A native Texan, Clay got his love for music honestly as his grandmother played piano for the Wylie Baptist Church and his father played guitar and performed at local Opry shows.
Shortly after the death of his mother at age 12, Clay took an interest in performing. At age 14 he took the stage at the Wylie Opry, and two years later, he joined a children’s band out of Fort Worth, Texas, called “The Texas Goldminors.”
The group eventually found their way to Branson where they performed at the Ozarks Country Jubilee for what was supposed to be a “summer deal.” The show ended up being a smash, and they ended up staying that whole year, as well as three more seasons.
Throughout the next few years, Clay was a part of the “Country Review Show” in Eureka Springs, Ark., as well as “The Down Home Country Show,” the “Buck Trent Show” and the “Jim Owen Show.” In 1994, one of the biggest shows to ever hit Branson opened in the form of “Country Tonite.” Cooper spent nine years as bass player, lead vocalist and emcee.
In 2003, he left “Country Tonite” to perform as the featured male vocalist in “Paul Harris Live” at the Caravelle Theatre. A few years later, a morning spot opened at the theater and Cooper and his wife, Tina, began to put together a show.
“Clay Cooper’s Country Music Express” opened soon after, taking Branson by storm. Within five seasons, Cooper and company evolved from performing morning shows in a small venue, to headlining night slots at one of Branson’s best, the Clay Cooper Theatre.
Today, “Clay Cooper’s Country Express” features a cast of 24 entertainers, including Clay and Tina’s two boys Colton and Caden, singers, dancers, a full band and comedian Matt Gumm, performing everything from country to rock n roll, and gospel to patriotic.
Not only is Clay Cooper one of the biggest names in the local entertainment scene, but he’s also a huge part of the community. In addition to recently being elected to the Board of Aldermen, Clay works with many local not-for-profits, makes personal appearances to help with fundraisers, and even hosts several free Veteran Tribute shows at his theatre.
“I just feel very lucky to do what I do and be in the position that I am in,” Cooper said.
The Clay Cooper Experience will air every Saturday morning from 7-10 on Legends 106.3 and 94.9.
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