"Upbeat positivity is a Wes constant, in his music and his attitude", said Rolling Stone Magazine of the blue-eyed songsmith, and Georgia Music Magazine said that "(Wesley) may just be the next big thing" in their fall publication. Long before his recent appearances in Rolling Stone Magazine as a National Finalist in the Street-to-Stage competition, Wesley Cook was raised in places like small villages in the former West Germany and cities in South Korea with a life-long passion for music and people. As a songwriter, listeners are sure to hear the familiar world and rhythmic influences of Dave Matthews, Paul Simon, Jason Mraz and many more, although he captures a sound that is very much his own. As a front man, his high-energy showmanship and down-to-earth charm makes it impossible for the crowd not to love him.
He released his critically acclaimed, solo acoustic debut album, "We've Been Here Before" in 2005 as a resident of Athens, GA and released his newer, full-band album, “New Ground", in May of 2010 with a release show at the famous Hard Rock Cafe Atlanta's Velvet Underground. “Leave It All Behind”, from Wesley’s "New Ground" album, was featured on music blog, RadioPotato.com, as one of the “Top 5 Songs of May” and the single "Sway" was featured with a live performance on Fox 5 Atlanta. He has since made regular appearances on television programs such as CBS Better Mornings, NBC 11Alive Metromix Soundcheck, in addition to several Comcast programs. He has performed in Festivals such as the Dogwood Festival, 99X Unplugged in the Park, Dunwoody Arts Festival, Piedmont Park Arts Festival, Summer Shade Festival, the Chattahoochie Mountain Fair, Madison County Fair, AthFest and even Macon GA's famous Cherry Blossom Festival. He has appeared on Radio stations such as DaveFM, 99X, Rock 100.5, WUGA at the University of Georgia and WREK at Georgia Tech.
Wesley was nominated for the "2006 Soloist of the Year" in the Athens Music Awards, which is an Athens Industry Award voted on by Wesley's peers and collogues in the Georgia Music Scene. Wesley has also been on MTV2 as an “Artist on the Rise”. His single “So Long” was even added to the “Essential Athens Collection”, a music compliation available for download on iTunes, features REM, the B52s, and other renowned artists associated with the Athens music community.
As an artist, Wesley has shared the stage with nationally recognized acts such as Zac Brown, Angie Aparo, Drivin'n'Cryin, Manchester Orchestra, Joshua James, HoneyHoney, Last Waltz Ensemble, High Tide Blues, the Bridge and even Shiny Toy Guns.
Wesley has loyal fans and critics in the US as well as abroad in countries like Argentina, where he toured in the Summer of 2009.
Wesley is currently touring to continue reaching more people and plans on recording a third studio album in early 2012.
Will Mitchell - Vocals, keys
Ethan Levitt - Vocals, Sax, flute
Alex Morrison - Vocals, Drums
David Schroeder - Bass
Wesley Cook - Lead Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar
Cooper Carter - Electric Guitars
After a very successful Kickstarter campaign, the newest (3rd studio) album "Heavy" is set for release in May 2013. It was recorded at Blade Studios in Shreveport, LA co-produced by Brady Blade (Dave Matthews, Bob Dylan, Indigo Girls, Jacob Dylan) and engineered by Grammy-nominated recording engineer/mixer Chris Bell (Eagles, U2, Erikha Baduu). It's dedicated to the memory of his older brother who took his own life in April 2012. This album has much of the same light and upbeat positivity of the "New Ground" release but with tracks that have deep personal meaning as well.
“New Ground", was released in May of 2010 with a show at the famous Hard Rock Cafe Atlanta's Velvet Underground. This album has just gotten him a nomination for Best Alternative Band by the Georgia Music Awards in 2012. “Leave It All Behind”, from Wesley’s "New Ground" album, was featured on music blog, RadioPotato.com, as one of the “Top 5 Songs of May” and the single "Sway" was featured with a live performance on Fox 5 Atlanta. He has since made regular appearances on television programs such as CBS Better Mornings, NBC 11Alive Metromix Soundcheck, in addition to several Comcast programs. He has performed in Festivals such as the Dogwood Festival, 99X Unplugged in the Park, Dunwoody Arts Festival, Piedmont Park Arts Festival, Summer Shade Festival, the Chattahoochie Mountain Fair, Madison County Fair, AthFest and even Macon GA's famous Cherry Blossom Festival. He has appeared on Radio stations such as DaveFM, 99X, Rock 100.5, WUGA at the University of Georgia and WREK at Georgia Tech.
