Singer-songwriter Peter Cooper has a quote from Kris Kristofferson on his Web site. It reads, “Peter Cooper looks at the world with an artist’s eye and a human heart and soul. His songs are the work of an original, creative imagination, alive with humor and heartbreak and irony and intelligence, with truth and beauty in the details.” He also has good hair. Good hair and a Kristofferson contact are almost enough to build a career—that Cooper’s songs are filled with everyman-angst and frozen moments of bittersweet beauty is icing.
The musician, who grew up in Spartanburg, S.C., now lives in Nashville. He recently completed his debut album, Mission Door, at Nashville’s House of David Studios. The CD boasts “more steel guitar on it than anything released in ages,” thanks to Lloyd Green (he played on played on The Byrds’ “Sweetheart of the Rodeo” and on Charley Pride’s In Person: Live From Panther Hall album).
Though this is Cooper’s first full-lebgth project, he’s hardly a novice. A career in journalism (he’s written for Xpress) put him in touch with the likes of Todd Snider, Emmylou Harris and Ricky Skaggs. On Mission Door musician friends came out of the woodwork to lend support and talent: “Jason Ringenberg of Jason and the Scorchers played harmonica,” reports Cooper’s Web site. “Bill Lloyd, known for his work with Foster & Lloyd and as a hit country songwriter, played electric guitar and sang harmonies. Jen Gunderman, formerly of The Jayhawks and currently of Last Train Home, pitched in on piano, Wurlitzer and accordion. Dave Roe, who has toured in the bands of Johnny Cash and Dwight Yoakam, laid down acoustic and electric bass lines, and ace percussionists Pat McInerney and Paul Griffith completed the rhythm section. On a version of the Eric Taylor-penned “Mission Door,” Snider, Nanci Griffith and Fayssoux McLean (who provided harmony vocals on some of Emmylou Harris’s finest albums) all took verses.”
—Alli Marshall, A&E reporter