Adam Cooke

Adam Cooke

 Port Hawkesbury, Nova Scotia, CAN

What's with this guy? Why won't he perform normal folk songs, instead of these offbeat tunes about dodging moose on the Cabot Trail or Nova Scotia weather or gorging on garlic? And he expects to sing alongside Natalie MacMaster, J.P. Cormier, Madison Violet or The Arrogant Worms? Dream on...


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.


Mind The Moose

Written By: Adam Cooke

Mind the moose (Mind the moose!)
As you drive those twisted roads
Mind the moose (Mind the moose!)
As you haul your heavy loads
Mind the moose (Mind the moose!)
As you travel up and down
Mind the moose (Mind the moose!)
And you'll get home safe and sound

1. I was drivin' through the Highlands of Cape Breton
Just to sing some songs and really let 'er rip
But there's one piece of advice I kept on gettin'
From the folks who heard about this little trip

2. It was gettin' dark when I pulled into Jimmy's
On the outskirts of a town called Ingonish
I could tell that he was awfully glad to see me
But he wanted me to heed one little wish

3. As we barreled past New Haven and Neil's Harbour
The roads took on a roller-coaster style
All those bumps and lumps and curves
Kept getting sharper
While Jimmy kept on singin' all the while

4. At last we sauntered into Bay St. Lawrence
They'd been singin' songs for nearly half the day
When I took the stage,
They cheered for every chorus
But they also took a moment just to say

5. We were headin' back, but I was gettin' tired
I could feel my weary eyes begin to fail
And at 1 a.m., my energy expired
Not a good thing when you're on the Cabot Trail

6. Next thing I know,
I'm crashin' through my sunroof
I'm airborne, but at least I'm still alive
The impact chipped the top off Jimmy's front tooth
I could hear him yell:

7. Now, my landing ended up a little gory
It's a memory I prob'ly shouldn't share
But I hope you learn a lesson from my story
'Cause you don't want 12-point antlers
Up your derr-i-erre!


CODA: Mind the moose...
And you'll get home safe and sound!

Music & Lyrics (c) 2002 by Adam Cooke SOCAN
Featured on the 2004 album "Adam Cooke: EAST"

Last Shanty

Written By: Tom Lewis

(NOTE: While this is not an Adam original, his live recording of this song on the 2004 album "Adam Cooke: EAST" is the first time the song has been recorded with all six of Tom Lewis' verses, as the fifth verse - referring to radar operators - has never been recorded by any previous artists, including Tom Lewis himself.)

1. Well, me father often told me,
When I was just a lad
A sailor's life was very hard
The food was always bad
But now I've joined the Navy
I'm aboard a man-o'-war
And now I've found a sailor
Ain't a sailor anymore

Don't haul on the rope
Don't climb up the mast
If you see a sailin' ship
It might be your last
Just get your civvies ready
For another run ashore
A sailor ain't a sailor
Ain't a sailor anymore

2. Well, the killick of our mess
He says we have it soft
It wasn't like that in his day
When he was up aloft
We like our bunks and sleeping bags
But what's a hammock for?
Swingin' from the deckhead
Or lyin' on the floor ---CHORUS

3. Well, they gave us an engine
That first went up and down
Then, with more technology,
The engine went around
We now have steam and diesel
But what's a mainyard for?
A stoker ain't a stoker
With a shovel anymore ---CHORUS

4. Well, they gave us an Aldiss lamp
So we could do it right
They gave us a radio
We signal day and night
We know our codes and ciphers
But what's a semaphore?
A buntin' tosser doesn't toss
The buntin' anymore ---CHORUS

5. Well, they gave us a radar set
To pierce the fog and gloom
So know, the lookout's sittin'
In a tiny darkened room
Loran does navigation
The sonar says how deep
The jimmy's three sheets to the wind
The skipper's fast asleep ---CHORUS

6. Two cans of beer a day
And that's your bleedin' lot
But now we have an extra one
Because they stopped the tot
So we'll put on our civvie clothes
And find a pub ashore
A sailor's still a sailor
Just like he was before


Music & Lyrics (c) 1978, 1987 by Tom Lewis


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"

Set List

How long can Adam play? Say the word and he'll meet your timeframe. He's done 15-minute cameo appearances, two-hour concert-style performances (indoor and outdoor), and four-hour pub shows. And he's kept his energy and enthusiasm at its highest levels in every setting, and for every audience.


UPBEAT: Waiting For The Big One, The Nova Scotia Weather Song, Shoreline
SOFTER: Settle My Soul, Welcome Home, Brothers and Sisters


UPBEAT: The Gaelic/Garlic Song, Mind The Moose, Strathspey To Heaven
SOFTER: As The Sun Makes Way For The Moon, Archie Neil's Cape Breton


UPBEAT: Fleur-de-Lis, The Island Sleeps, On An Island With You, The Lobster (parody of "The Boxer")

SOFTER: I Am The Causeway, A Mermaid's Eyes, Magic Cove, Sunken Treasure