Dana Cooper - Building A Human Being
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Biography

Contact :
Dana Cooper, (615) 438-3262
danacoopermusic@gmail.com


Booking-Terri Stewart, terri@stewartmgmt.com


Click here to go to Dana Cooper-IncendiaryKid

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Click here to go to Dana Cooper-MadeofMud

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Robert K. Oermann in Music Row Magazine says of Building a Human Being “Nashville veteran Cooper wins the Disc of the Day prize. Highly recommended.”




Building a Human Being
Release Date: 04/01/15

The songs on Building a Human Being deal with all it means to be human. I see our lives as a journey filled with lessons on how to be a better person. Not always an easy task. Personally, I feel the older I get the less I really know. Looking back I've learned to appreciate the hard work my parents exerted to give me a better life, to help me grow into a productive, informed, and empathetic human being. My mother, Betty, taught me to look closer at the world around me, how to draw and paint, to see the good in others, to never stop learning and growing. My father, George, imbued me with a deep love of music. He taught me how to listen, how to open my heart and mind to the wonder and joy of song.

Building a Human Being was funded with the generous patronage of Pledge Music benefactors. This was my second studio recording project with Thomm Jutz. As usual, we gathered a gifted group of musicians and singers together including co-writers Kim Carnes and Sally Barris. I also took the opportunity to record a cover of Dino Valenti's 60's classic Get Together with the participation of Pledge benefactors from my previous Road Show CD project.

Musicians:
Dana Cooper- Acoustic Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals
Thomm Jutz- Electric Guitar, Dobro, Nylon String and Acoustic Guitar, Flute, Mandolin
Mark Fain- Bass Guitar
Lynn Williams- Drums, Percussion
Barbara Santoro- Keyboard, Vocals
Jeff Thorneycroft-Bass, Vocals
Jim Alderman-Drums, Accordion
Terry Crisp-Steel Guitar
Randy Leago-Accordion, Baritone Saxophone
Dave Francis-Bass
Dave Donnelly-Acoustic Guitar
Wes Padgett-Acoustic Guitar
Sally Barris: Background Vocals
Kim Carnes: Background Vocals

Produced by-Dana Cooper and Thomm Jutz
Recorded and Mixed by-Thomm Jutz at TJ Tunes, Nashville TN
Mastered by-Alex McCullough at Yes Master, Nashville TN
Photo by-Jeff Thorneycroft
Graphic Design by-Linda Lou Marks
Egress Painting Detail-Linda Lou Marks

Order of Songs on Building a Human Being

1. No Second Coming (3:21) (Featured Track)

Songwriter: Dana Cooper, Kim Carnes
Publishing & PRO:
Dog Eared Music / Bluewater Music / SESAC
Sparky Dawg Music / BMI
Administered-Bluewater Music

Musicians:
Dana Cooper- Acoustic Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals
Thomm Jutz- Electric Guitar, Dobro
Mark Fain- Bass Guitar
Lynn Williams- Drums, Percussion
Barbara Santoro- Keyboard, Vocals
Sally Barris, Kim Carnes, Jeff Thorneycroft-Vocals

While teaching at a songwriting retreat in Michigan I was given an assignment based on a church in my hometown. Seems they built a tower for Jesus to land on when he one day returns to earth.
Walking along the wind blown shore of Lake Michigan I reflected on the disappointment and frustration Jesus might feel to see our human race still failing to follow his message of love. By simply recalling his teachings, his suffering and dying on the cross for our sins, I put myself in his sandals. I wanted to make people laugh and think seriously at the same time about the work we all need to do in making the world a better, more peaceful place.

The day after writing No Second Coming I performed it for all the attendees at the Songwriting workshop. The response was huge and continues to be with audiences every where I play. It has become one of my most requested songs and I've even sung it at a few Unitarian Church services where folks sang along. Though writing it was a serious endeavor the whole process was also a whole lot of fun. And, so far, I haven't been struck by lightning! ~ Dana Cooper


2. Building a Human Being (3:58) (Featured Track)

Songwriter: Dana Cooper, Kim Carnes
Publishing & PRO:
Dog Eared Music / SESAC / Sparky Dawg Music / BMI
Administered: Bluewater Music

Musicians:
Thomm Jutz- Electric Guitar
Dave Francis- Bass
Lynn Williams- Drums, Percussion
Barbara Santoro-Keyboard
Sally Barris, Kim Carnes,
Barbara Santoro, Jeff Thorneycroft-
Vocals

I came up with the refrain for this song while thinking about the ongoing work of making oneself a better person. The musical feel for the song wanted to be kind of funky in a "Heard it Through the Grapevine" kind of way. While visiting with Kim Carnes I showed her the guitar riff and lyric I had. Next thing we knew we were in the midst of an intense conversation about parenthood and self improvement. By end of the day we had built this funky song. I love Kim's voice and was thrilled when she added her soulful harmonies on this recording.


