Dana Cooper (615) 438-3262
Management & Booking:
Corinne Tames, email@example.com
Dana Cooper tours the world as a singer songwriter and songwriting mentor
Born in the "Heart of America" Dana Cooper was raised in Kansas City and Independence, Missouri. His father was a steel worker who aspired to being a musician and took Dana to his first live Ernest Tubb concert when he was three years old. Cooper's mother was a painter and voracious reader who taught her son to read and draw before he reached first grade. Dana's career spans five decades and he is still going strong.
Incendiary Kid - 2017
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Incendiary Kid is my third recording project with co-producer Thomm Jutz and it's my favorite so far. From the beginning Thomm and I planned on using only acoustic instruments in the production. I love the warmth and intimacy that all the musicians and singers brought to this recording. In the true sense this is a return to my roots. The themes range from the loneliness of childhood, friendship betrayed, agoraphobia, the ongoing experiment that is America, and our shared mortality.
Incendiary Kid features an incredible group of musicians and singers including the great bluegrass player Justin Moses, Andrea Zonn fresh from her tour with James Taylor, renowned singer Ingrid Graudins, and Nashville "go to" accordionist Jeff Taylor.
This began as a slow moving project. I had no real deadline in mind and was pleasantly surprised when Thomm Jutz informed me that Travianna Records was interested in releasing the album. It is heartening to have the support of a dedicated record label that believes in my work.
Building A Human Being - 2015
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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.
Road Show - 2012
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The Conjurer - 2010
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The Conjurer was the beginning of a long friendship with wunderkind Thomm Jutz. Together we have completed four CD projects to date and this was the first. An amazing songwriter in his own right, Thomm is also a terrific singer and multi-instrumentalist, and one heck of an engineer and producer. We are both meticulous at pre-production and spent quite a bit of time choosing songs and players.
This was also my first time working with Pledge Music and I had my hands full figuring out how to effectively run the campaign and reach my financial goal. Thomm was flexible and generous enough to suggest we begin recording before I even acquired my budget.
Again, the musicians who contributed their gifts were just amazing. Kim Carnes, my co-writer on "Enough" came in to lend her soulful voice, as did force of nature Ann McCrary. The much in demand Fats Kaplin played mandolin, steel guitar, and violin. Luminary bluegrass musicians Deanie Richardson and Jeremy Abshire created a rocking fiddle section on "Cold Wind and Bitter Fiddles." The extraordinary Kirby Shelstad played tabla. Dave Roe on bass and Pat McInerney on drums provided an in the pocket rhythm section. And Thomm Jutz played everything from electric guitar to Glockenspiel.
What a fantastic start to a long working relationship with one of Nashville's finest musicians and producers. I always look forward to working with Thomm Jutz. Each time it's different but always comfortable and rewarding musically.
Made Of Mud - 2005
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Made of Mud was the second time I worked in the studio with my old friend Richard McLaurin. Richard is one of those amazing people who seem to be able to do anything they put their mind to. A multi-instrumentalist, singer, engineer, producer, arranger, mechanic, photographer, all in one. He was managing the iconic House of David Studios on Music Row for owner and icon in his own right, David Briggs. David gave Richard the go ahead to produce a few projects dear to his heart, and since we had long wanted to work with one another, we began pre-production.
First, Richard video recorded me performing 25 or so songs. He then studied the recording and chose 15 songs for us to start with. We began the sessions with Dave Jacques on electric and upright bass, and Paul Griffith on drums and percussion. The three of us played everything live together in the old Victorian house with the stained glass window looking down on us.
We recorded onto 2 inch tape just as I had on most of my previous albums. Once we narrowed the song down to eleven that we were pleased with I began re-singing everything in the isolation booth that Elvis Presley once sang in. One day while we took a break I played my version of Woody Guthrie's "Pretty Boy Floyd." Richard immediately sent us back into the studio and we cut it live, guitar, bass, and drums.
Richard brought in a choice group of players and singers to put the icing on our cake. Eric Fritsch played piano, clarinet, b3, slide guitar, and samples. Richard provided electric guitar, steel guitar, mandolin, synth, percussion, and vocals. Steve Hermann played trumpet and Flugelhorn.
