By Angie Roberts Harris
What makes a successful musician? Many musicians spend their entire lives on the road, sacrificing the comforts of home and missing important family events such as little league games, birthday parties, and eating together. Branson entertainers have found a new level of success as they are able to perform and still be home every night with their families. In many cases, they also have the opportunity to work with their loved ones.
Such is the case with Clay Cooper. This professional musician, entertainer, and excellent story teller has been performing on Branson stages since he was sixteen. Thirty great years later, he is married, has three children, and charms audiences in his very own theatre located in the heart of the famous 76 strip in Branson, Missouri!
Clay and his wife, Tina, have produced an interactive and hilarious variety show featuring country music. The large cast of twenty-four musicians, dancers, and performers travel the country and rock radio dial as they perform music genres from many eras and play instruments ranging from a hammered dulcimer to a bicycle tire pump and everything in between!
Warning: there are three awesome stages! The main and biggest stage is in the front with a smaller stage on each side. The main stage also has a stage above the drummer pit. Throw in the cast and you have a three ring extravaganza! Clay also creates another side show as he jumps off the stage to sing and dance in the aisle with an unsuspecting lady.
Clay Cooper’s Country Express variety show features solos, group numbers, impersonations, and comedy. The incredible cast includes Ezrah Noelle, a twelve-year-old powerhouse; Kari Garrison, a stunning female vocalist; and Matt Gumm, an extraordinary comedian, musician, and vocalist who I think is made out of rubber bands and held together with chewing gum! You won’t forget Johnny Lonestar as he twirls his pistols and cracks the whip down in the ‘Backwoods’.
Band members Jimmy Hyde, Dave Clark, Robby Springfield, Jonathan Black, and Barry Bales constitute a fabulous band! Each of them have an impressive list of accomplishments and they produce an amazing sound. Their music director, RP Harrell, has a beautiful voice that I could listen to all day long. He plays the keyboard and also sings several numbers.
Clay’s voice has a strong, vibrant, deep country feel and Tina’s voice is beautiful and clear as a bell. Together, they make an incredible blend! Thirteen-year-old Colt Cooper is blessed with a high, clear, soulful voice and when he performed ‘Walking on Sunshine’, his voice reminded me of his mom’s with a performance style echoing his dad’s. Eight-year-old Caden Cooper channels Michael Jackson as he performs ‘ABC’ with the Jackson 5 in the second half of the show. He not only keeps up, he knocks it out of the park!
Clay takes a ‘chug’ into country legends like Roger Miller and flies on the silver wings of Merle Haggard. The cast takes the audience on a journey from Woodstock with Joe Cocker to the Judd’s ‘Girls Night Out’. The show is complete with an inspiring gospel segment and a grand patriotic finale.
The cast earned a well-deserved standing ovation at the end of the show. Although it was over and the guests were free to leave, they remained standing and listened while Clay visited with a fella in the audience about a $3.00 coupon. The guests bonded with Clay and his endearing personality captivated everyone until the very end and they left wanting more!
The spacious suite is located at the end of the hall on the third floor and has a beautiful view of the Ozark hills and a large and refreshing jetted tub.
The country décor features many of Clay’s favorites such as oversized furniture, cow hide, leather belt straps, the Texas star, and luxurious hand stamped leather furnishings!
Success is measured in many ways. Clay Cooper has the opportunity to live what he loves every day surrounded by his family and dear friends. I think we can all say that is success. Visit Clay Cooper’s Country Express for a wonderful and memorable experience and reserve your suite at the Stone Castle Hotel & Conference Center to make your perfect cowboy themed vacation!
Ready to book a great vacation?
Call us at