Adam Cooke
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Adam Cooke

Port Hawkesbury, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 1972

Port Hawkesbury, Canada
Established on Jan, 1972
Solo Folk Singer/Songwriter


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos




(By Frank MacDonald, Arts Editor)

For a music awards weekend where more than 50 international delegates from the United States, Europe, Australia and Japan joined 2000 other delegates to the 20th annual East Coast Music Awards, the Discovery Stage was a choice setting for musicians to showcase their music to a wider audience. And there was no lack of Cape Breton talent taking advantage of the opportunity.

Richmond County's Adam Cooke, the Halifax-based rock band Silvergun, Inverness County native and singer-songwriter Michael Brennan, Judique fiddler Andrea Beaton and Margaree Forks fiddler Chrissy Crowley each took a turn on the stage for a 30-minute, show-us-what-you've-got gig, and each of them left an impression.

Singer-songwriter Adam Cooke, his strong piano in front of him, performed with the enthusiastic confidence that one associates with Cooke's music, giving the audience an a-capella song before taking his seat behind the keyboard and offering the new composition "A Mermaid's Eyes" and a tender love song, "My Sweet Everything."

The versatile performer also showcased another strength of his, musical satire, taking hilarious shots at Jean Chretien and Premier Rodney MacDonald. - The Inverness Oran - February 13/08


(By Frank MacDonald, Arts Editor)

Cape Breton troubadour Adam Cooke embraced Charlottetown and all of Prince Edward Island during the East Coast Music Awards hosted by the island province this past weekend.

Cooke was in Prince Edward Island since Monday, February 20, as part of the ECMA Soundwaves Program, introducing East Coast musicians to students across the province.

On Monday morning Cooke performed at the student centre on the campus of the University of Prince Edward Island. On Wednesday he was on the other end of the island and the other end of the education spectrum, performing for students at O'Leary Elementary School in the western part of PEI.

"There were over 200 kids, and it was the most exciting time I've ever had doing a kids' show," Cooke said.

However, the O'Leary show wasn't the most exciting thing Cooke experienced during the music-filled stretch. At the ECMA 72-Hour Jam, Cooke was scheduled to open the Roots segment, so on Friday morning at 11:30 a.m. he took to the stage at Myron's Cabaret.

Two songs performed by the singer-songwriter elicited a range of emotions from the audience.

"When I sang Archie Neil's Cape Breton there were a lot of gasps and a warm response from the audience - it was very moving," Cooke said of the song that celebrates his home island as experienced through one of its great personalities of the 20th century, Archie Neil Chisholm.

But it was laughter and appreciative applause that greeted Cooke's latest creation, a parody of Lord Of The Dance that skewered Nova Scotia's new premier:

"I danced up in Mabou at the old fire hall
In the winter and the spring, and the summer and the fall
I played every ceilidh, every county fair
And now I fiddle in the Premier's chair

Yes, yes, get a load of me
The youngest Premier in the whole country
And I'm ready for the Liberals and the NDP
As the brand new leader of the old PC's"

Cooke found it coincidental that he debuted the spoof at the very moment that Premier Rodney MacDonald was being sworn into office, and the humourous song was an audience favourite.

Cooke also appeared at the Jam on Sunday morning with Cape Breton gospel singer Allen O'Donnell, and at the Olde Dublin Pub with the band Pogey, which surprised him by performing a full band arrangement of "Shoreline," an original song from Cooke's debut CD, Side Roads. - The Inverness Oran - March 1/06


(By Christine MacDonald)

L'ARDOISE, RICHMOND COUNTY - Adam Cooke is taking his unique brand of humour, lively songs and sentimental ballads across Nova Scotia this summer, as he explores the unusual side of Nova Scotia music.

He's been carving a niche in the crowded Atlantic Canadian music scene - and having a ball doing it.

Three years ago, Cooke decided to take a chance and make music his full-time career after several years in print and broadcast journalism. His first CD, Side Roads, sold over 800 copies, which gave him the boost to continue his dream of being a full-time entertainer.

He just released his second album, Adam Cooke: EAST, which features "The Gaelic/Garlic Song," "Polar Bear Swim" and "Mind The Moose," along with a touching tribute to Archie Neil Chisholm, "Archie Neil's Cape Breton."

Managing himself, Adam has dates booked from Louisbourg to Sherbrooke Village to Mahone Bay. And every Wednesday he hosts Songs On The Waterfront at the Creamery in Port Hawkesbury, which showcases a variety of musical talent.

