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further down the line… another love letter to the world from Scott Cook

further down the line… another love letter to the world from Scott Cook

By Ian Browne Shamrock News

I met this man from Edmonton, Alberta; a self-confessed Woody Guthrie admirer, after a set he played at the 2017 Mullumbimby Music Festival. Complimenting Scott’s sound on viola was talented local artist, Anni M Fables. The three of us sat down for a reflective yarn, the moment earthy and sharing.

Scott discussed all the artists he had viewed at the festival and those he intended to visit, he had other gigs to play at the festival himself. One of the wealthier countries he has toured, over the years he has found Australia to have supported him well financially: “I have been to Oz a few times. I feel at home here. I will stay for four and half months this time.” A one-time philosophy student who left university to be educated by the world, Scott found himself working in Taiwan's kindergartens. He spoke of his travels around the planet, while describing the importance of respecting indigenous cultures. Appreciating such wisdom in dialogue, Anni and I shared our experiences with indigenous groups in the tropical monsoon lands of the Top End, and Kimberley region.

This is not Scott Cook’s first album, he’s formulated five previously. A well-travelled bluesman, Scott’s journeys along life’s lonely roads show up in his songs. Recorded by Adam Iredale-Gray at Fiddlehead Studio on Mayne Island, further down the line opens with a song of the same title. Within the soothing subtlety of his deep roaming voice, Scott describes the moments and people who have graced his time, like the waitress in New Orleans who treated him with kindness, and the Gulf War veteran begging by the city’s overpass. He sings to us the importance of the manual labour which gets you through, even if it’s only to pamper someone else’s dream, a lifestyle which has allowed this thoughtful Canadian the freedom to move on to further journeys within North America. Other songs like dogs and kids describes how just hanging out with dogs and kids has kept him grounded and honest, feathered within the guidance of the simple life.

A 10-song album, its caress gently wonders through the air like the smoke from a smouldering winter morning campfire. Currently my favourite song, Alberta you’re breaking my heart is a beautiful song written alongside Scott’s pal Benjamin Caldwell at his family home in Queensland’s spectacular Glass House Mountains, and which after a few listens, allows you to take more notice of the fiddle that clings to reflective loss, along with hints of banjo and mandolin which keep the pulse within sunny resolution. More upbeat songs accompanied by female harmonies Jacquie B, in your sweet time - and - fellas, get out of the way - change up the pace nicely. All-in-all, I hear hints of gospel, and hippy folk mingling by the edge of a boozy weekend party with the late Johnny Cash.

A colour picture biography-booklet accompanies the CD. It is quite extensive, describing Scott’s musical journey within Canada, the UK, Europe, South Africa, Asia and Australia. The psychological-design to his song writing experience is also announced, while wonderful photos of the rugged scenery of North America, Asia and Australia - allow you in. A description of songs like walk that lonesome valley as the ‘reworking of an American ‘spiritual’ sung by slaves’, and later too by Woody Guthrie and Elvis Presley, are illuminated. Scott Cook also describes his past life in bands like the Anglers and the Smoking Cones, while the importance of his friends, and the protection of this neglected, fragile planet, too take shape within these glossy pages.

Not overly excited by folky-blues myself, it took me a few listens to really appreciate the depth of further down the line. Now the more I listen to this set of well-crafted folky tunes, the more it enchants and surprises me. Whether it’s enjoyed by a campfire on a chilly night, or along the bumpy trails through the mountain crags to arrive there, a stroll down the roads of time with Scott Cook generously invites you in to ponder the journey too.


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