The family of singer, songwriter, performer, producer, journalist, and historian Peter Cooper are asking for thoughts and prayers after the veteran member of the country music community suffered a head injury that was initially thought to be life threatening. “He has experienced some minor improvements over the last 24 hours, but remains in critical condition,” his family said in a statement on Saturday (12-3).
Many members of the country music community have been sharing the news about Cooper, and what he’s meant to the country music community over his multi-faceted career.
“I talked to Peter last weekend and saw him in the hospital yesterday,” says author, manager and publicist Tamara Saviano. “Lindsay Hayes and I were together talking about Peter when he opened his eyes and started responding to questions (with movement, he’s on a ventilator) and he clearly knew we were there. Seeing those responses has given me so much hope. We need a Christmas miracle here and maybe we will get one.”
It’s hard to know where to start enumerating the contributions of Peter Cooper to country music since they’re so vast. To some he’s known as a singer and songwriter who has released multiple albums, including ones in collaboration with Eric Brace, and another from 2010 called The Lloyd Green Album with legendary steel guitar player Lloyd Green. Cooper was nominated for a Grammy award for co-producing I Love: Tom T. Hall’s Songs of Fox Hollow, and played bass guitar for Todd Snider on The Tonight Show and The Late Show among other gigs.
But many know Peter Cooper from his bylines in The Tennessean and other places, and he came up in the business as a music journalist. Originally from South Carolina, Cooper attended high school in Washington DC. When he was 15, Peter heard the music of the DC-based progressive bluegrass band The Seldom Scene and fell in love. He wrote his first music review as a senior at Wofford College after attending a Guy Clark show.
Peter Cooper moved to Nashville in 2000 and began writing for country music’s newspaper of record, The Tennessean, composing columns and news stories that went on to help break artists, define history, and make some history of his own, from writing the inscription on the tombstone of George Jones, to being called out by Toby Keith over a misconstrued Kris Kristofferson quote, to defending Taylor Swift in 2010 after her notorious off-key Grammy Awards performance.
As a historian and teacher, Peter Cooper worked as a senior lecturer at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music and taught a country music history class. In 2014, he was hired by the Country Music Hall of Fame as senior director, producer and writer. Many of the descriptions you read beside artifacts at the Hall of Fame were written by Cooper.
There is no word currently on how, when and where Peter Cooper sustained his head injury. Family and friends are asking for “time and space to heal.” But news of his condition has shaken the country music community, and created a significant blow to the country music brain trust, with everyone hoping for a full recovery.
More information when it comes available.