Cooke says his journalism and radio-broadcast training helps him when he performs: "You're taught not to speak to 500 or 1,000 people, even though that's how many could be listening. You speak to one person."

There are always tough crowds, he says, and you have to be ready for anything.

Once, while playing at The Miller's Tap & Grill in Port Hawkesbury, a pair of patrons didn't seem too pleased with Cooke's music: "They had scowls on their faces that looked like I had just disembowled their grandmothers."

"But when I passed their table during a break, they said, 'You're awesome - man, I love those songs.' They were having a good time, but they weren't communicating it with their faces."

Cooke says he's always wanted to be in the entertainment industry and use his creativity to the fullest. To that end, he's hoping to add guitar and harmonica to his current self-accompaniment on the keyboard, and he also writes plays and comedy sketches for Port Hawkesbury's Under The Map Theatre and the Louisbourg Playhouse summer series Cape Breton Lyrics and Laughter.

With such a lighthearted approach to his music, it shouldn't come as a surprise that he cites Buddy Wasisname and the Other Fellers, The Arrogant Worms and "Weird Al" Yankovic among his influences. But his greatest inspiration may come from the mild-mannered Kermit the Frog.

"In 'The Muppet Movie,' Kermit was leaving the swamp to go to Hollywood but he wasn't going to sign a five-picture deal, or get a percentage of the gross or 15 limousines," Cooke recalls. "He was going to Hollywood to make millions of people happy."

"I don't know about the millions, but if I can make one person happy with a performance at any one venue, or with one album sale, that's good enough for me." - The Halifax Chronicle-Herald - July 2004


(By Chris Connors)

L'ARDOISE, RICHMOND COUNTY - Adam Cooke has never been able to choose between music and comedy, so the singer-songwriter plans to continue doing both.

That's the case with EAST, the L'Ardoise native's second CD. Released independently this summer, the album alternates between songs that tickle the funnybone - including "The Gaelic/Garlic Song," a parody-medley of four traditional songs, which debates the merits and drawbacks of the pungent herb - and tug at the heartstrings, such as "Archie Neil's Cape Breton," a loving tribute to Margaree fiddler and broadcaster Archie Neil Chisholm.

It's a bit of a balancing act, but Cooke says there's room for both, in music and in life.

"I've had people say to me, 'If you're going to do an album, why don't you do an all-comedy album or an all-serious album, because you can't market the two of them together on one album,'" says Cooke, who models himself after other artists that mix wit and serious songwriting, like Newfoundland trio Buddy Wasisname and the Other Fellers and Leon Dubinsky, the noted songwriter who also served as musical director of the Cape Breton Summertime Revue.

"Certainly, I've thought about that - and I'm thinking that an all-comedy album might be on the radar five or six years down the road - but when I looked at it, I thought: This is me. This reflects who I am. My personal philosophy on life is that you don't laugh all the time, but you don't cry all the time, either. So there's room for both of that in your heart and soul as a person and as a musician."

As with his last album, Side Roads (2001), Cooke has been on the road quite a bit to promote EAST, touring through most of Cape Breton and smaller rural Nova Scotia communities like Mahone Bay, Digby and Tatamagouche.

"I have my days where I wake up and I kinda shake my head a little bit and say, 'What county am I in today?' Or 'What county am I about to be in?'" he laughs.

"I'm really enthusiastic about it. I've been able to see so many parts of Nova Scotia that I might not have gotten a chance to see otherwise. So many of these nooks and crannies that I've found, both closer to home and all around the province, inspire me with their character and with some of the characters you'll find in them." - The Cape Breton Post - July 21/04


(By Frank MacDonald, Arts Editor)

Adam Cooke is back from the recording studio, and in his hand he is carrying EAST, his latest collection of original songs with two exceptions: Tom Lewis' "Last Shanty" and the Lillian Crewe Walsh-Charlie MacKinnon standard "Twilight On The Cabot Trail."

EAST is a showcase for Cooke's astonishing range as musician, singer, songwriter, entertainer, humourist, satirist and composer of tender verse.

With 12 new songs to fill an evening full of pleasure, Cooke opens his collection with "Last Shanty," and the recording's energy is derived from this live cut, because anyone who has seen Cooke live is aware that few performers bring his articulate energy to the stage at a sustained level - insisting, even against one's will, that you will have fun and enjoy yourself.

