When David Cook moved to Nashville in 2012, the expectation was that this singer-songwriter from the Heartland would emphasize the rootsy side of his sensibility, and sure enough, he had immediate success co-writing country tunes, including the Top-20 single “Kiss You Tonight” for David Nail in 2014. But new album Digital Vein is something else entirely, with Cook’s powerful voice and dynamic guitar work knifing through vibrant soundscapes that boldly juxtapose man-made grooves and electronic textures.
“Working in Nashville opened me up creatively to trying different things,” Cook explains. “Writing for country acts has been freeing in the sense that I can bring out that side of my creativity, and it brought some freshness to the other side of what I like to do. So I ran with it, going into the creative process with the blinders off. I just wanted to try things, and there was no formula. Honestly, I didn’t even know if I was gonna make another record; I decided to just write and have fun and see what happens.”
As an experiment, Cook applied what he’d learned from working with Music City craftsmen in that time-honored narrative vein to the material he was writing for his own use.“It was fun and a new challenge to try to attack my own songwriting in that way,” he begins, then says with a laugh, “In hindsight, what the hell was I thinking trying to take this on? But it ended up being an amazing process, and it led to a record that I’d put up there with my prouder moments.”
Asked why he decided to title the album Digital Vein, Cook explains,
“My last independent record, back in 2006, was Analog Heart, and after my major-label journey, with circumstances being what they are, this record is certainly a progression. I don’t think it’s very much likeAnalog Heart at all, but the process of putting it together was similar in the sense that I worked with a very small team, and I put a lot of myself into every aspect of it. It felt like a throwback in that regard, so I wanted the two records to be connected, if only in name.”
Cook recorded the new album in his home studio, working with his longtime friend and onetime bandmate Andy Skib, who engineered, and the rhythm section from his touring band, playing the bulk of the parts himself.The project was funded in part by contributions from fans through a highly successful PledgeMusic campaign.
Humanity pulses through Digital Vein, from impassioned opener “Heartbeat” to the haunting metaphysical question of “Where Do We Go.” On the first single, the rocking “Criminals,” written with Nashville song-smith Blair Daly, Cook presents his own take on the classic theme of lovers on the run, a notion that has long transfixed the American consciousness, from Bonnie and Clyde to Bruce Springsteen.
There’s a duality on the album between ardently devotional love songs and others shot through with a dark undercurrent, enabling Cook’s subtly intense cover of the Chris Isaak classic “Wicked Game” to function not simply as a vocal showcase but also as a thematic link between these two vectors.
The album’s most personal song is the poignant “Home Movies.” As Cook recalls,
“Not too long ago, I had the chance to look over old photos with my family, and that brought back memories of my brother Adam. The experience got me in a certain mindset, and I consciously wrote that song about growing up and spending time with my older brother, who passed away of brain cancer in 2009. He’s been a part of every record I’ve made, but with ‘Home Movies‘ especially, there’s a tangible aspect.”
Since Adam’s death, David has devoted himself to fighting the disease, to the extent that philanthropy is now as important to him as his music.
Cook becomes reflective as he looks back on his journey, with its ecstatic highs and devastating lows.
“I have no regrets,” he says of his Idol experience. “It has ultimately let me do some amazing things in the last seven years, culminating in this record. Who knows where I’d be right now if weren’t for all that. Prior to the show, I was tending bar to pay the rent, and I was a really bad bartender. So to have the resources that I have now – to be able to make a record this way – it’s huge. I’ve still got a platform and an avenue that most don’t. So, yeah, no regrets.
Get tickets here http://www.etix.com/ticket/p/5686459/david-cook-and-guests-jacksonville-mavericks-at-the-landing