3. Can My Soul Come Out to Play (4:02)

Songwriter: Dana Cooper
Publishing & PRO:
Dog Eared Music / Bluewater Music / SESAC
Administered:Bluewater Music

Musicians:
Dana Cooper- Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
Thomm Jutz- Nylon String and Acoustic Guitar, Flute
Dave Francis- Bass
Lynn Williams- Drums, Percussion
Sally Barris- Vocals

This song was inspired by something I heard Brian Wilson say in an interview. He was talking about inspiration and how it was like asking your soul to come out to play. Next day I went for a long walk by Radnor Lake in Nashville and Wilson's words kept bouncing around in my head.
I'd been going through a dry spell with writing and the image of being locked behind a forbidding wall and hearing a bird singing on the other side came to mind. By the time I finished my hike I'd written the melody and lyrics. When I got home I pulled out my old Gibson guitar and it was in an open B tuning which fit the mood of the song perfectly.


4. Mandaddy (3:59)

Songwriter:Dana Cooper
Publishing & PRO:
Dog Eared Music / Bluewater Music / SESAC
Administered:Bluewater Music

Musicians:
Dana Cooper- Acoustic Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals
Sally Barris, Barbara Santoro, Jeff Thorneycroft-Vocals

Mandaddy was written in 1974. I was living in California and received word that the grandfather of a past girl friend had passed away. His name was Roy but his family gave him the nickname of Mandaddy. Roy was a gentle man and I always enjoyed his company. He told stories of the Great Depression and how he earned his living as a young man by traveling the countryside doing odd jobs. When I heard of his passing I took my Gibson guitar to the beach in Santa Barbara and wrote this tribute to Mandaddy. Over the years I recorded it a couple of times but was never satisfied with the results. The themes in the song fit this project perfectly.


5. Hawkeye (2:28)

Songwriter: Dana Cooper
Publishing & PRO:
Dog Eared Music / Bluewater Music / SESAC
Administered:Bluewater Music

Musicians:
Dana Cooper- Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
Thomm Jutz- Dobro
Dave Francis- Bass
Lynn Williams- Drums, Percussion
Randy Leago- Accordion, Baritone Saxophone

Driving across west Texas on a winter day I saw a hawk swoop down into a nearby field. A little while later a Highway Patrol car see past me on an overpass. I was reminded of a time when my dad was a tenant farmer. We lived on that farm until I was three or four. I had no one my age to play with so I developed an active imagination.

Sometimes I'd just lie under the trees along the banks of Big Creek watching the clouds change shape as birds of all kinds criss crossed the sky. First time I saw a hawk dive for a kill it was beautiful and terrible at the same time. I always felt empathy for the little critters in the tall grass trying to elude the inevitable.


6. Another Revolution (3:29)

Songwriters: Dana Cooper and Sally Barris
Publishing & PRO:
Dog Eared Music / Bluewater Music / Pauly Girl Music / SESAC

Musicians:
Dana Cooper- Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
Thomm Jutz- Electric Guitar, Mandolin
Dave Francis- Bass
Lynn Williams- Drums, Percussion
Barbara Santoro- Keyboard
Sally Barris- Vocals

Sally Barris and I had been working on a cowrite for several weeks but couldn't seem to wrap it up satisfactorily. Just as we were finishing our writing session Sally said wouldn't it be great to just write something quick and easy. She spoke the first line "wheel of death wall of doom" and I responded immediately with "bounce me 'round the rubber room" and we were off and running. We spent the next hour laughing our butts off and before we knew it we finished "Another Revolution." Never had more fun cowriting.


7. Scarlet Moon (3:57) (Featured Track)

Songwriters: Kim Carnes, Dana Cooper, Donna Weiss
Publishing & PRO:
Dog Eared Music / Bluewater Music / SESAC /
Sparky Dawg Music / BMI /
Donna Weiss Music, Inc. / BMI

Musicians:
Dana Cooper- Acoustic Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals
Thomm Jutz- Electric Guitar, Mandolin
Dave Francis- Bass
Lynn Williams- Drums, Percussion
Terry Crisp- Steel Guitar
Kim Carnes- Vocals

Kim Carnes and Donna Weiss had been working together on this song idea long distance over the phone and computer. When Kim played what they had for me I was blown away. Then when she asked if I would contribute as a third writer I was ecstatic. I loved the almost surrealistic approach they took to the lyric and followed right along in that vein. Kim sent Donna our verses and she emailed back with a terrific bridge. This is a rare three way cowrite for me and I have yet to meet Donna Weiss in person.


