DEL NORTE — Wildwood Sounds, 850 Grande Ave., Del Norte, presents Eli Cook, featuring Blues, on Sunday, October 15, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15. Call 657-4757 or see wildwoodsounds.com
Cook was born at the foot of the mountains of Virginia, and with no TV growing up he spent Saturday nights around the radio with local shows and Prairie Home Companion. He picked up the guitar at age 13 after watching his older brother play and began to teach himself. Within two years he was playing solo acoustic guitar for gospel revivals and electric blues in a power trio in local “juke joints.”
A student of several musical tastes, Cook took what he heard on the record player and radio melding it into his own which makes him stand out. At 18 with a bone-shaking growl and bonafide blues guitar chops, he was received by fans and critics as a torch bearer for a slew of historical players, from Son House to Leadbelly to today’s modern players, like Chris Smither and Rory Block.
As the country sounds of Appalachia crept in Cook didn’t flinch; “It didn’t seem unnatural,” says Cook, who was the product of a rural Southern upbringing where people moved easily between genres. “It’s what was around me, and I just tried to pick up on everything and everybody, including Doc Watson and Chet Atkins. In fact, hearing Chet fingerpick made me realize I didn’t need a band.” (Source: Guitar Player 2007)
No slavish dilettante or rusty, dusty blues purist, Cook has internalized his influences, including the rock of Soundgarden and Rage Against The Machine, stirring them into a musical cauldron of authentic, timeless music emanating from deep in his soul. “The reason I make a comparison between the bluesmen and the grunge guys is the feeling of authenticity in the expressions of angst that they both convey.” (Source: All About Jazz – May 2011)
He has toured to national acclaim, holding his own in the company of blues royalty B.B. King, Johnny Winter, Shemekia Copeland and Gary Clark, Jr. In 2015 he was voted #3 on the prestigious UK Blues Matters Writer’s Poll for Favorite International Blues Solo Artist.
Cook continues to evolve his musical presentations to accommodate various performance offers that come calling. “I loved to push my presentations in different directions whether it be in workshops, and other venues, with other traditional American roots music elements to have more of an in-depth, cultural content to what I do. But without blues as the integral ingredient, music just ain’t worth listening to in my book.”
This is a sweets and snacks potluck. Bring a favorite healthy snack to share, and as always coffee and tea are on the house. Wildwood Sounds is located at 850 Grande Ave. in Del Norte, Co., one half block east of the only light in Del Norte on Hwy 160.