Wesley's first album, a self-released full length album entitled "We've Been Here Before", was released in December 2005. Several of
the songs from the album, such as "Sweetest Kind of Love" and "Tasty Devil Woman," have received
radio play on regional radio station
Bulldog 103.7, Magic 102.1 and WUGA
91.7. “Persephone” was also featured in the independent film release “Proud, Mary” by Cool
Street-to-Stage National Finalist
"Upbeat positivity is a Wes constant, in his music and his attitude"
Good Guys Finish First
"(Wesley Cook) may just be the 'Next Big Thing' to come out of Athens"
Wesley Cook Live at the Hard Rock Cafe Atlanta
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"He reminds me so much of the Paul Simon sound when he sings some of his songs. It’s just amazing fe..."He reminds me so much of the Paul Simon sound when he sings some of his songs. It’s just amazing feel good music with great energy. Don’t confuse that statement though, Wesley has his own unique sound... I think Wesley Cook will be a force to deal with very soon in Atlanta and beyond. I myself can’t wait to hit another show to dance the night away and giggle as he throws his sense of humor out to the crowd..."
Wesley Cook CD Release
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Written by Gordon Lamb Published on November 30, 2005 It’s no secret that among contemporary mus...Written by Gordon Lamb
Published on November 30, 2005
It’s no secret that among contemporary musical genres, the one of acoustic-guitar-playing singer-songwriter is the hardest in which to distinguish oneself. Local artist Wesley Cook certainly has his work cut out for him, but has already made a solid entry into this often-bland world of copyists and caricature.
Cook, an Athens resident and recent graduate of the University of Georgia with a linguistics degree, spent the first 17 years of his life outside of the United States, from his birth in Germany to his graduating from high school in Korea. After a few fitful months studying classical guitar as a boy, he gave up the instrument for several years, until finally picking it up again and teaching himself to play.
“I didn’t learn anything from my lessons when I was a kid. I hated it,” Cook says. “I still can’t read music and I don’t know anything about theory and I don’t even know [the names of the chords].”
The now self-taught Cook relates that his method is pretty much the same as the majority of musicians in the Athens music scene. “Mostly what I do is listen to a piece of music I like, in any style, and just copy it by ear,” he says, “then gain an instinct for playing a certain way to make a certain sound, and that’s how I learned to play, pretty much. I’ve also had friends tell me where to put my fingers and I just remembered what does what on the guitar.”
Cook’s honesty is refreshing, especially when one considers that musicians, like most folks, are more than willing to take credit for knowing more than they actually do.
What Cook may lack in pure theory, however, he makes up for in soul. When listening to his new album We’ve Been Here Before, it’s difficult to tell he’s never formally studied the guitar. His hands deftly pluck out intricate melodies and rhythms. His often-understated music exhibits tenderness, sincere vulnerability and lyrical distinctiveness.
On first listen, one might make comparisons to artists as diverse as Nick Drake, John Martyn, Antonin Carlos Jobim and Bert Jansch.
For his part, Cook says, “Well, I have no idea who I sound like… that’s up to the listener. I’d like to think that I sound like me, but everything is related to something. A lot of the musicians I’ve spent years admiring and being moved by lyrically are John Lennon, Simon & Garfunkel, Dave Matthews and Leonard Cohen. But I also like to push myself with guitar, as well as lyrically. A lot of my guitar idols, like Paco de Lucia, Al di Meola, Eric Clapton and Ricky Skaggs, motivate and move me to grow and expand as a guitar player, both in expression and complexity.”
Lyrically, Cook treads familiar territory for the genre (anger, love, loss, etc.); however, he is much more of a storyteller than a diarist.
