Scott Cook- One More Time Around review   Leave a comment

small%20cover%20one%20moreMy review of Scott Cook’s excellent new album, One More Time Around album is up over at the Lonesome Road Review.

The album is available from Scott’s website, as well as CD Baby and the digital services; I would hope it is available at finer Edmonton retailers such as Permanent and Blackbyrd. I’m told the physical album package is very impressive.

As always, thanks for visiting Fervor Coulee. Donald

Now on Twitter @FervorCoulee

Scott Cook
One More Time Around
4 stars (out of 5)

By Donald Teplyske

Earlier this month, I took a day trip to visit the farm on which I was raised.

Stepping for the first time in forty years onto land that significantly shaped my life—mostly for the worse—brought with it a wash of suppressed emotion and memory; while the intervening years saw the majority of the outbuildings torn down, the profile of the farmyard remained intact, bringing forth a flood of details that flowed to fill gaps within a memory eroded by time: lilac bushes surrounding the ruin that was once a home, the still impressive tree-and-shrub-covered hill rising above the yard, spruce trees, planted as a windbreak prior to the Second World War, towering even more appreciably than they had in the 1970s.

Most significant was the farm’s compactness: what had been plain and functional but still expansive to my eight-year-old self was revealed as barely significant through the measured eyes of adulthood. As expected, everything was smaller—the house, the dairy shed, the garden, and the footprint of the yard itself.

All of which came to mind listening to Alberta troubadour Scott Cook’s latest collection of prairie balladry. One More Time Around, like my own return to my first home, is awash in finely realized nuance: in Cook’s case, lyrical details grounded within instrumental sparseness and long-lasting vocal impact. His sense of place is palatable, but not to the exclusion of those whose ancestral roots and life experiences are grounded elsewhere.

Alberta—a western Canadian province well-represented by excellent singer-songwriters Ian Tyson, Corb Lund, Maria Dunn, John Wort Hannam, Leeroy Stagger, Mike Plume, Jann Arden, and a few hundred others—has long inspired folksingers. It is a land of great natural beauty, disparate social and political thought, and a breeding ground for independence. It is not for nothing that we’ve been referred to as ‘Texas North,’ not always with complimentary intent.

One More Time Around is a gentle collection of songs that cohesively reveals shades of a province as fractured as it is tightly bound. When Cook sings of “new grist for the old mill,” he is connecting the relatively recent past—experiences of area homesteaders and settlers who arrived in great numbers little more than a hundred years ago—with people here and elsewhere who continually adapt and reinvent themselves as circumstances and economies dictate.

Vocally and spiritually, Cook has fed on the inspiration found within the legacies established by songwriters and vocalists including Bill Bourne and Greg Brown, whose “The Poet’s Game” is One More Time Around‘s only non-original. Singing elsewhere of “thoughts scattering like wild geese,” Cook encapsulates his vision of folk music. Like Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie, to identify two obvious influences, Cook sows the seeds of social observation and action.

“Pass It Along” creatively expresses the responsibilities associated with the transitory nature of our presence, while the sparse blues of “Use Your Imagination” provides an opportunity for Cook to explore more base elements of his psyche. “Among the Trees” is rich in plainspoken, poetic expression. Cook’s material and approach would not be out of place within a compilation album featuring higher-profile artists such as Slaid Cleaves, Jay Clark, Gretchen Peters, and Peter Cooper.

One More Time Around allows Scott Cook to share his songs—grounded in the Canadian west yet universal in execution—with an ever expanding legion of admirers. Building on the momentum garnered by his previous Moonlight Rambles, Scott Cook continues to create unapologetically honest words and music crafted from a keen observer’s perspective.


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