By MATT HOPF
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
It's all about helping veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Local musician Ian Cooper is producing "Blues for Heroes," a CD album to help raise money for people suffering from the effects of war.
The project is close to Cooper's heart. His nephew killed himself last year after being unable to cope with PTSD after serving with the U.S. Army in Iraq. Cooper has been working on the project for more than a year.
"I thought I know a lot of blues artists out there, and I know a lot of people who are dealing with problems with PTSD," he said. "It's not just limited to the Iraq and Afghanistan situation. There are people who served in Vietnam that suffer from it.
"This will be open to all of those people -- man or woman -- that can't get help. Now maybe they will have a method of getting some help."
Cooper said he saw the change in his nephew when he returned home from his overseas tour.
"They go through hell unknowing," he said. "It's horrific, and I've known other people who suffer from it."
Cooper is covering all the costs for the album, and all proceeds will go to a fund at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to help veterans with PTSD.
"If it saves one life, it's worth whatever I spent on it and more," he said.
Cooper grew up in the Quincy area and lived out West for 30 years performing with other musicians, including Johnny Heartsman, Ben E. King and jazz organist Jimmy Smith.
Cooper plans to have the "Blues for Heroes" album available by March. He has lined up some well-known musicians to take part in the project, including Rick Bozzo, the first bassist for Meat Loaf. Bozzo also has played alongside other artists, including Ann-Margret.
Cooper and Bozzo originally connected on Facebook and have talked regularly since.
"I finally met him in person at this concert down in Central City, Kentucky," Bozzo said.
Bozzo spent a week in the area laying down tracks for the album at Coppermine Studios in Quincy.
As a way to pay back Bozzo for his support, Cooper will be help him with the cancer benefit he is organizing for later this year in Indianapolis. The Musician's Army for Research and Cancer Healing will will feature some nationally recognized artists.
"It's a personal project for me," Bozzo said. "Everybody has been affected by cancer."
Both Cooper and Bozzo are cancer survivors.