Recognized by Billboard Magazine as one of this generation's outstanding songwriters, Kevin Cooke is a man with a lot to say.
"I used to maintain a blissful ignorance about what was going on in the world. But ignorance isn't bliss, it's just giving up." he says, "You can't take anything on face value. We're being lied to by the media, by the government, and by ourselves. Somebody's got to stand up and tell the truth."
The truth, as Kevin Cooke sees it, is served up in songs aimed at heckling TV's pompous pundits, and the political shell game he sees going on before our eyes. His rants range from hilarious man-on-the-street episodes to heartfelt laments over the plight of the farmers and the working poor. His latest CD: Ain't the Weather Strange, is an exciting mix of powerful grooves and insightful social commentary.
His heroes are the songwriters of conscience from the dirty 30's and the turbulent 60's; both decades of social unrest and raised political awareness. "A key element of the blues, in my opinion, the common thread that made it relevant in the 60's and even more relevant today, is its effectiveness as a tool for honest protest. You can say things with music and humor that can't be said any other way." This core element, used so effectively by J.B. Lenoir, Memphis Minnie and so many others to express their frustrations with the world, was picked up and expanded upon by the likes of Pete Seger, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen. Kevin Cooke grew up steeped in this tradition.
After 23 years on the road with groups like of the Dark Angels, Buzz Upshaw, Tony Springer ( aka; Wild T and the Spirit / Fire), and playing gigs with James Cotton and Hock Walsh, among others, Kevin is unapologetic about playing the blues card. "Some people want me to justify why a white guy from Ontario should play the blues. It's the music I grew up with, it was the first music I ever played and sang, it's the music that speaks to the core of my personality, and it's the music I can have the most fun with. - That should be reason enough for anybody."
Growing up in the bleak shadow of a Scarbrough hydro field, Cooke's environment was nevertheless enriched by two things: The guitar he received from his mother for Christmas when he was 13 and his association with local blues hero, the late Buzz Upshaw. Inspired by the driving bass of Booker T and the MG's and the Motown sound, he soon switched to electric bass. His natural affinity for the instrument and an impressive talent for arranging resulted in a scholarship to the Berklee School of Music.
Over the next three decades, he developed his skills as a musician, arranger, singer and songwriter, producing three independent CD projects and winning a special commendation from Guitar Player Magazine. He co-led, along with harmonica virtuoso Carlos Del Junco, the blues/fusion group The Delcomo's and has provided several critically acclaimed songs for subsequent Del Junco projects (Heaven's Where You'll Dwell and River). His singing, playing and arranging talents have been featured in commercials for Molson's, CIBC and London Drugs.
He is recognized as one of Canada's foremost six-string bassists. His Bass work is featured on his recording Small Spaces. Cooke is also the inventor of a uniquely Canadian instrument, the Electric Hockeystick. "I needed something cheap, easy-to-build, and indestructible when I was busking. The sound that came out of it was incredible." The Electric Hockey stick was featured on his first album; The Ever Closing City, and now a new project is in the works featuring the "C tenor Hockey Stick", his favorite.
In live performance, Kevin is confident and comedic with a scarcely controlled energy that inspires everyone on and off stage. He's the guy who sees through the smokescreen. He's the guy who lets you in on the con game. He's the guy you want to sit down with over a couple of beers and say what you really think. But no matter what your political stripe may be, Kevin Cooke is the guy you won't forget.
Kevin Cooke: Bass / Vocals /Electric Hockeystick
David Monis: Drumkit
Dave Patterson: Guitars / Vocals
John Doriat: Guitars / Vocals
The Full Band:
Martin Aucoin: Keyboards / Vocals
Stu Elliott: Saxes / Vocals / Percussion
Mike Skinner: Saxes / Vocals
Ed Zankowski: Saxes /Precussion
Mark Walker: Trumpet / Vocals
Chris Cawthray: Congas / Percussion
Moose Moszynski: Harmonica / Guitar
Ain't the Weather Strange
- international airplay
- "For Love & For Gold"; "Ain't the Weather Strange"
Mended Heavens/Broken Hearts
- international airplay "Heaven's Where You'll Dwell"
- regional airplay - all tracks
The Ever-Closing City
- college airplay
Ain't The Weather Strange
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www.torontobluessociety.com/0410johnspicks.htm Kevin Cooke Ain't the Weather Strange Limited Capi...www.torontobluessociety.com/0410johnspicks.htm
Kevin Cooke Ain't the Weather Strange Limited Capital LCR002
One of the longer-lasting part-time organizations here is the Dark Angels Blues Band, led by Moose Moszynski. Kevin Cooke is its bass player and for the second time, the band has participated in a solo project behind him. He is also an excellent songwriter, with a knack for literate lyrics and sophisticated big band arrangements that the players obviously enjoyed realizing. He also has a sense of humour, as songs like "Birkenstock Baby" and "Don't Get Me Started" attest. This helps keep things from getting too abstract as do performances of "Shake Your Moneymaker" and "Just a Little Bit". The best songs are "Somebody Tell Me the Truth" that should be required listening at journalism schools, "Don't Walk Out", a tribute to Mandala and "Shuffle the Deck", a horn-led indictment of the corrupt political/business elite. This is an album that deserves wider listening.