8. Half of Me (3:50)

Songwriter: Dana Cooper
Publishing & PRO:
Dog Eared Music / Bluewater Music / SESAC


9. Right the Wrong (4:23)

Songwriter: Dana Cooper
Publishing & PRO:
Dog Eared Music / Bluewater Music / SESAC

Musicians:
Dana Cooper- Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
Thomm Jutz- Electric Guitar
Jeff Thorneycroft- Bass
Jim Alderman- Drums, Accordion
Barbara Santoro- Keyboard

After an all night jam session at the Belfast / Nashville Songwriters Festival in Belfast Ireland I watched the morning pedestrians from my hotel window. The sidewalks were filled with people on their way to work and school, Protestants and Catholics together in the rain. One young woman staggered through the crowd barefooted and wearing only a t-shirt and jeans. She was so intoxicated it appeared the only thing holding her up were the bodies around her. As she disappeared around a corner the guitar part to this song came to me.

I recalled my father George and how he struggled with PTSD, alcoholism and regret after his service in the Tenth Mountain Infantry. As I traveled around Ireland its deep history of struggle, sorrow, and courage kept inspiring more verses. Right the Wrong was one of the most difficult songs I've written because it forced me to face my own family's history and the fact that some things cannot be undone.


10. Thank You (4:09) (Featured Track)

Songwriter: Dana Cooper
Publishing & PRO:
Dog Eared Music / Bluewater Music / SESAC
Administered-Bluewater Music

Musicians:
Dana Cooper- Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
Thomm Jutz- Electric Guitar
Jeff Thorneycroft- Bass
Jim Alderman- Drums



Rainy days seem to inspire a lot of my songs. I was three weeks into a six week tour across the US taking a few days rest with friends in Portland, Oregon. Alone in the house with three cats for company I was feeling physically and emotionally spent. Staring out at the rain I couldn't shake off the melancholy. Suddenly the sun broke through the clouds and Portland became paradise. Hummingbirds flew around the yard as I stepped out into the sunlight and onto the wet grass.

I thought of all the wonderful people in my life and all the support they have given me through the years. An overwhelming sense of gratitude inspired me to pick up my guitar and celebrate all I was thankful for. I played Thank You for my friends when they got home from work. They were moved to tears to hear their three cats made it into the lyric.


11. Get Together (4:07)

Songwriter: Chester Powers, Jr.
Publishing & PRO:
Chester Powers, Jr. / Irving Music / BMI

Musicians:
Dana Cooper- Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
Dave Donnelly- Acoustic Guitar
Wes Padgett- Acoustic Guitar
Sally Barris, Kim Carnes,
Barbara Santoro, Jeff Thorneycroft-
Vocals

"Get Together" has been in my repertoire since the 1960's. The fact that it remains so relevant is a testament to the songs brilliance. It fit so well into the themes of this project that I knew it had to be included. Some of the funding for this recording came through a Pledge Music campaign. One of the pledge levels included a chance to play or sing on the recording. Two friends from Texas, Dave Donnelly and Wes Padgett contributed so they came to Nashville to join me in the studio. It was great fun for them and very satisfying to see them both do so well in an unfamiliar environment.


12. The Day (3:23)

Songwriters: Dana Cooper & Michael Boesen
Publishing & PRO:
Dog Eared Music / Bluewater Music / SESAC
Michael Boesen / KODA

Musicians:
Dana Cooper Acoustic Guitar, Vocals

My dear friend Michael Boesen hosted me every time I visited Copenhagen. All he asked in return was that we write a song together. Over the years we wrote a few and "The Day" is my favorite. Michael and I sat sipping Irish Whiskey and reminiscing about our families. He sat in his father's old chair beneath a painting of his mother and her sister as young girls on the beach in Denmark. We talked about the passing of time, the circle of life. Michael showed me a musical idea he had using two capos on the guitar. The two of us played for a while experimenting with this unusual tuning and tossing lyric ideas back and forth. By the end of the evening we had "The Day."

The next and last time I saw Michael he was recording this song of ours and one other in Austin, Texas. He was excited to work with Chris Gage and his crew of stellar Austin musicians. When he returned home Michael discovered he was terribly ill and would only live for a few more months. He asked me to sing harmony on his project and I sent the files to him overseas. He listened to the final mixes in the hospital and his friends arranged for the CD to be released shortly after his death. I haven't returned to Copenhagen since. One day I hope to sing our song at his graveside.


