Tangle of Souls
It’s Nice to Know That The Folk Troubadour Tradition Is In Good Hands.
Some folks are made for the troubadour life, and one of those souls is Canadian singer-songwriter Scott Cook.
His latest album Tangle of Souls—his seventh, if you’re keeping score—is a modern day folk troubadours delight.
An easy-over of a dozen folk songs played simply and close to the belt by a group of Australian musicians known as The She’ll Be Rights. The perfect complement of upright bass, guitar, mandolin, dobro, and a couple of fiddles wonderfully fill out these tunes.
Cook has an admirable way with words and melody, crafting songs that are tried and true, simple and pure, yet deep, deep, deep.
The song that kicks off this collection, “Put Your Good Foot in the Road,” kicks down the door with in your face vocals and a sharp, quick melody to make it sweetly unforgettable, coupled with nice interplay between the fiddle and mandolin. An instant classic around campfires and folk gatherings from here on out, I’m thinking.
“Leave a Light On” starts off a little clunky, then recovers nicely, one of the most heartfelt songs on the album.
“Just Enough Empties” takes a familiar theme and runs away with it, creating a fresher story in the process.
And did I say Cook has a way with words and melody? Another one you’ll find yourself singing along to the first time you hear it is “Let Love Have It’s Way” features some wonderful understated banjo. And even though he’s lived in Canada since he was a child, Cook has traveled enough through the United States to craft a true vision of our time in “Say Can You See.”
This is the “standout singer-songwriter song” on the album, the one which may rightly get the most attention.
Writing a patriotic folk song about a country divided against itself, that doesn’t point fingers is tough. Cook doesn’t lay blame here, he tells simple, universal, truths. This song SHOULD get airplay on modern country radio—lord knows more folks need to hear it—but it won’t.
But it should!
In a day where ‘Nobody buys CDs anymore” Cook has done the unthinkable and produced a physical product that more than meets the eye. Included with these twelve songs is a 240-page booklet containing gorgeous photos, stories about each and every song, lyrics, and even chord charts for every song.
He writes about traveling on the road, trying to leave a more even carbon footprint, the trials of stage-fright, and tells some wonderful stories in the process.
This ain’t no vanity project, he’s not overestimating the music buying public at large, he’s creating a product that stands alone, that makes a statement. Cook may come off to some as “just another naive folkie” but he’s a natural born thinker. His songs aren’t just a tumble of words and chords, they come from the life of someone trying to make sense of this crazy world we all live in, not just through his music, but in his words, his stories, his travels. When I first saw there was a 240-page book to accompany the music, I thought it a bit silly, even a bit pointless, but Cook has managed to create a lasting piece of art that hits on many levels, through several dimensions.
It’s nice to read the words of an accomplished human being and heartfelt writer, someone who’s writing it all down because they have to, because they’re compelled to.
This isn’t just “product,” this is Art.
It’s nice to know that the Folk Troubadour tradition continues.