Tuesday 29 Jul

TJ Mayes - "When Love Comes Down"

’50s era rock ’n’ roll had been long overdue for a rebirth. Thankfully, the stockpile of capable luminaries has not been in short supply over the past few years. 

07/23/2014 | Comments 0

Boare - "playdatshit"

The world is in the midst of an electronic music renaissance, and you find most of this boon of producers laying claim to the club-friendly, bass-dropping variety, holing up in the the free-flowing world of hip-hop beatmaking or pitching their tent on the out-there, boundary-pushing EDM camp.
07/23/2014 | Comments 0

Broncho - "Class Historian"

Broncho has never been hurting in the hook department. The success of the trio’s 2011 debut, Can’t Get Past the Lips, was predicated mostly on its ability to marry melodies with kinetic guitar riffs and anarchic energy. Yet we’ve heard nothing to the degree of pure pop catchiness on display in “Class Historian,” the new single from Broncho’s upcoming sophomore album, Just Enough Hip to Be Woman.
07/23/2014 | Comments 0

Manmade Objects - Monuments

No one wants to be forgotten; everyone wants some sort of legacy, a mark they leave behind as they exit this life for whatever lies beyond.

And for as long as there has been death, there have been monuments — whether austere or understated, abstract or concrete, prominent or tucked away in private — erected by the ones they loved to assure that remembrance, at least for a time.
07/15/2014 | Comments 0

Admirals - Amidst the Blue

Sometimes it helps to not be very good.

Some of the best albums and artists were born out of happy accidents owed to varying degrees of early suckage — the perfect note or chord for a song found by missing the one you are aiming for, failed mimicry of an idol bearing something entirely new and great instead.

07/09/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Music · Music · Cooper futures

Cooper futures

At an age when most are graduating from college, red dirt’s Johnny Cooper is already an old pro.

Joshua Boydston March 2nd, 2011

Johnny Cooper
10 p.m. Friday Wormy Dog Saloon
311 E. Sheridan
wormydog.com, 601-6276

Tours are no place for parents — even if you aren’t anywhere near Mötley Crüe levels of debauchery — but when you’re a red-dirt musician playing in bars and haven’t hit the legal drinking age, there’s not much of a choice.

“Those were some good ol’ times, having my mom or dad right there with me,” said Johnny Cooper, now 22. “I’ve been gigging since I was 17, if that shows you how many shows I’ve played in bars before I was old enough to be in them. I had to have my mother or father with me, and one of my band members was signed up as my legal guardian if they couldn’t be there. I even had to have an affidavit that said I was there strictly to work. Some venues wouldn’t even let me come out from backstage.”

The Texas native no longer needs legal documentation to take the stage, but he’s still younger than your average country singer. In a genre where the biggest names are well into their 30s and 40s, Cooper is making his mark at a remarkably fresh age. Thanks in part to a childhood flooded with music, he realized quickly what he’d be doing for a living.

“I was either in a dance studio or hanging out with my dad, who was running nightclubs and having live music come through,” he said. “It was one of those things that felt like I was supposed to be in the realm of what my parents were doing. It just felt right.”

So he took up the drums around 15 before a chance encounter with a show promoter led him to pick up the guitar and take a stab at singing to nab his first paid gig. Cooper’s dad encouraged him to try his hand at songwriting; he hasn’t looked back since, playing upward of 180 shows a year. After performing Friday at Wormy Dog Saloon, he’ll record a live disc over the two days following in Wichita Falls, Texas.

Youth has allowed him to avoid the heavy tolls of sustained time on the road, but it’s also come with other advantages, like a willingness and desire to deviate from the norm. His sophomore album, 2009’s “Follow,” brought in funk, R&B and pop influences to the tried-and-true red-dirt sound in which he began.

“I wanted a sound that didn’t sound like anything else around me,” Cooper said. “My whole thing since I’ve started was taking all that I love and finding a way to mend it together.”

He certainly dove into decidedly non-red-dirt fare when seeking inspiration. He went with Sly and the Family Stone, The Roots and John Mayer, finishing with a genre-bending record that might have turned away the purists, but appealed to a wider spectrum.

“That’s understandable, and I can see why, but it seems like most people are still right there with us. For me, it comes back to an old Willie Nelson saying, something like, ‘Bring the hippies and rednecks, and bring them all together,’” he said. “I’d love to be that guy that is 70 years old, still out onstage playing music for people. … I look forward to that more than anything.”

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