DANA COOPER BIOGRAPHY

Out of the heartland of America, stomping grounds of Truman and Twain, “powerhouse” troubadour Dana Cooper dedicated himself to a life of music over 40 years ago. This song poet engages and inspires audiences around the world with his quick wit, insightful stories and commanding presence. He is the recipient of the 2014 Heritage Musician award from Pilgrim Center for the Arts in Kansas City, MO. He was also named the 2015 Spirit of Folk award winner by Folk Alliance International. He has performed on Austin City Limits, Mountain Stage and the Kerrville Folk Festival where he was nominated for their Hall of Fame. Cooper’s songs have been recorded by top-notch artists such as bluegrass star Claire Lynch; Irish vocalist Maura O’Connell; and luminary songwriters Pierce Pettis and Susan Werner. Cooper’s mixture of flat-picking, finger-picking and percussive strumming style is legend among other guitarists. An expressive singer his voice is ageless evoking a rich lifetime of experience.

At 12 he sang, played drums, guitar and harmonica in local bands. By 13 he began writing his own songs and at 16 he performed regularly at the prestigious Vanguard Coffeehouse in Kansas City. His deep love and commitment to a life of music drew Cooper away from an art scholarship. Cooper took to the road touring midwest college coffeehouses for one year then sold an electric guitar and his entire record collection to buy a one-way ticket to Los Angeles. Four months later he was signed to Elektra Records where his eponymous first album was released in 1973. The record features such acclaimed players as Leland Sklar, Russ Kunkel and Jim Horn.Years later he returned to San Francisco City College to study another great love, horticulture. Still he played whenever possible in clubs all over the Bay Area. Cooper’s diverse experiences as a taxi driver, warehouseman, nurse’s aid, gardener, waiter and touring musician continued to bring maturity and depth to his songwriting.

Cooper eventually moved to Texas writing, performing and recording with Shake Russell in the late 70s and with his own power trio, DC3 during the early 80s. Returning to his roots as a solo performer Cooper relocated to Nashville in 1988. He has become an integral figure in the Music City songwriting community collaborating with renowned writers such as Tom Kimmel, Sally Barris, Kim Carnes and Don Henry. Cooper has been invited to participate in songwriting workshops from Belfast to Copenhagen to Austin.

His prolific endeavors have resulted in 28 albums. The critically acclaimed Miracle Mile on Compass Records was nominated for a Nashville Music Award as “Best Pop Album” and was chosen by Performing Songwriter magazine as one of the top DIY recordings for the year. Harry Truman Built a Road was named one of the best records of 2002 by The Tennessean and was also chosen as one of the top twelve DIY recordings for that year. Made of Mud released on King Easy Records in 2005 won Cooper the “Best Male Songwriter Award” by Indie Acoustic Project. Working with co-producer/guitarist Thomm Jutz, Cooper released his 27th album, Building a Human Being, in September, 2015.

Cooper and Jutz also coproduced his 28th recording, Incendiary Kid, which will be released October 20, 2017 on Travianna Records. Americana and Folk radio stations across the country are now playing the new CD in anticipation of its release.

Fellow singer songwriter Buzz Holland says “Cooper is a person who can sing like an angel and play like the devil.”

Legendary Texas singer songwriter Eric Taylor said of Cooper’s performance at Kerrville Fall Festival 2015 “Dana Cooper gave the best solo performance I’ve seen and heard for many years. Could be the best I’ve ever.”


Festivals:

Kerrville Folk Festival (Texas)

Belfast/Nashville Songwriters Festival (N. Ireland)

Napa Valley Music Festival (California)

Copenhagen Songwriters Festival (Denmark)

Venues:

The Bluebird Café (Nashville, TN)

The Cactus Café (Austin, TX)

Anderson Fair (Houston, TX)

Berlin Guitars (Berlin, Germany)

McCabe’s (Santa Monica, CA)

The Birchmere (Alexandria,VA)

Passim (Cambridge, MA)
15
  • Members:
    Dana Cooper
  • Sounds Like:
    Paul Simon, James Taylor, Peter Gabriel, Shawn Colvin, Joni Mitchell, Richard Thompson, Beatles, Lindsey Buckingham
  • Influences:
    Bob Dylan, Hank Williams, Joni Mitchell, Richard Thompson, Buffy St. Marie, Randy Newman, Tom Waits, The Beatles, Paul Simon, Judy Collins, The Police, Stevie Wonder, Little Feat, Fleetwood Mac, Taj Mahal, Cole Porter, Leonard Bernstein, The Byrds, Tom Pe
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