“Very little in my songs is from personal experience,” he says. “Many people ask me that question. Everybody has experiences that deal with love, loss, excitement, uncertainty, etc., but no two people will be affected in the same way. I really like things like that, but then, I also like fun, life-affirming and borderline silly things.”
As with the work of any artist, some of Cook’s songs aren’t as immediately attractive as others. However, the bulk of Cook’s tunes are a welcome treat to hear. His strengths are most evident when concentrating on the slower, softer numbers, rather than the faster, more percussive ones. In a town full of songwriters, it’s always nice to find new songwriters that stand apart. And in a genre that so often gives credence to half-baked, half-written drivel, Wesley Cook certainly raises the standard.
Wesley Cook CD Review
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Written by Michael Andrews Published on February 8, 2006 Wesley Cook is a solo singer-songwriter...Written by Michael Andrews
Published on February 8, 2006
Wesley Cook is a solo singer-songwriter who grew up in different parts of Europe and Asia, but most recently, he’s called Athens home. The self-released We’ve Been Here Before is Cook’s first full-length album, and a debut that shows great range in the young artist’s repertoire.
A self-taught guitarist, Cook packs no accompaniment but his six-string, which he picks, plucks and strums with enough verve and eclecticism to keep things moving swiftly in the background. In “How It’s Gotta Be,” both Cook and guitar adopt a confident swagger, led by rapid narration. “Burning Bridge” is, on the other hand, a soulful meditative ballad and “Spanish Dancer,” a singular dose of flamenco. Cook’s classical guitar background also comes into play here and there, as on the melancholic “A Letter Home.”
The album’s a little lengthy (almost 50 minutes) for just voice and guitar (and cello on one track), but We’ve Been Here Before is nonetheless an impressive first outing. It also serves well as a capsule of the differing styles that Cook’s music has adopted since he began playing guitar at a very early age, ditched the instrument for a spell, then started again from scratch. Perhaps the addition of some minimal accompaniment (piano, mandolin, percussion, etc.), though, would make the fine corners of his songs really shine.
Cd Release Review
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Written by Krista Derbecker Published on December 1, 2005 Wesley Cook can’t read music. The...Written by Krista Derbecker
Published on December 1, 2005
Wesley Cook can’t read music.
The local singer/songwriter and University alumnus has performed at venues around Athens and will release his first CD tonight, but he still can’t read a note of music.
“When people ask me what chord progression I’m using, I just say, ‘Dude, I don’t know what that means. I’ll just show you where to put your hands,’” he said.
Cook’s debut CD entitled “We’ve Been Here Before,” features acoustic guitar and self-written lyrics about life. They are songs everyone can relate to, Cook said.
Other than tonight’s release party, Cook has big dreams for his life.
“I want to be a bum and a vagabond,” he said. “Well, not necessarily a bum but definitely a vagabond.”
Cook’s troubadour-inspired lifestyle springs from his childhood, as he was raised moving around. He was born in Germany, moved to Turkey and lived in Korea until he graduated high school.
Cook claims four languages and always has planned on learning French as well.
But even with all of his talent, he still does not call himself gifted.
“My dad kept me around subjects bigger than myself. He put big ideas in my head when I was young and then gradually taught me what they meant,” he said.
Cook’s father, an English professor, made Cook memorize and recite poetry for allowance money. Cook still remembers many of the poems but doesn’t know most of the authors.
“Mostly I don’t know who wrote them, except Shakespeare,” he said, rattling off several lines of Hamlet’s “To Be or Not to Be” monologue.
His father also exposed him to opera, classical, bluegrass, blues and folk music, Cook said.
While not busy memorizing Frost and Keats, Cook picked up the guitar when he was eight and took some lessons. He soon quit but picked up the guitar again when he was 12, teaching himself how to play.
Now Cook is promoting his first CD release at a party and show at Tasty World tonight.
Wesley Cook on the rise
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By Chris J. Starrs Story updated at 10:52 PM on Tuesday, August 8, 2006 "It would be nice to ...By Chris J. Starrs
Story updated at 10:52 PM on Tuesday, August 8, 2006
"It would be nice to be famous and to be remembered," says Wesley Cook, who has lived in Athens for the past six years. "But what I really want to do is pay my bills and make music."
