Road to lead ‘true troubadour’ to Coyle stage Friday night
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Nashville-based troubadour Dana Cooper will bring his story-songs to Coyle’s Laurel B. Johnson Community Center on Friday. — Emily Griffith

By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News

COYLE — Singer Dana Cooper was driving across the expanse that is the San Joaquin Valley outside Bakersfield, Calif., the long road stretching out before him. En route to Sacramento, then Oregon, then the faraway Olympic Peninsula, he chatted with a reporter about his ongoing sojourn.

The road feels just right, for one thing. For some four decades now, Cooper has made a life of crisscrossing the continent, hearing people’s stories, playing in small venues, writing songs.

“He is a true troubadour,” said Norm Johnson, host of the Concerts in the Woods series at the Laurel B. Johnson Community Center.

He’s bringing Cooper in Friday night, which is unlike the series’ usual Saturday bookings.

Johnson wanted to be sure to accommodate the artist’s touring schedule.

As is traditional, admission is by donation to the 7:30 p.m. performance, and all ages are welcome at the community center.

Concert-goers will be seated at a feast of music: Cooper has recorded 24 albums so far, so he has plenty of songs to choose from.

There’s “Enough,” one he wrote with Kim Carnes. It’s a story inspired by Cooper’s father, a railroad man, soldier, steel mill worker and farmer at various times in his life.

And there’s “Leave a Little Mark,” about trying to make a difference while you’re on this earth, along with many more songs inspired by jobs Cooper has worked — taxi driver, nurse’s aide, gardener — and people he’s met.

“The people who host me make it possible for me to do what I do,” he said.

Cooper grew up in Independence, Mo., playing drums, guitar and harmonica in local bands by age 12.

At 16, he was performing at the Vanguard Coffeehouse in Kansas City.

His desire for a life of music drew him away from an art scholarship; instead of college, Cooper took to the road touring Midwest coffeehouses for a year, then sold an electric guitar and his entire record collection to buy a one-way ticket to Los Angeles.

Four months later he was signed to Elektra Records where his eponymous first album, featuring Leland Sklar, Russ Kunkel and Jim Horn, was released in 1973.

Today he’s a one-man traveling band with no plans to slow down.

A favorite comment came from an audience member not too long ago: “Hearing you,” this fan said, “is nutritious for the soul.”

“His songs have a story to tell, and we’re delighted that he chose to make a stop in Coyle to sing them,” said Johnson.

For more information and directions to the Laurel B. Johnson Community Center at 923 Hazel Point Road, see or phone 360-765-3449.

To find out more about Cooper, visit


Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5062, or at

Last modified: April 07. 2014 6:57PM
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