EAST is filled with opportunities to enjoy the Cooke formula for pleasure, peppered with poetic thought, a rich vein of smiles, social commentary and a deep passion for Cape Breton.

This passion - while evident in a number of Cooke's original works and song choices - is most lovingly offered in Cooke's composition "Archie Neil's Cape Breton," a tribute to one of the great cultural icons of the island: storyteller, historian, musician and raconteur. In Cooke's ballad, Archie Neil's Cape Breton is a place where "Though many friends have come and gone/Their spirits rise with each new dawn/For Margaret's got the kettle on/In Archie Neil's Cape Breton."

Whether Cooke is singing about the fog, trains, polar bear swims or his popular "Gaelic/Garlic Song," emotions at all levels are touched by the singer's insights, wit and/or comic spin.

But EAST, although it abounds in wit and humour, is also a vehicle for Cooke's more serious look at the world around him, no more strongly stated than in "We Won't Back Down (The Canso Song)." As the troubadour sings of the challenges this troubled town has endured and strived to overcome, including an endless litany of economic disappointments, hope shines through in the lyrics:

"400 years of standing firm, 400 years of hope
400 years of pulling hard at the back end of our rope
A history of stubborn wills, courage and desire
A legacy of thinking big, reaching higher and higher."

This summer, there are several opportunities to hear Cooke's EAST material, including the Stan Rogers Folk Festival, the Louisbourg Playhouse, Upper Clements Park, Cape Breton's "Celebration Of The Arts" series on the North Sydney waterfront, and Sherbrooke Village. - The Inverness Oran - June 30/04


(From Dan MacDonald's weekly "Feedback" arts column)

Adam Cooke and The Fleur-de-Lis Trail Players finish their two-week Louisbourg Playhouse run tomorrow night.

Adam is also busy promoting his new CD, EAST. It contains 12 cuts, including 11 songs (nine of which are his own compositions) and the funkiest version of "Stairway To Heaven" that I've ever heard. Arranged by Adam, Joe Waye and Kimberley Fraser, "Strathspey To Heaven" also shows up as part of The Fleur-de-Lis Trail Players show and I really like it.

On EAST, Adam has picked material suitable to his style and voice, putting together an interesting combination of songs that range from extremely serious to wonderfully irreverent. He is first and foremost an entertainer and EAST is a great example of his talent. If you get it I know you'll laugh in spots and ponder the serious intentions in others. And through it all, I know you'll enjoy it. - The Cape Breton Post - September 16/04


(From Grant MacDaniel's weekly "Grant's Rants" column)

I once used the term "Quad Counties" in a story I wrote on Adam Cooke, the music man from L'Ardoise way. Adam was at The Reporter before I landed here. He really was an exceptional news writer, photographer, interviewer, the whole shot. Now he's a touring musician. He was on "Breakfast Television" just a few months ago.

Anyway, I used the term "Quad Counties" in my Cooke story, as a euphemism for the Strait of Canso. I didn't get yelled at or anything, but was told - in a diplomatic sort of way - that it was a radio term.

Adam's the first person to have quoted anything I wrote. He used something from my review of his CD for promotional purposes, posters and media releases. I'm happy he liked what I wrote and found it useful.

Adam's music really is quite good. He's smart and creative, funny, and has a voice with more decibel juice than a foghorn. Some people even think Adam actually created the term "Quad Counties" back in his radio days. I don't know if it's true or not.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: It isn't.) - The Reporter - Port Hawkesbury, N.S.


(By Frank MacDonald, Arts Editor)

Adam Cooke will release his first collection of songs under the title Side Roads at The Creamery in Port Hawkesbury this Friday.

For years, the L'Ardoise vocalist has been sharing his voice and his songs in various Inverness County venues, from The Creamery to Judique's Highland Guitar Society to the Blues Mills Fire Hall Ceilidhs, and the positive feedback has encouraged Adam to record an album of mainly original material.

"I was never shy about sharing my songs at concerts and ceilidhs and parties," Cooke says. "I felt that most of what I had written was worth sharing with other people."

In 1992, the songwriter was a finalist in K94's Cape Breton Songwriting Contest - which eventually crowned Bruce Guthro as its champion - so writing is not new to the Richmond County singer who composed his first song at age eight, and at 15 began to seriously pen lyrics and accompany himself on the keyboard.

In the past year, he wrote five songs, "four of which saw the light of day, with three of these being extremely well-received and frequently-requested. People regularly asked if I had an album."

