LL Cooper is led by veteran guitarist, producer, and singer-songwriter Larry Cooper, originally from Houston but now based in Austin. The critically acclaimed Cooper has released three records of Texas roots-rock: Old Hardin Store Road (2007); Tucson (2009); and the newly released Dust Devil (Dec 2014).
Cooper grew up on the edge of the pine tree belt in Southeast Texas to the soundtrack of classic 60's and 70's country during family fish frys before his older siblings infused The Rolling Stones' Exile on Main Street and Led Zeppelin IV into the mix. He cut his teeth in Houston's inner loop music scene playing in various rock, punk, and alt-country outfits before going solo in 2006.
Influenced equally by Son Volt, The Stones, and classic country, his debut record, Old Hardin Store Road, was especially well received by the Houston Chronicle, making "Best of" lists in 2007 and for the decade. Cooper garnered six nominations from The Houston Press Music Awards, including "Best Songwriter". After releasing Tucson in 2009, Cooper moved to the Texas Hill Country and played sporadically throughout the southwest. A cancer diagnosis in 2011 forced Cooper to take a break from music for the first time in 25 years.
After treatments and recovery, Cooper dabbled in several projects before finally settling down in late 2013 to work on his third full length record. Whereas the two previous releases were more band-driven, Cooper created Dust Devil at his hill country studio collaborating with drummer Kenny Braun and producer James Hoover. Blurring the lines between Americana, pop, blues, rock, and country, Dust Devil is messy, but manages to shift gears effortlessly between songs.
Dust Devil is more lyrically dense and complex from the opening track, the autobiographical “Miserable Troubadour” which chronicles an artist struggling to remain relevant after selling out to pay the rent. Hard-hitting social commentary follows on the bluesy, Pink Floyd inspired soundtrack of "Don't take it away from me". There are tales of heartache (“Room Keys”) and desperation (“House Money”), but hope briefly emerges when last chance lovers finally get it right in "The Real Deal", a duet with The Hems' Jamie Zanelotti.
Wild West capitalism is explored in “Gated Community Blues”, where American entitlement thrives in pristine neighborhoods next door to meth dealers. The title track and "Thunderbird Hotel" were inspired by Cooper's travels to deep west Texas, with the latter being a love song for the apocalypse. Finally, Cooper pays homage to roots-rock royalty in his faithful cover of Alejandro Escovedo's "Velvet Guitar", complete with the magic touch of Escovedo's lead guitarist Jon Sanchez.