A solo artist whose original compositions run the gamut from flamenco phrasings to gypsy stylings to the old reliable blues, Cook has appeared in many of Athens' better-known musical emporiums and released his debut album "We've Been Here Before" last December.
Now that he's finally obtained reliable transportation, Cook - who grew up in Germany and attended high school in Korea - has visions of taking his one-man show beyond the Classic City limits. "I'm bursting to hit the road," says Cook, 24, who moved to town to attend the University of Georgia and graduated in 2004 with a linguistics degree (he speaks five languages). "And now that I have a car, I'll be able to do what I want to do. I won't be stagnant."
A finalist this year in the solo/songwriter category for the Flagpole Athens Music Awards, Cook recently completed a monthlong residency at Flannigan's and will perform Friday at DT's Down Under on Clayton Street. He also will open for Nelo on Aug. 23 at the Georgia Theatre.
As part of his ongoing "squalorship," Cook makes ends meet by "working in bars" and keeps mind and soul together by focusing on his music, which has been embraced by a number of local denizens. "I can't stand standing still," he says. "I'm a musician, but I'm not a flake. I guess you could say I'm a Type-B person with a Type-A motor. I've got a strong work ethic and I'm not living on Cloud Nine with lofty ambitions. I'm aware there are rocks in the road and I'm ready to tackle them."
Cook initially picked up the guitar at the age of 6 but didn't relish learning the fundamentals of classical picking, so he put it down for six years and is basically a self-taught player. "I don't know anything about chords or notes," he says proudly. "I couldn't answer even the most basic questions about the guitar. I took classical lessons when I was 6 and once I realized there was a lot of hard work involved and that I had an instructor that hated children, I quit.
"When I got to Athens, I had been living in Germany and Korea my whole life, so I actually lost sight of music as a career possibility. Coming here was definitely a culture shock and there was so much to explore. Music and school both wound up on the back burner because there was a lot I had to get used to. Once I finally figured out that I wanted to travel the world playing music, I did a couple of open mic nights and took it from there."
Cook assents that many of his performances aren't centered on his own songs, so he turns to his pop-culture heroes - including Leonard Cohen, Dave Matthews, Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash - to fill out his set. "I was born a mimic, and I'm pretty good at picking things apart and spitting them out in another form," he says. "I've got a lot of influences and I grew up listening to all different types and all different approaches to music."
Venturing into Athens-based Pigpen Studios to record "We've Been Here Before" proved to be an educational experience for the young singer-songwriter. "It was great, although most of the time I wanted to blow my head off," he jokes. "My problem is I don't know what I sound like to other people, so my producer (Daniel Maldonado Collins) constantly challenged me to better myself. The learning experience came when I'd (record) one song five times and they'd all sound the same to me but different to everyone else. So I learned about being consistent, I learned about timing and the beat and I learned a little bit about the business aspects of music."
Cook's album is available at Wuxtry and Schoolkids Records and also can be obtained at iTunes and cdbaby.com.
While he looks forward to collaborating with other musicians, Cook thinks his professional life always will revolve around his solo leanings. "I appreciate music and I want to see what other musicians come up with," he says. "Solo (work) is my bread and butter but I'd love to branch out and work with other artists."
When: 10 p.m. Friday
Where: DT's Down Under, 140 E. Clayton St.
Call: (706) 543-9276
Check it out
Recently, Cook was selected to be featured on the MTV2-sponsored Web site On the Rise, which is a place for unknown artists to get exposure. The Web site has three levels and votes from the public help the artist proceed to the next level. Once hitting 5,000 votes, the artist is able to add a photo, an MP3 and some concert dates to his profile. When the artist receives 25,001 votes, he can add more photos and songs. To see it, visit http://mtv2ontherise.com
For more information about Cook, visit www.wesleycook. com or www.myspace.com/ wesleycook
Mostly originals but may also include covers from artists like: Steve Miller Band, Dave Matthews Band, CCR, Tracey Chapman, etc....
There are no upcoming dates at this time.