After six years in Taiwan, tangling with kindergarteners and watching his roots and reggae band The Anglers rise to prominence in the local underground music scene, Edmonton songwriter Scott Cook has returned with a new CD.
Fittingly entitled Long Way to Wander, it is a rambling body of work, dotted with road stories, jokes, existential questions, and wry observations. The eleven songs on the disc were written over the course of seven years and cover a wide musical territory, from folk to blues, soul, country and reggae, but a common lyrical thread--wandering, freedom and the various ways we cope with being alone, uncertain, and rootless--strings the whole album together. And although the stories are all true, and deeply personal, Cook tells them in an honest, compassionate, public voice that invites the listener to walk a while in his shoes.
Long Way to Wander took the better part of a year to record, mostly on weekends in the Taiwan apartment of fellow Canadian expat rocker and kindergarten teacher Rob Jonkman, whose attention to detail shines through on the recording. Cook sings and plays guitar, banjo, ukulele, harmonica and percussion, backed up by fellow Anglers Tyler Dakin on lead guitar and Ikeda Kinya on double bass, and a handful of Taiwan’s finest expat musicians in various accompanying roles. The album is something of a departure from the energetic roots and reggae jams heard on the Anglers’ 2003 debut release A Quarter Ounce of Prevention; the focus here is on the songs, carefully and gently delivered.
Having already completed two summer tours of Western Canada with the Anglers and two cross-country tours alone, Cook has finally decided to leave the classroom and pursue music full-time. After the album’s November 2007 release in Edmonton, he will be touring it around western Canada through the winter, to Taiwan for the spring festival season, and all the way across Canada in the summer of 2008.
“Great vocals with some tasteful instrumental work and darn good song writin’.” —John Wort Hannam, Presenter, South Country Fair
“Alternating between an acoustic guitar and a banjo, frontman Scott Cook led the steamy crowd of dreadlocked dancers along like a barefooted pied piper with his eclectic mix of musical styles. At the heart of it all was an undeniable groove and a message of universal love that gave the night a warm fuzzy vibe even a cynical old bastard like myself couldn’t ignore.” —Phil Duperron, Vue Weekly, Edmonton
“The Anglers… delivered an incredibly tight set that lit up the Sidetrack. Cook’s spot-on reggae vocals had a way of latching on to your cerebral cortex, sending universal shivers coursing through your spine until your feet answered the call.” —Francois Marchand, SEE Magazine, Edmonton
“Popular music today—like at any time—needs honesty. It needs singers who aren’t afraid to say what they mean, who have things to say that people can believe in. Who light lamps, who carry songs from place to place, who write about the people and places they pass, who remind us how wonderful we are. Who help us to really live, and to remember that we’re dying.” —Scott Cook
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