MUY BUENO! - La Hora Del Blues
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http://es.geocities.com/vzumel/criticas Kevin Cooke “Ain’t The Weather Strange”. Limited Capital ...http://es.geocities.com/vzumel/criticas
Kevin Cooke “Ain’t The Weather Strange”. Limited Capital 2004
For recording this cd Kevin Cooke has found inspiration in those old great sixties bands that included powerful horn sections with trumpet, saxos and even trombone. You will find good blues on this cd, sung and performed in a very inspired pleasant way but specially with a very convincing style. The band sounds very tight and show a lot of swing and a tremendous feeling. I must confess the cd has really surprised me and I am sure it will also surprise you if you decide to buy it. GREAT.
Para este disco Cooke se ha inspirado en aquellas estupendas bandas de los años sesenta que contaban en sus filas con secciones de viento incluyendo trompeta, saxos y a veces trombón. Blues del bueno, cantado e interpretado de forma amena, inspirada y sobre todo convincente. El grupo suena conjuntado e irradian swing y feeling por los cuatro costados. Un álbum que debo confesar me ha sorprendido gratamente y puedo asegurar que a vosotros también os sorprenderá si decidis haceros con una copia. MUY BUENO.
Mended Heavens/Broken Hearts
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The Kev Cooke Progressive Blues Experiment (2001) Mended Heavens/Broken Hearts Limited Capitol LCR-...The Kev Cooke Progressive Blues Experiment (2001)
Mended Heavens/Broken Hearts Limited Capitol LCR-003
Kev Cooke is a veteran singer/songwriter bassman about town (you might recognize his unique bass, pictured on the cover) and his Progressive Blues Experiment were finalists in the Talent Search recently. This is a big band, with aggressive, modern charts, some of the songs remind me of the Al Kooper version of Blood Sweat And Tears and others of Santana, especially those with lots of guitarist Mark Teixeira. He's the only other listed performer on the CD but the website identifies Dave Balfour as the keyboard man, Wimpy Zankowski, Stewart Elliot and Mike Skinner on saxes, David Monis on drums and Moose Mozinski as the guest harmonica player on "Got To Stop". At least three of these are also members of the Dark Angel Blues Band which explains why this album sounds like Kev Cooke and a working band for someone whose name doesn't appear very often in our listings pages. The closing track is a new version of "I Don't Know", a song from Dark Angel's repertoire as well. Getting that bit of detective work out of the way, Cooke writes interesting arrangements to go with his original songs. Many of you have already heard one: "Heaven's Where You'll Dwell" is the opening song on Carlos del Junco's Big Boy CD and gets a rather longer workout there. Highlights are the opening "Dark Clouds", a New Orleans funk workout; "(300 Pounds of Heavenly Joy and)She's Blocking The Door" could have been sung with slightly more humour but it's a good song nonetheless; "Tried To Let You Go" has the best arrangement and vocal performance of the album, in a modern blues rock vein and "Got To Stop", an acoustic trio setting with, I think, Teixera on mandolin and Cooke on acoustic guitar. - John Valenteyn
Three sets - 45 minutes each or two 1-hour sets
Don't Get Me Started - K. Cooke
Ain't the Weather Strange - K. Cooke
K Bars - K. Cooke
Tell Me the Truth - K. Cooke
Shuffle the Deck - K. Cooke / M. Texeira
Nostalgia In Time Square - C. Mingus
For Love and For Gold - K. Cooke /N. Lipscome
Just a Little Bit - R. Gordon
Wheels On Fire -B. Dylan/R. Danko
Peter Gunn,Hockey Stick - H. Mancini /K. Cooke
Dark Cloud - K. Cooke
She's Blocking the Door - K. Cooke
Boogar Lou - K. Cooke
Do What the Bossman Says - K. Cooke
Birkenstock Baby - K. Cooke
Tried To Let You Go - K. Cooke
Marie - K. Cooke
Mercury Blues - D. Lynley
Shake your Moneymaker - E. James
Heaven's Where You'll Dwell - K. Cooke
Big Ten Inch - bull moose Jackson
I don't Know - C. Lofton
I Quit - K. Cooke
Don't Let Me In -W. Becker/ D. Fagen
There are no upcoming dates at this time.