Roots musician to perform at Healthy Rhythm Art Gallery

Eli Cook travels on the crossroads of blues, rock and roll and country, moving with grit and attitude towards Montrose on May 7.

Cook found his love of music early on while listening to his childhood home in Charlottesville, Virginia, swirling with the sounds of oldies, rock and blues from the 50s and 60s. The likes of John Fogerty, Little Richard and Chuck Berry would sing from the vinyl player, lending to Cook’s love of roots music.

When he was 12, Cook recalled his brother picking up the guitar for the first time.

“I got what they called ‘little brother syndrome’ and I wanted to follow suit,” said Cook. “That was pretty much the catalyst for all my future endeavors.”

Now a roots musician, Cook has eight albums under his belt, has toured the country and collected a variety of accolades from press and fans. He released a single last summer called “All Night Thing,” a song he said has gone over well with audiences during live shows.

“The most successful songs usually end up being the songs that go over best in a live show,” said Cook. He hopes his upcoming album will bring about the same reaction as his released single.

As with many songs from the blues, rock and oldies genres, Cook’s music revolves around an inspiring message. The root of every song begins with an inspiring or evocative phrase, whether it’s from a song title, catch phrase, chorus line or something else that catches the musician’s ear.

“I want something that will serve as the centerpiece or crux of a song so I can build on it for the central foundation,” Cook said of his writing process.

Cook’s new record, Black Water Rise, has remained in a state of “limbo” due to the pandemic, but the musician is excited to share the meld of classic blues and rock tradition he incorporated into the album.

“It will be more electric guitar and more inspired by the southern rock and blues players of the 60s and 70s like ZZ Top,” said Cook.

“As far as the lyrical content, it’s drawing a lot of inspiration from early rock and roll blues song writers like Jerry Lee Lewis and other players in that genre.”

‘Black Water Rise’ sees a diversion from Cook’s previous musical portfolio, bringing in a more “uptempo and joyously raucous” vibe.

Cook described the album as louder, but more light-hearted in contrast to his previously “moody” records, whether he was playing acoustically or with his band.

“It was always a little more melancholic in nature, especially with the lyrics,” Cook said. “Things seem dreary enough as it is [with COVID] that I don’t need to add to it.”

The roots musician is set to perform at Healthy Rhythm Art Gallery in Montrose on Friday May 7. He will be hosting a “Roots of Blues Guitar” workshop at the art gallery on Saturday May 8.

Cook last visited Montrose two years ago and is looking forward to his return.

“I always had a great experience in Montrose with the audience and the general area,” said the musician. “I’m very much looking forward to coming back out and I’m happy to have a place to play anywhere due to COVID.”

Outside of performing for a “good audience,” Cook likes to explore the area and hike the mountains in Colorado.

Montrose is definitely a favorite destination and provides a great excuse to go hiking, said Cook.

Healthy Rhythm Art Gallery is located at 232 East Main Street. Tickets for the Friday and Saturday events can be found on the art gallery’s Facebook page or purchased through Cook’s event booking page at https://bit.ly/33jZuUI.

Cassie Knust is a staff writer for the Montrose Daily Press.

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