The Year I Grew Up
by Al Kaufman
If you know Georgia music you’ve heard Clay Cook. You may not have heard of him, but you’ve heard him. The multi-instrumentalist plays flute, saxophone,keyboards and guitar with the Southern rock Marshall Tucker Band. He was the original bass player for the country upstarts Sugarland. Before John Mayer sold out, he was in a duo called Lo-Fi Masters with Cook, and the pair wrote some songs that would go on to be hits for Mayer. Cook’s also toured with Shawn Mullins and produced CDs for locals Y-O-U, Aslyn, and Emily Kate Boyd. The boy is talented, and busy.
Yet Cook still has time to put out his own music. His self-produced (of course) The Year I Grew Up is the closest thing a CD can be to a resume, and a remarkable resume it is. Cook plays all the instruments on the CD, excepting the handclaps on "Lightning in a Bottle" because, as Cook says in his liner notes, "You can’t fake a group of people clapping."
Cook runs the gamut of musical stylings. There’s plenty of Southern rock and Americana, both loud and soft. But then there’s some ZZ Top style Texas boogie on "Let the Bottle Fall Out," some Tom Petty jangle in "What She Wants," funky New Orleans piano on "Former Glory," and some all out rock licks on "Prophet." The beauty of it is that Cook makes the whole thing sound cohesive. His vocals may not be rich and full, and he borders on self-righteous when he turns the microscope outward to examine others or society, as he does on "Going Through the Motions" and "What They Do," but in all, Cook delivers good quality music. He is not solely technically adept, he has great passion for his music as well. The effect is contagious.
Clay Cook plays Eddie’s Attic with Emily Kate Boyd on Tuesday, August 26th, 8 pm, $10.
He plays Kavarna on Tuesday, September 2nd, 8 pm. Free.
He plays Smith’s Olde Bar with Nic Cowan on Tuesday, September 9th, 9 pm $8.
He plays Smith’s Olde Bar as part of the Fram Jam (hosted by former 99X DJ Leslie Fram) at the Atlantis Music Festival on Friday, September 19th. Fram Jam begins at 8pm. Clay Cook onstage at 10:15 pm. $10