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Nashville journalist, historian and musician Peter Cooper died after sustaining a head injury

Peter Cooper dead at 52 – Nashville musician & country star dies after suffering severe head injury in fall days earlier



Cooper, who also held the position of Senior Director, Producer & Writer at the Country Music Hall of Fame, has contributed much to the the recording of modern country music history. Cooper was 52.

Cooper worked as a reporter for the Tennessean for a significant amount of time, during which he covered a wide variety of musical genres and musicians. His writing has previously been published in the journals Esquire, Oxford American, Mix, and American Songwriter. Emmylou Harris, Kris Kristofferson, Cowboy Jack Clement, Ronnie Milsap, and Mac Wiseman are all members of the Country Music Hall of Fame. Cooper penned the liner notes for their respective albums, and he also penned the inscription that appears on George Jones’ tombstone.

His family said: “It is with heavy hearts that we let you know that Peter Cooper passed away in his sleep last night, December 6, after suffering a severe head injury late last week.

“We so appreciate the kind words and prayers you have offered over the past few days. Please know that they have provided Peter and us with much comfort.

“We will soon announce details about a celebration of life to take place in early 2023.”

In addition to these works, Cooper authored the book Johnny’s Cash and Charley’s Pride: Lasting Legends and Untold Adventures in Country Music, co-authored Bill Anderson’s Whisperin’ Bill Anderson: An Unprecedented Life in Country Music, and contributed to Tom T. Hall’s The Storyteller’s Nashville: A Gritty and Glorious Life in Country Music as a writer of the book’s preface. All of these works were published.

Cooper was a producer and singer-songwriter who has been nominated for a Grammy. He also collaborated with singer-songwriter Eric Brace on three albums and appeared on the Grand Ole Opry, A Prairie Home Companion, The Tonight Show, and The Late Show with David Letterman. He recorded three albums as a solo artist and three albums with Brace. The redesigned version of I Love: Tom T. Hall’s Songs of Fox Hollow that Cooper and Brace developed and released in 2012 earned a nomination for a Grammy Award in that year. Cooper’s work as a songwriter has been covered by a variety of artists, including John Prine, Bobby Bare, and Jim Lauderdale, amongst others.

A memorial service honoring Cooper’s life is scheduled to take place somewhere in the early part of 2023.

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

The family requests contributions in place of flowers either to the Baker Cooper fund to aid Peter’s son’s education or to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum to aid the educational endeavors of their cultural institution.

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