Larry Hooper loves music. This is evident in the passion with which he talks about music, or by simply looking at his extensive music collection. What is also evident is that he loves songwriting and songwriters. Since graduating high school, Hooper has become part of a close-knit network of friends who share his passion for songwriting and his respect for those songwriters who paved the way for today’s songsmiths.
Growing up in the Piney Woods of East Texas, Hooper’s exposure to quality lyric-driven music was limited to the classic country station that often played on radios in the hardware stores and meat markets of his small town. It was not until he started spending time following his cousins’ bluegrass band, The Coleman Brothers and the Lone Star Boys, that his fascination for traditional and Americana music began to really take off. In high school, Hooper began to be exposed to songwriters such as John Prine, Steve Earle, Guy Clark, and Townes Van Zandt. After hearing these masters at their craft, Hooper decided that he wanted to immerse himself further into music. He got his first guitar, and soon after graduating from high school began playing open mics whenever he got a chance. He was often joined on stage by his older brother and sometimes co-writer Jeromy for harmonies and accompaniment, a pairing that can still be seen on occasion. It was at an open mic at the famed Saengerhalle in New Braunfels, Texas that Hooper really began to hone his skills as a songwriter and performer alongside such greats as Slaid Cleaves, Jeff Plankenhorn, Ray Wiley Hubbard, and Susan Gibson. From New Braunfels, Larry moved to College Station for a brief stint at Texas A&M University where he further increased his circle of musician friends by sharing the stage with artists such as Mike Ethan Messick, Gabe Wootten, and members of the newly-formed string band, The Sidehill Gougers. This network of artists accelerated his growth as a singer-songwriter and by the time he released his debut album Rust in 2006 he had crafted a collection of story-songs and character tunes that give a nod to his influences while creating a sound that is inarguably all his own. Bluegrass, blues, folk and country all mesh fluidly from the title tracks description of a town with a bleak future after the oil bust to the fan favorite “Background Music” which laments a singer-songwriter who doesn’t mind the apathy until he sees it in the one person that he is really singing to. Another highlight of the album is “Wild Side”, a duet with co-writer Susan Gibson that calls to mind classic parings like Prine and Dement. Through several years of solo and festival shows, Larry Hooper has impressed music fans of all ages and created great anticipation for a follow-up.
Though family obligations have caused Larry Hooper to scale back his touring schedule, he will no doubt return to bring well crafted, heartfelt music to anyone with the good sense to listen.