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October 31, 2012 by Jay Minkin

For those of you looking for new artists and record releases, you really don’t want to miss seeing the lovely Amy Cook who will be performing cuts from her fantastic new album Summer Skin on Sunday, November 4th in the intimate Beachland Tavern.  Her disc has been in heavy rotation playing in my car with each listen finding yet another gem of a track.

The eleven songs seamlessly thread together as Cook wanted it to flow as a complete piece of work in what is now a digital download age.  With the help of Greg Calbi who mastered the album at Sterling SoundSummer Skin kicks off with the very upbeat single “Waiting 4 The World 2 End” which is somewhat of a paradox to the song’s content. Cook writes a song about things you say to yourself when searching for strength and an answer.  It bleeds into the next track “Sun Setting Backwards” that Cook describes as “a slow burner, modern pop ballad that is a pretty honest and true story“.  Now living in Austin as a transplanted Southern California girl, Cook enjoys the tranquility of wandering the West Texas landscape looking for rocks and arrowheads.

A friendship with fellow Austinite Patty Griffin, who sang on Cook’s previous album,  led to the chance of having Robert Plant sing background vocals on two of the new songs.  Plant had heard a demo of “Airplane Driver” playing in Griffin’s car and loved it so much that he wanted to sing on it.  While in the studio with Cook as she was working through the song “It’s Gonna Rain” with Griffin offering a female backing vocal, Plant asked “mind if I give it a go?” and within three takes nailed the song’s final version.   One of my other favorites is “Getting To You” that was co-written with Ben Kweller.  Cook explained that this track was mixed more times by Steve Mazur than any other to get the layers just right and it is the one track where her beautiful voice seems to be the highlighted instrument.  “Break Your Fall” and “When I Wake Up” are two other tracks that are getting serious airplay and add to the enormous depth of material found on Cook’s sophomore effort.

Cook wanted to make an album “that grows on you and something I could still enjoy playing solo ten years from now“.  Produced by Craig Street and released on Cook’s own Roothouse Records label with distribution by Thirty Tigers at the end of August, it was picked up for national press by Jim Flammia and his All Eyes Media group.  Cook was a fan of the artists they represented and having a personal recommendation from Lucinda Williams, whom Cook toured with this past summer, was an added bonus.

Cook is opening for another Austin singer/songwriter Joe Pug, who is touring behind his second full length album Great Despiser that was released in April. Pug has received critical acclaim for his no-frills, well written catchy Americana songs.  So with two great acts playing in the Tavern on a Sunday evening for twelve bucks, I recommend you get off the couch and make your way to the Beachland.  You just might find yourself leaving humming a few new tunes …..


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