The story of Side Roads is a story of friendship. Adam has a number of musical friends, few of whom have the financial means of renting professional studio time. Port Hawkesbury sound technician John Ellingbo did something about it. Four years ago, he approached fellow musician Patrick Lamey about setting up recording equipment in Lamey's basement.

"It was a recording space for artists without the high cost of studio time. This winter, John did it again and several musicians went through between February and May. I was the last," Cooke says.

With the help of the studio, and the talents of Lamey (guitar, banjo, vocals), Ashley LeBlanc (bass), Brad McNamara (drums), Heather Richards (woodwinds, vocals), Delores Boudreau (bodhran, spoons, vocals), Blair McNamara (fiddle), and Grace Boudreau (vocals), Cooke has put together a recording that explores musical "side roads" from laughter to lament.

Of the 11 cuts on Side Roads, only two are not Cooke's creations. "Driver MacIvor," Ronnie MacEachern's hilarious tour of the island, turns up in full party spirit through Cooke's voice, as does "The L'Ardoise Cannonball," a local rewrite of "The Wabash Cannonball" that will trigger Richmond County memories of a now-defunct bus line.

The rest of the recording showcases Cooke's attachments and interests with lyrics sometimes sensitive, sometimes hilarious, from the touching tribute to his grandfather in "The Father And The Son" to the laughter inspired by "The Nova Scotia Weather Song."

It is clear from Side Roads that Adam Cooke's arrival with his keyboard at a musical function assures any audience that a party is brewing. - The Inverness Oran - August 15/01


(By Dan MacDonald, Arts Columnist)

For most people travelling Route 4 and Highway 104 through Richmond County, the roads to L'Ardoise and other similar communities would generally be considered "side roads" - but for people living in these areas, these side roads are an important part of everyday life.

This is something Adam Cooke knows well, as he travelled those roads for many years as a reporter for both Port Hawkesbury's CIGO Radio and the newspaper The Reporter. As a songwriter, he continues to detail some of the happenings in these communities, so it's no wonder he would call his first CD Side Roads.

Adam is a gifted songwriter and a great pianist, with a wonderful wit and a knack for phrasing that leads to some interesting compositions. These abilities are often put into play, as Adam is in demand as an entertainer and an emcee throughout Richmond and Inverness Counties.

There are several lovely numbers that show us the more serious side of Adam. "Settle My Soul" and "The Rose I Picked For You" (with lovely flute work weaving through it) are among the best examples, as is "The Father and the Son" (one of my favourites), its sentiments giving an entirely different view of the sadness of death.

Adam's wit shows through on "Waiting For The Big One," where one of his relatives gets grilled and teased about a continued litany of excuses related to his hunting ability (or inability). Another excellent example is "The Nova Scotia Weather Song": "Even covered with ice/All our scenery's still nice/If you find it through all of this fog." I think each and every one of us can recognize this scene.

In addition to his own numbers, Adam picks a pair of songs from other Cape Breton writers. He's recorded Louis Pottie's "The L'Ardoise Cannonball" and Ronnie MacEachern's "Driver MacIvor," a song Adam does wonderfully in live performances.

While this is Adam's project, he is surrounded by relatives, neighbours and friends who sing and play backup (and even provide recording space). These are fellow performers whose names are familiar to most in the Strait Area and who add a great deal to the CD.

Adam Cooke is a very good entertainer and Side Roads is an interesting and entertaining CD. If you see it, pick it up. If you have a chance to hear Adam in person, take it. I don't think you will be disappointed in either case. - The Cape Breton Post - April 4/02


(NOTE: Story edited for space considerations)

TATAMAGOUCHE - The place was packed!

Over 150 North Shore residents showed up at the Creamery in Tatamagouche to support a fundraiser for the Tsunami Survivor Relief Fund, hosted by local merchants Chuck and Annette Hunziker.

As a result of the event's success, Doctors Without Borders will receive a cheque in the amount of over $2,000.

Adam Cooke, a musician and entertainer from Richmond County, Cape Breton, was Master of Ceremonies for the evening and presented an impressive line-up of entertainers that was second to none, including "a person that I never in my wildest dream thought I would be on the same stage with" - onetime Singalong Jubilee host Bill Langstroth, who now makes his home in Malagash.

"What a great place to be," Cooke told the enthusiastic audience.

