Phil Cook :: Southland Mission

The last time we heard from Phil Cook, he was serving up an EP entitled This Side Up, a collection of four instrumentals gracefully mingling country funk boogie with warm folk rambles and delicate, spacious meditations. Since then he has lent his talents - keys, bango, guitar, slide and vocals - to Hiss Golden Messenger’s Lateness of Dancers, Alice Gerrard’s Follow the Music and Matthew E. White’s Fresh Blood; three of the finest records of the past two years. We’ve also seen him on stage with HGM bandmate Amelia Meath (Mountain Man / Slyvan Esso) and his brother / Megafaun bandmate Brad Cook, conjuring the best of country soul vibes in mellow, hometown settings.

In all of Cook's work thus far, there has been an inherent warmth and love, a paean in sound to family, home, friendship and the organic blending of American roots music — country, soul, blues, gospel and folk. Watch him on stage and the joy he takes in his playing and musical fellowship is unmistakable — he beams with light, he is full of joy.

On Cook’s latest, the long player Southland Mission, he has found the words to go along with these sights and sounds, and in doing so has made the record of his career. Taking inspiration from his previous work in Megafaun and Hiss Golden Messenger, as well as influences such as the Band, J.J. Cale, Grateful Dead, Ry Cooder and Dylan circa 69-70, Cook puts all those energies, inspirations and genres into a homegrown stew, a record that swings and sways with passion, spirituality and love. It sounds full, vibrant, and bursting with life.

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