By Rosie Judd
Wesley Cook is a familiar voice in the Athens and Atlanta music scene. His soon-to-be released “Heavy” offers more of his acoustic driven, lyrical pop music that is heavily steeped in deep emotions. Cook guides the listener on an emotional journey through loss, love and hope without coming off as overly sappy or trite. While his musical style is usually compared to Jason Mraz or Jack Johnson, the record evoked more of the catchy melodies and poignant lyricism of Paul Simon or Matt Nathanson.
Unlike it’s moniker, the album and the opening song “Heavy” come through as optimistic and full of hope. With a chorus including “Don’t make your life so heavy child, you’ll never make your way out of this” Cook is encouraging us to look past the worries that bring us down every day. The reggae-inspired, acoustic strumming are the perfect summer soundtrack for “tralalala-ing” your way into the sunset to a better tomorrow. There will be singing and swaying along to this song for sure. Songs like “Give Me Something” and “Up The Wall” further this optimism by evoking those feelings of grandeur when caught up in those moments that make us realize that we’re a part of something bigger than ourselves, whether it’s an existential crisis of looking for something to believe in, or just falling in love.
Where this record truly shines for me are the tracks that are clearly about loss. “With A Little Love” and “Where We Want To Be” both showcase Cook’s delicate vocals perfectly. The listener is pulled into this emotional journey along with him. Cook pleads with you to understand “So when life gets hard you just know that I’m here from the start.” Cook is trying to make the listener understand that he’s there to be the rock through the hard times. “Where We Want To Be” brings the pain to the surface. The sustained electric guitar grinding beneath the soft acoustic chords to lyrics like “And you say you can’t go on, but I beg you’ll let me carry you” and “I’ll see you alive in my dreams.. I’ll carry on and I’ll always feel you watching over me” showcase the frustration and the pain and acceptance that are part of losing someone close to you.
This record is dedicated to Cook’s brother, that took his own life in 2012. I say that these songs make a beautiful tribute. Some of them are about loss, some of them are about love and some of them are about hope. Most importantly, they help you feel these emotions when you can’t seem to explain it for yourself, which is the ultimate power that music has for all of us. If you’re looking for a perfect summer drive soundtrack, “Heavy” is the record for you.
You can check out Wesley Cook Saturday, August 3, 2013, at Smith’s Olde Bar for his album release celebration! Grab tickets below!