If it were possible to dispense a doctorate in hard-earned musical experience, Scott Cook would be at the front of the line.
The three-time Juno Award winning singer-songwriter firmly believes a song can change a life. And to prove his point, Cook and The Second Chances are playing an intimate evening of roots, blues, soul, country and storytelling on Saturday, April 22 at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre.
The prairie balladeer, who makes his home in Edmonton, was originally born in Morgantown, West Virginia.
His father desired to enter a pastoral ministry and the family moved to Regina for his training. Posted throughout Western Canada, the family moved regularly before settling in Edmonton where Cook earned a degree in philosophy from the University of Alberta.
Striking out on his own, Cook was hired to teach kindergarten in Taiwan.
“What was supposed to be six months stretched into six years,” laughed the laid-back Cook. “It was a beautiful island and the Taiwanese people are sweet and wonderful.”
While in Taiwan, he joined a couple of bands.
“A lot of exciting stuff was happening and we had a lot of freedom economically and culturally.”
As part of the Smokin’ One, a funk reggae band, he stick-handled the bass while in The Anglers, a folk reggae band, they’d tour Canada in summers.
“We came here for two economically disastrous tours, but it didn’t really matter. We were all teachers in Taiwan.”
Feeling the itch to perform full-time, Cook returned to Canada, outfitted his old van with a bedroom and started living off the road. That was a decade ago.
For five years he experienced the hand-to-mouth lifestyle of a touring musician playing bar gigs. But the connections he made paid off.
“Five years ago I started getting soft-seaters and house concerts where people actually listen to your songs. And then the folk clubs came and better festival bookings – better time slots, more pay.”
With six albums under his belt, Cook just released the 2017 Further Down the Line packaged in a 132-page softcover book, a look back at a decade’s worth of rambling.
“The album is about my trajectory and what keeps us going if we have a dream. I dreamt I wanted to travel the world and sing songs for people. Thankfully I can do that.”
He later added, “At first I just wanted to make music, but later it was about making connections. I definitely met and talked to people all over the world. It’s broadened by opinions. I’m less attached to them.”
Two old friends join Cook as Second Chances: Shari Rae performs on upright bass and Bramwell Park plays banjo and mandolin.
Scott Cook and The Second Chances
Saturday, April 22 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Morinville Community Cultural Centre
9502 – 100 Ave.
Tickets: Dinner/show performance: $50/adults; $40/students/seniors. Call 780-420-1757 or at tixonthesquare.ca.