Review: Rod Cook — ‘Uncooked’

The title of journeyman northwest guitarist Rod Cook’s new solo album Uncooked is meant to be a clever play on words blending his name with a reference to the popular MTV acoustic music series, but it is also a most gross understatement for a piece of work that was fully prepared as a 13-course musical feast. Cook delivers thoughtfully orchestrated renditions of 10 classics and two original compositions that cover a wide breadth of genres all distilled to a man and his two favorite guitars. Cook opens with a sublime instrumental mash up of “Amazing Grace” and “Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” sliding and finger-picking on his 1932 National Duolian, then moves to his trusted Guild D-35 to sing “Key To The Highway,” a deep cut from the late, great, Warren Zevon called “Carmelita,” and a masterclass on thumb picking technique on “Jiffy Jam.”

He transforms 60’s protest song “Politician,” into a mournful delta blues lament, and upends the melody of “House of the Rising Sun” playing it as jaunty ragtime. He sounds like he split himself in two on the full-tilt boogie “Find Your Own Business,” soloing with fire while holding down the groove. Cook demonstrates with songwriting prowess on the ode to self-worth “I Ain’t The Fool,” and the heartfelt love song “Heaven When You’re Near.” The final course is a display of classical chops rearranging Fab Four standards “Yesterday” and “Lady Madonna” into a Sonata and a Rondo for a confectionery delight. Bravo.

(Get more information about Rod Cook on Facebook HERE.) 


Rick Bowen

Rick grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan playing in school band, choir and show bands. While earning a BA at Western Michigan University in History and Social Science, he was a member of the Bronco marching band and jazz ensemble Gold Company. Moving to the Northwest in 1994, Rick soon landed gigs and sessions with many diverse local artists and is currently a member of the award winning Stacy Jones Band and the host of the all ages School of Jam. Rick is also an associate producer and session musician for Critical Sun Recordings, a contributing writer at Innocent Words, Seattle Examiner, No Depression, The Washington Blues Society and S.T.E.A.M magazine, and serves on the board of directors for the Washington Blues Society. Rick is endorsed by and plays THUMPER CUSTOM DRUMS. Awards: Washington Blues Society “Best of the Blues” award 2009 Best New Band –Stacy Jones Band WBS “Best of the Blues” award 2012 Best Blues Jam - Oxford Saloon Monday Night Jam 2013 & 2014 WBS Best Blues Writer award. 2014 WBS Chris Leighton Blues Drummer BB Award. Nominations: 2009 & 2013 Best Blues Drummer WBS BB awards. 2012 Best NW recording “No Need To Spell it Out –Stacy Jones Band (Rick J Bowen co producer)

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