"This is my fourth visit to Tatamagouche and each visit has held many surprises for me. Be proud of this North Shore area - you have a wealth of talent here, along with a vibrant and welcoming public. This place rocks!"

Cooke opened the show with an a-capella number popularized by the Ontario group Finest Kind, "Fa So La," and then presented a lively original tune, "The Nova Scotia Weather Song," that tells a bit about how quickly our weather can change.

He would return for the finale, accompanying himself on the keyboard as he sang the heart-rending song written over 20 years ago in aid of the famine in Africa, "Tears Are Not Enough." - The Light - February 16/06


2001 - Adam Cooke and Friends: Side Roads
2004 - Adam Cooke: EAST
(Three tracks from this album are available in this EPK)

Adam is also featured on the following albums:

1999 - Ceilidh At The Creamery Live!
(Backing vocals on opening track "Drop Your Anchor")
2002 - Delores Boudreau: Me, My Self & Moi
(Backing vocals on track #6 "Les Oiseaux des Champs")
2005 - Yves Rossignol: De L'Acadie a la Louisiane
(Keyboard on three tracks; Hammond organ on one track)
2006 - Krysta MacKinnon: Aftermath
(Keyboard on five tracks)
2007 - Celtic Colours International Festival (Compilation CD features Adam's piano on "The Killecrankie Set" from Krysta MacKinnon's Aftermath album)
2008 - Cape Breton Music: Off The Beat'n Tracks (Fundraising compilation CD for the Strait Richmond Hospital Foundation features Adam's song "Waitin' For The Big One") 2010 - The Pub Boys - Keyboard on "My Lilly" and "Summer Time On Cape Breton Island"



Music has always been a part of Adam's life, but some might say the Cape Bretoner took "the scenic route" to get to his current status of Maritime touring artist.

Trained as a journalist, the Richmond County native spent 17 of the last 25 years as a Port Hawkesbury-based news reporter and radio announcer; you can still hear his voice on CBC Cape Breton's Information Morning show twice a month and read his column in The Strait Area Reporter every week. But his love of writing, singing, and performing distracted him at key moments ("Um, could you repeat that, Mr. Premier?") and finally proved too much to overcome, leading to his departure from the media to pursue music full-time.

In his eight years as a full-time musician and even as a part-time player over the past decade, Adam has had more fun than any one person should be able to handle, performing at venues of all sizes around the Maritimes. His two albums - the 2001 debut Side Roads and the 2004 follow-up EAST - have sold a combined 1,200 copies around Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick, and he's already started studio work on his third disc, Ocean Playground, expected to reach retailers, music lovers and a growing fan base in the coming months. (Don't say we didn't warn ya!)

This crazy old journey has thrown Adam into the path of many of his musical heroes. He's hosted Songwriters' Circles at the Port Hawkesbury Creamery with the likes of Dave Gunning, John Gracie, Leon Dubinsky, Duncan Wells and RyLee Madison. He's opened for Natalie MacMaster, Bruce Guthro, Ron Hynes, Madison Violet and The Arrogant Worms (Twice! What were they thinking?!). And his 2004 mainstage performance at the Stan Rogers Folk Festival saw him trading off songs with Cape Breton legends J.P. Cormier and Raylene Rankin, less than 24 hours before a grizzled veteran named Bruce Cockburn happened to land in Canso.

Over the past decade alone, while still employed as a full-time newspaper reporter, Adam has made four appearances at Glace Bay's historic Savoy Theatre and five at The Louisbourg Playhouse, become a frequent MC and community-event host for the Celtic Colours International Festival, and played in communities as diverse as Inverness, Guysborough, Truro and Halifax, as well as a 2012 appearance in northern France with fellow Richmond County artist Delores Boudreau.

All of these amazing moments might defy logic, description and gravity for most independent artists, but Adam's music tends to avoid the ordinary. Refusing to be either a complete nutball or a humble balladeer, Adam has taken a page from Newfoundland's Buddy Wasisname & The Other Fellers and The Cape Breton Summertime Revue to evenly balance side-splitting goofiness with tender, heartfelt stories of his homeland and those who inhabit it. As Adam himself puts it: "Here in the Maritimes, you don't laugh all the time, but you don't cry all the time either. And my music reflects that East Coast balance."

What? You're still reading? My heavens, why don't you sample the sound files on this electronic press kit instead? Much more satisfying - just ask the thousands who have seen Adam in person or bought his albums. The numbers are growing, and you'll join "THE BELIEVERS" soon enough.