This September 7 I will perform a Heritage Music Series concert at Pilgrim Chapel in Kansas City, MO, where I will be honored as the 2014 Heritage Series Musician of the Year. To quote the Heritage Music Series :
“This award recognizes an outstanding musician or musical group whose body of work represents a major contribution to Kansas City’s musical heritage. Past Heritage Series Musician award winners include Luqman Hamza, legendary jazz musician; Danny Cox, KC’s Blues icon; and the Wild Women, a popular jazz ensemble. The Heritage Series performance by Cooper will be recorded on CD. The intent of all Heritage Series recordings is to preserve for posterity the live performance of a distinguished musician (who either lives here or has deep roots in the city’s musical heritage) in the acoustically perfect environment of Pilgrim Chapel, which due to its unique design, makes the sound of music sung or played there extraordinary.”
Well. I’m flabbergasted. And deeply moved. It isn’t every day I receive an award or even consider that I deserve one. And to be so honored in my hometown, where I first wrote and played my songs in coffeehouses and bars, is deeply moving. It’s true, I have deep roots in Missouri and Kansas soil that never completely tore away when I transplanted to California in the early 1970′s. I was conceived in a Union Pacific Railway station in Codell, Kansas, born in Fitzgibbons Hospital in Marshall, Missouri, raised in La Tour, Kansas City and Independence. My father, George, took me to my first concert in 1954, when I was three years old. We walked across winter fields, rode in a caboose to Union Station in K.C., hopped a bus across the Missouri River to see Ernest Tubb perform at Memorial Hall in Kansas City, KS. I believe that night I knew in my soul that I wanted to play music for the rest of my life.
I’m grateful for my two hometowns of Independence and Kansas City, cities rich with history, art and music, and to all the good folks at the Heritage Music Series for their acknowledgement of my life of music. I am honored indeed.