Canadian-based roots troubadour Scott Cook has one of those voices – crisp and ringing clear. A voice that gives you only one career option – singer! – despite the bad economics of such a difficult path.
Cook has spent most of the last eight years touring, collecting stories and eking out a living in the music trade. His latest album One More Time Around is a seriously good assembly of songs and tales with a strong and convincing thread moving through them.
One More Time Around was recorded in Cook’s home Edmonton, Canada after a long stint on the road, with a familiar cast of collaborators including engineer Mr. Smith who he has worked with on several records in the past. The ten-song album shows the balladeer in fine fettle, refining his song-craft and confronting the hard lessons learned and re-learned on life’s journeys. There’s acoustic and electric guitars, upright bass, piano, fiddle and dobro, plus his finger-style guitar and claw hammer banjo which add colour and layers to his material. But really for me, it’s his songwriting and vocals that tower over this collection. The lyrics reflect honesty, sometime painfully so and the delivery, phrasing and timbre are reminiscent of Jackson Browne and Don McLean to name a couple of fine performers.
The opening track is a giant start – ‘Pass It Along’ moves from the romance of handing down a precious guitar to a message about the future of our very planet. It’s powerful and beautiful.
The final title track is a joyful, jazzy breeze
One More Time Around (on Groove Revival Records) was produced by Cook himself and it’s a cracking pleasure. Oh, and the liner notes are wonderfully detailed, gorgeous artwork, with a loving introduction full of interesting views about music copyrighting, there’s lyrics and even guitar chords! I don’t want to start here on the inferiority of digital music (I’ll save that for another time), but this is a perfect example as to why the CD is precious.
Scott Cook is a very interesting and compassionate person and his music reflects the man.