK tour with June Tabor. He has been with the band for over 20 something years and will be embarking on a solo career. The band will be searching for his replacement after their tour. It’s sad to hear since I love Oysterband but I’ll be looking forward to hearing more of Ray’s solo material.
Oysterband posted the news on their Facebook page:
We have to announce that Ray Cooper (“Chopper”) will be leaving Oysterband at the end of our UK tour with June Tabor in February. We’ve known for some time that this was likely, though that doesn’t make it any easier to accept or to tell the world.
For some years Ray has fought to balance competing pressures in his life – living in Sweden and developing a solo career while Oysterband has been busier than ever. He has given his all in every circumstance, which is his nature.
We understand his reasons for going and we wish him the very best with his solo work, but after 24 years of close-knit band community we will miss him immensely. For us, the bond will never be broken.
The rest of us plan to take our time in considering how to replace Ray. We’ll continue writing and arranging songs towards a new Oysterband album once the imminent tour of Denmark and the final tour with June are over. And of course we’ll keep you posted when there are developments.
Meanwhile Ray will be with us and saying a few goodbyes. Why don’t you come along and do the same?
John, Alan, Ian, Dil
and then Ray posted something as well:
Yes, the time has come for me to part ways with my Oyster colleagues after a great many years, a great many albums and a great many wonderful shows. Ever since I released a solo album 2 years ago I knew that a door had been opened for me and another, more challenging, path lay waiting. I have to sing.
The experience of being a part of Oysterband has been a wonderful one, as has been the warmth and energy of the fans we have played to along the way. This has been by far the best group I have ever played with and probably will remain so. Oysterband have much work yet to do, I wish them well and thank them for being who they are.