Jason “Rowdy” Cope: Creator, Performer, Fan, and Student.

Donnie Shelley

     I sat down to write about Jason, and his untimely passing shortly after he left this world.  I found it to be a task that was going to prove to be impossible to accomplish.  Everytime I sat down, I told myself it was time to dig in and get something written. I would start out by rereading The Steel Woods social media statement posted on January 17th on the passing of Jason.

The Steel Woods  6h  · It is with a broken and heavy heart that we share the news that our brother, friend and the founder of The Steel Woods, Jason Cope, has passed away. We are writing this still in a state of shock and kindly ask for your prayers for the family, friends and band at this time. We take comfort in knowing he is in a better place now and his passion for music and art will live forever in the work he has left behind. RIP Rowdy, you will be forever and greatly missed.


 By the time I finished reading, I would zone out in my thoughts. Thoughts of His Mother and Father. His sister.  Also of Jack Mills and what Jasons passing means to him.  Then to thoughts of the loss music will feel. Then on to my friends that have lost a brother. At this point I just had to get up and walk away from doing any writing.
i had given up on following through with writing anything at all on the subject.  Then I read media outlets articles and write ups. One after another all list Jason’s accomplishments, accolades. and lengthy list of artists he had worked with.  A very impressive resume without a doubt.  Every article cited that information.

To me personally, none of those Accolades or accomplishments define the man that i came to know.  What defines the man to me are far more impressive.  Rowdy is quoted saying “You can’t buy passion”.  That’s a pretty heavy statement once the truth of it is realized.  Not only can you not buy passion, you can’t force it.  It cannot be manufactured. it cannot be faked.  Passion, Jason had it in its purest form.  Hot coals burn cold compared to the fiery passion Jason had  Not only for music, but for life.  His passion drove him.  His work ethic unrivaled.  The two combined are what put Jason in another league of guitarists.  Allowing him to forge to the edge of mastering the unmasterable. Jason was always a student of the guitar. Always learning, always practicing and constantly improving.

He had a true love for music. Jason was a creator, a performer, true fan, and as with guitar a perpetual student of music.  Jason couldn’t help but to give more than he took. In the studio, on the stage, and in the street.  He loved the fans. He knew without the fans his calling would have gone unanswered.  Without the fans his art silenced.  The fans made it all possible for him.  In acknowledgement of that he gave us everything he had to give chord after chord, night after night.

Every conversation I was fortunate enough to have with jason.  No matter how short or how long, they would always consist of at least these three topics.  The Fans, family, and music as the fans we are of it.
Those are the things that defined Jason Cope the man to me.  The reasons I am honored to have met, was able to get to know and befriend.  Jason changed my life. He provided me with the medication to mend my soul and save me from myself.  Through the power of music conceived in the fire of his passion.

Until we meet again my friend.  Keep that fire a-goin’, the sun is comin’ soon.
the last skinnerback… allthewayback. Eagle up.

I would like to ask that anyone reading this to please go and see what The Jason “Rowdy” Cope Foundation is doing.  Get involved in any way you can.  Through this foundation helps keep Jason’s passion for healing burning and alive.
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