Phil Cook – People Are My Drug (album review)

by Woody on June 8, 2018

Phil Cook’s music makes me happy. So much that I have daydreamed about a reality, where when Phil and his band roll into town, pour out of whatever jalopy or tour van they are traveling in (Phil pulling his suspenders up around his shoulders) as the people happily and adoringly stream out of their homes in anticipation of the celebratory night of music that lays in wait for the whole town for old, young and everybody in between.

In a time where many musicians and artists are letting out frustrations with the current state of our country bubble up in their music, Cook pivoted on that, took those frustrations and created a musical style to celebrate being alive and the eternal hope that tomorrow will be a better day if you celebrate the people around you and focus on the positive.

Since his last album, Cook has been lucky enough to work with Mavis Staples and Blind Boys of Alabama. Brushing up with the soulful gospel sounds of greatness has certainly affected his music for the better. In addition to his band The Guitarheels – drummer JT Bates, bassist Michael Libramento and pianist James Wallace; Cook had his brother Brad produce the album. MC Taylor wrote the beautiful Tupelo Child. It’s a tender track about loving the ones who came before you; learning from them.

Amelia Heath of Sylvan Esso pops up on the album as she co-wrote the bluesy gospel track, Miles Away. I saw her perform with Phil up at Newport a couple of years back. This tune has this loose spur-of-the-moment feel to it. Another Mother’s Son is about as uplifting track about racial injustice as you’ll ever come across. It comes down to Phil’s unshakeable belief that we can all do better if we love and are loved.

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Phil a few times and he’s one to meet you with a big smile plastered across his face. As I recently told a friend who heard Steampowered Blues on this post, his music just makes me happy.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Phil Cook is here

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