If you think the blues is dead then you better get hip to Eli Cook in a hurry!
The rumors of the death of the blues have been greatly exaggerated. Since the untimely death of the legendary Stevie Ray Vaughn it would seem like the blues has quietly slipped back into the musical witness protection program despite incredible releases from talent such as Ronnie Earl, Tab Benoit and Buddy Guy. We have now have a relative newbie that embodies the renegade spirit that makes the six string spirit of low country blues burn on his fifth release Ace, Jack & King. Eli Cook is the real deal...
Somewhere between delta blues and the inspirational authenticity that gave birth to the raw edgy grunge sound coming out of Seattle, Cook is carving out a unique path and breathing new life into some blues nasties from artists such as Skip James, Charles Brown, Rev. Gary Davis and Nick Drake. If the major blues acts previously mentioned are struggling during these lean times you can imagine just how hard it is for an artist such as Eli Cook to make some noise. Blues much like the improvisational music known as jazz is rooted in passion, dedication and a commitment that resonates from deep within the artists soul. You were either born to play this music or you were not. It is that simple.
Cook has a voice and a dynamic approach well beyond his years. His ability to harness this lyrical focus along with an instrumental talent that could rival just about any artist you can think of is making the blues a hip viable player in the music world once again. Sure we have amazing performances from artists like Eric Clapton, Joe Bonamassa, and Warren Haynes but there is a deeper authenticity found in the music of Cook. The connectivity that Cook makes with material other than his own is fascinating, you don't play the blues but you do have to live it on some relateable level and with this a mysterious musical enigma is born out of the raw organic emotions that Cook leaves in his wake.
"Better Man" a Cook original along with the Skip James tune "Catfish Blues" and "Black Eyed Dog" from Nick Drake are but three of the incredible diverse highlights of what this prolific talent brings to the table. This is American roots music for the new millennium. A textured release full of grit and a truck load of soul. It doesn't get much better than this! A critic can not hear everything that is out there, how I missed this the first time I will never know. It's not if a major label signs Cook, it's when...
Tracks: Death Rattle; Better Man; Please, Please; Snake Charm; Catfish Blues; Draggin' My Dogs; Afrossippi Breakdown; Sugar & Rain; Driftin'; Cocaine Blues; Crow Jane; Suicide King; Black Eyed Dog; Death Rattle (Slight Return).
Personnel: Eli Cook: vocals, guitar, mandolin; Brian "Boogie" Thomas: bass; Wade Warfield: drums, percussion, hand claps; Waverly Milor: harmonica.