Although born in the heartland of America in Minnesota, Cooper has spent the last 15 years living and working between his farm in Pennsylvania and NYC. But you wouldn’t know it listening to him lay down tracks for his new album Midnight Drive. Cooper is living testimony that country is a place in the heart, not a place on the map. So how, among the concrete and noise of the New York City streets, did he find his way to country music?
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At a very young age Cooper had a calling but it wasn’t music. He wanted to help people through their darkest hours and found that purpose as a therapist. After receiving his doctorate degree in clinical psychology, he left his home in the heartland and moved to where many would consider the Mecca of psychotherapy – New York City. During his career, he has helped hundreds of families deal with addiction, trauma, obesity and illnesses such as cancer and AIDS well as the aftermath of 9-11. From his work with patients in prisons, city projects, hospitals and clinics, Cooper has seen it all…and those stories live in his music.
“Life in the city is as all-American as what’s going on in the South or the Midwest. We all love; we all hurt; we all have lasting memories of a simpler time. When you come right down to it – the problems and joys we all experience are very much the same”. Which is why, for his follow-up to 2007 debut album Dance in the Wind, he’s drawing from big-city experiences as well as his small-town roots to create a cutting-edge “Concrete Country” sound.
This former Minnesota choirboy hasn’t forgotten his rural roots though. Many of his songs are inspired by his youth whether he’s hitting the back roads in his Ford on the energetic “Midnight Drive,” sketching scenes from his hometown in the nostalgic “Cross Creek” or honoring hometown workers in “Made in America.”
To keep his hands in the dirt and his Ford on the road, Cooper regularly escapes to his farm in Pennsylvania, where he tends to his chickens and works on restoring his barn. Ask him about his environmental mission and he lights up. “Taking responsibility for the planet is really about taking care of our children’s futures,” he says passionately.
Cooper will begin touring again in late 2007 with his Small Change Big Planet Tour, going to one major city per month to spread the word about saving our natural resources while also completing his new album Midnight Drive. Recently, he played to sold-out crowds at The Cutting Room and Crash Mansion in New York City, appeared at the National 4th of July Celebration in Washington, DC; rocked out at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts with Trace Adkins and also performed at the world-famous Wildhorse Saloon for the CMA Music Festival in Nashville as part of ABC television’s Fun in the Sun event.
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