Another dear friend, John Condon released the CD on his new label, King Easy Records. Tohru Nakamura, who I first met in New York City when I was an Elektra artist in 1973, drove to Nashville to take photos for the project. Needless to say, Made of Mud is dear to my heart because of the friends who believed in me and gave their best to the project.
Harry Truman Built A Road - 2001
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Harry Truman Built a Road was inspired by David McCullough's biography titled Truman. I grew near Harry's house in Independence, Missouri. In fact, when I was 13 I threw a cherry bomb on Truman's front porch and yelled "give 'em hell Harry." This is the first recording project I did with producers Richard McLaurin and Mack Linebaugh. We recorded everything with me on guitar and vocal along with a click track. Then we brought in the other musicians and singers.
Miracle Mile - 1997
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Josh Leo is an old friend of mine from our hometown of Kansas City. We met around 1967 when we both played in coffee houses around town. I left Missouri and headed to California where we met up again in an unemployment line in 1976.
After that we kept in touch sporadically and renewed our friendship when I moved to Nashville in 1988. Josh and I became song writing partners and occasionally played shows together in town. He and I kept talking about recording a project together but the time never seemed right. We began recording tracks for the Miracle Mile project in 1995. That project was soon interrupted when Josh had a commitment on a major label artist.
I recorded a live in the studio CD, “Roughly Speaking,” which included many of the songs Josh and I had earmarked for Miracle Mile. Just as I began mixing, Josh contacted me about finishing our recording. We gathered a host of fantastic musicians and singers including Lyle Lovett and Maura O’Connell. We booked time at Bill Cuomo’s Manzanita Studios in Arrington Tennessee and cut live with a full band.
Once everything was mixed Compass Records released “Miracle Mile.” The CD was nominated for a Nashville Music Award in 1997.
Roughly Speaking - 1994
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In 1994, while waiting for a recording project with Josh Leo to resume, I went into the studio in Texas to record a solo, live session. Many of the songs on Roughly Speaking wound up on the full band production Miracle Mile. I co-produced with Nick Carlton of No Mountain Studios in Midland Texas.
I flew back and forth from Nashville to Midland over a period o months. As soon as we mixed the project and were preparing to release it Josh contacted me. His major label projects were over for the time being and we began planning the Miracle Mile production.
Stone By Stone - 1992
Release Date: 1992
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I wrote all the songs on STONE BY STONE over a period of twenty years.
Stone By Stone was funded by many of my fans who loaned me the money and were paid back out of the initial sales of the CD. I recorded with Nick Carlton in his NoMountain Studio in Midland, Texas.
Complicated Stuff - 1988
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In 1987 my power trio of four years, DC3, was winding down. I began playing solo concerts again. In particular the intimate setting of house concerts inspired me to return to my roots as a solo singer songwriter.
A bass playing friend of mine, Karl Caillouet, also owned a recording studio in Houston, Texas where DC3 had recorded an album project. Karl and I discussed plans for my first solo recording in years. Together we planned out the most effective way to utilize the 8 tracks available. We kept the process simple with me playing most of the instruments and bringing in a few other players along the way.
Since we were limited in tracks we combined instruments and vocals wherever there was space on a track. This meant there might be a vocal on a track through part of the song then on the same track later there would be percussion or a guitar part. After every session I would return home to listen along with what we’d recorded and rehearse harmonies, harmonica and guitar parts. Next day we would find where to place the additional parts. Everything was well practiced so recording was quick and efficient.
Initially I released Complicated Stuff as a cassette, then later, with the help of Keith Grimwood and Ezra Idlet, I rereleased it as a CD. Keith and Ezra were a dynamic duo called Trout Fishing in America. They were some of the first people who befriended me when I moved to Houston in 1978 and our friendship still thrives today.
Complicated Stuff was the recording I passed around in Nashville when I began visiting the city in 1986. The recording grabbed a lot of attention with publishers and songwriters in Music City and that response led to my moving to Nashville in 1988.
