Scott Cook could be called the Stompin’ Tom Connors of Alberta.
He’s been all over the place and back, and written a song about it. With his newest release Further Down the Line, he’s done his best to sum up all the roads he’s walked in a booklet. This series of stories and pictures is full of heart and reflection.
“My books have been getting bigger over the years, as a deliberate push back against the move toward download cards,” Cook says. “They’re shaped like credit cards—where’s the poetry in that? I’ve always loved having something beautiful to hold and read, like we had with LPs.”
Further Down the Line does not tell a singular story, but offers a collection of moments and feelings unto themselves. It’s many years of living on the road, many years of words, and many years of memories.
“My career’s taken a turn for the better in the past couple years, to where it actually feels like a career rather than just playing hooky,” Cook says. “I find myself in the strange position of having younger artists ask me the sort of questions I was curious about when I started out.”
This introductory essay actually started out as letters of advice to a couple younger artists, but that changed.
“I realized that it wanted to grow into something bigger,” Cook says about the booklet’s inception. “There are strong parallels between what keeps an independent artist going through all the indignities and defeats the road entails, and what keeps all of us hoping and believing through the shit storm of this world.”
It is this inspiration that drove the book. As for music, Cook lists Greg Brown, John Prine, and Pete Seeger as some of his influences, but the most meaningful influences in his life are far more approachable.
“Most of my heroes are my good friends,” Cook says. “Most of the music I hear is right in front of me. Most of the CDs I listen to are ones I’ve swapped for. I don’t really seek out new music online. There’s so much interesting work being done under the radar.”
The album itself is filled with creativity and mood, moving from a love song personifying Alberta to “Fellas, Get Out of the Way,” a song about how pervasively women are objectified. His song lyrics seem more like a poetic philosophy than just words. As it turns out, that isn’t just a coincidence.
“I studied philosophy in university, and I’ve always enjoyed entertaining other points of view,” says Cook. “Personally, I’ve subscribed to so many different world views throughout my life, and changed my mind so many times, I can sympathize with just about anybody. And I can see the shadow of everything I reject inside my own heart. The more I travel, and the more people I meet, the more I think we’re not so different.”