DarielB – Flying Under the Radar

Dana Cooper at South By Southeast Nov. 1

Posted in Music Stories by darielb on October 30, 2008
(Top to Bottom): Singer/songwriter Dana Cooper (Photo by Anthony Popolo); Cooper's CD, 'Made of Mud' (2005).
(Top to Bottom): Singer/songwriter Dana Cooper (Photo by Anthony Popolo); Cooper’s CD, ‘Made of Mud’ (2005).
I have to admit, when I got a phone call from Dana Cooper to tell me he’d be performing at the Train Depot in Myrtle Beach, I had no idea who he was. No matter, though. If South By Southeast organizers Jeff Roberts and Seth Funderburk are bringing him to town, that’s good enough for me. Besides, I love a musician who can dial his own phone.
Dana Cooper, it turns out is a passionate singer/songwriter with kind of a wistful endearing voice. He’s been called things like “Nashville’s best kept secret” (—Vic Garbarini, Playboy) and “an undeniable power-pop gem” ( —Bob Cannon, Entertainment Weekly).
Cooper is touring in support of his 2005 CD, Made of Mud, released on King Easy Records. It’s really a writerly sort of recording. Insightful lyrics are front and center. Track one, titled “Step Into the Light,” was written some 30 years ago about the Vietnam War. The title track speaks to the notion that people are more alike than different.
Dana Cooper is clearly an accomplished guitarist and harmonica man. Listening to the 11-track CD, I very much look forward to his show at the Train Depot.
According to his website, Cooper was playing clubs in Kansas City by the time he was 16. He earned an art scholarship, but then passed it up in favor of life on the road. In 1973, Electra Records in Los Angeles released his debut album which featured legendary players like Russ Kunkel, Leland Sklar and Jim Horn. Next he moved to Texas and hooked up, musically speaking, with longtime friend Shake Russell. The duo produced a number of very successful folk-rock albums and performed together at numerous venues including Austin City Limits.
Miracle Mile, released in 2002 on Compass Records, is probably his most critically acclaimed recording. It was nominated for a Nashville Music Award for Best Pop Album and was chosen by Performing Songwriter as one of the top 12 DIY recordings of the year.
Tickets are $20 if you’re a SXSE member and $25 if you’re not. It includes the show and a potluck dinner (Bring something to share, if you’re so inclined.). At press time, I hadn’t be advised of the opening act. Dinner starts around 6 p.m. The opener should take the stage by 7 and Dana Cooper will go on at 8 p.m.
Contact Dariel Bendin at darielb@atmc.net or visit her MySpace page at http://www.MySpace. com/culturejunkie .
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