Nuclear Family - 1987
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In 1986 my power trio, DC3, was winding down and expanding into a four piece band. Don Daley joined us on electric guitar and I changed the name of the group to Nuclear Family. We went into Heights Sound Studio where I would later record Complicated Stuff. This was an 8 track studio so we had to be economical in how wet used the tracks. We recorded everything live to tape and then added minimal overdubs for harmonies and extra instruments. By the time the album was released the group was on its last legs. I then went on to pursue my solo career again.
Lost LA - 1976
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In 1976 my producer from the Elektra project, Stan Farber, took me into the studio to demo four new songs to pitch to record labels. The session was so long ago and the tapes only recently resurfaced. So far, I don’t recall who the drummer and guitar player were. I’m researching and hope to find out their names. I do remember Mike Meros on keyboards and Joe Chemay on bass. Mike and Joe worked with me on my 1974 Seattle album project that was never released. Impeccable musicians and a joy to work with.
Dana Cooper Elektra 73 -1973
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A fellow I met at a coming out party I played in Kansas City was taken with my music. His name was Bill Barnett and he worked at Screen Gems Films. Bill said he knew a few people in the music business and he would introduce me to them. So, just before I turned 20 I sold much of what I owned, record collection, electric guitars and bought a one way airplane ticket to Los Angeles. I slept on Bill’s couch for a week, got a job, and rented my own funky forty nine dollar a month studio apartment right across from Paramount Studios.
Bill introduced me to Stan Farber, a renowned studio singer and record producer. Stan took me to every record label in town and I played live for folks right in their offices. After a series of near deals and a lot of rejections we met Marlin Greene the A&R man for Elektra Records on the west coast. Marlin was particularly taken with two of my songs, Oklahoma Rodeo Queen, and Jesse James. I’d been in LA for just a few months and was offered a record deal with Elektra. I was given artistic control and allowed to choose any musicians I wanted. We waited for me to sign the contract until I turned twenty one. The album was released just after I turned twenty two. It’s difficult to describe my excitement to work with some of the finest musicians in the world. I remain proud of this project to this day. Though many of my songs were rather young and in need of development the production holds up well.
DANA COOPER BIOGRAPHY
Cooper’s lifelong devotion to music began at age 12, and by college age he was signed with Elektra Records. His first album was released in 1973, and included Leland Sklar, Russ Kunkel, and Jim Horn. After years in Kansas and California, Cooper moved to Texas where he wrote and performed with Shake Russell in the late 70s, as well as his own band, DC3, in the early 80s. In 1988 he moved to Nashville, TN and began collaborations with Tom Kimmel, Sally Barris, Kim Carnes and Don Henry.
His time as a troubadour can be easily measured in his impressive 28 albums and collection of accolades including, the Heritage Musician Award from The Pilgrim Center for the Arts in Kansas City, MO (2014), “In the Spirit of Folk” award from Folk Alliance International (2015), nomination to Kerrville Folk Festival’s Hall of Fame, Nashville Music Award’s “Best Pop Album” for Miracle Mile (1997), Tennesseean’s “Best Record” award for Harry Truman Built a Road (2002), and Indie Acoustic Project’s “Best Male Songwriter” award for Made of Mud (2005). His songs have been recorded by bluegrass singer Claire Lynch, Irish vocalist Maura O’Connell, as well as songwriters Pierce Pettis and Susan Werner. His incredible catalogue and musical sensibilities have led to endorsements from AirPlay Direct and Elixir Strings.
With forty years of music to his name, Dana Cooper continues to enthrall audiences with his musical storytelling, impeccable wit, and poetic delivery. A true renaissance man, Cooper’s life experiences as a taxi driver, warehouseman, nurse’s aide, waiter, horticulturist, painter, and touring musician tell a deeply compassionate and honest tale that captures every audience. Cooper is currently on tour promoting his latest album Incendiary Kid.
Kate Wallace of Trinity Backstage is absolutely correct when she says, “He's clever, deep, crafty, poetic, melodic, ironic and hilarious. In short — the best.”