Peter Cooper Dies: Country Music Journalist, Musician

Peter Cooper, a Grammy-nominated producer, well-respected Nashville journalist, and executive at the Country Music Hall of Fame, passed away on December 6. He was 52.

His relatives confirmed his passing by writing on Facebook that he passed away in his sleep following a fall late last week that left him with a severe head injury.

Before moving to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2014 to serve as museum editor, Cooper, a native of South Carolina, started his career in 2000 as The Tennessean’s top music correspondent.

Peter Cooper’s Cause of death

The Grammy-nominated musician and country music journalist Peter Cooper has passed away. He was 52. According to a statement from his family, Cooper had a catastrophic head injury last week and passed on Tuesday night.

Since Cooper sustained a severe head injury in a fall late last week, a sizable portion of the Nashville music community has kept him in their prayers. In the days preceding his passing, he had continued to be in serious condition, but hospital visitors had said that he had shown signs of attentiveness when they gathered by his bedside.

Instead of sending flowers, the family requested that people donate to the Baker Cooper Fund, the Hall of Fame and Museum, or his son’s education.

peter cooper
Image Source: Village Preservation

Who is Peter Cooper?

Cooper is a music journalist raised in South Carolina and moved to Nashville in 2000. There, he landed a prestigious job with the Tennessean, which helped him establish himself as one of the most influential figures in country music journalism.

Cooper was a country music historian and writer, and he distinguished himself by infusing his work with a thorough understanding of the genre. As a result, he gained a devoted following that included Hank Williams Jr., Johnny Cash, and Kris Kristofferson, among many others.

In Nashville’s country music scene, Cooper was also well-known for serving as a mentor to many burgeoning authors and musicians.

In addition to his son Baker, Cooper is also survived by his ex-wife and longtime companion Charlotte, his father Wiley Cooper, stepmother Emily Cooper, brother Chris Cooper, sister-in-law Jessie Swigger, nephew Jack Cooper and niece Madeline Cooper, and stepfather Al Smuzynski.

Peter Cooper’s Twin Career

As one of the most critical journalists covering country music, Peter Cooper created a thriving second career in addition to being a well-respected musician with a Grammy nomination.

Cooper was an award-winning writer who covered music for The Tennessean from 2000 to 2014; during that time, she interviewed and wrote about a wide range of artists, including Kris Kristofferson, Taylor Swift, George Jones, Johnny Cash, and others.

Cooper “looks at the world with an artist’s eye and a human heart and spirit,” Kristofferson previously said, according to a statement made on Wednesday by The Tennessean.

Cooper quit his job as senior director, producer, and writer at The Tennessean to take a position in Nashville, Tennessee, when visiting the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, where he continued collaborating with musicians from the genre.

Cooper’s Albums and Books

According to a statement from the museum, “he developed and implemented mission-oriented initiatives, exhibitions, podcasts, and, as a writer, neatly expressed the rich nature of the country music story.”

He had a tremendous impact on everyone he interacted with because his heart was even more significant than his talent. He wrote a book about country music called “Johnny’s Cash & Charley’s Pride,” wrote his songs, and worked with other musicians.

“I Love Tom T. Hall’s Songs of Fox Hollow,” a tribute album based on Tom T. Hall’s children’s music, was produced by Cooper and Eric Brace and was nominated for a Grammy. In 2012, it received a Grammy nomination for Best Children’s Album. Additionally, he collaborated on creating the Mac Wiseman album “Songs from My Mother’s Hand.”

His most recent album, “Profiles in Courage, Frailty, and Discomfort,” was released in 2017. He previously released three solo and three albums with fellow musician Eric Brace.

He continued writing after leaving the Tennessean, and his book “Johnny’s Cash & Charley’s Pride: Lasting Legends and Untold Adventures in Country Music” was published in 2017.

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