By Mary Jane Farmer


For the Van Alstyne Leader


Johnny Cooper became a North Texas musical favorite while still in high school, fronting his own band and writing many of the songs they performed at several Grayson and Collin county venues.


Don and Judy Withers were two of the many followers who came to see and hear Cooper again when he performed solo at El Patio Escondido earlier this week.


Judy Withers danced to Cooper’s music with her toddler granddaughter Quinn who - gauging by her attention to the musicians onstage and the smile on her face - displayed admiration for Cooper’s music. Quinn was among many young people who enjoy the live music.


Cooper plays bass guitar with Prophets and Outlaws, a Texas band whose song “Believer” hit high on the Texas music charts in 2019. He also performs solo other nights.


Cooper has been busy perfecting the use of equipment and a technique called “looping,” for which he records as he sings, then uses the recording as background music while performing the song. At times, he looped both his guitar and his vocals, creating an underscore that made every song seem even more interesting. At times, it sounded as though he had a backup band behind him. The loops are not saved for future use, Cooper explained.


After acquiring the equipment for looping, Cooper said he worked at home to learn and perfect its use before taking it out to a show. He said crowd response for the technique has been positive.


Cooper will be back at El Patio Escondido in about three months. On Saturday, Stephen Pride will perform at the restaurant, where free, live music begins 6:30 p.m.