Scott Cook and Pamela Mae Johnson return to Alberta after performing concerts across North America


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The road can exhaust even the most capable, but for Scott To cookit actually gives him plenty of reason to be optimistic.

“If you were just looking at things through the lens of what you hear on the news or see on Facebook, you might not feel this,” says the Edmonton singer-songwriter, crossing Michigan with his partner and double bass. playing teammate Pamela Mae Johnson. “But when you’re actually out there talking to people, you get a lot more sense of common ground between people.”

To cook and Johnson have earned all the positivity they have accumulated on their travels, having traveled through 35 states and seven provinces in 2022. While To cook admits that audiences who attend folk shows tend to have a particular political bent, he also refers to many people they’ve met at campgrounds, gas stations, and restaurants. As he notes, when talking about some of the most conspiratorial people they’ve encountered on their travels, the internet isn’t like a small town where you’re bound to meet the same people over and over again.

“In northern Michigan, where my dad’s family owns a hardware store, that’s really Trump country,” he says. “My uncle is certainly ok with all that, but my cousin who worked there is much more on the left. They all hang out together. Immigrants enter the store, as do the good old boys. There’s something to be said for how people learn to get along when they have to see each other every day.

This is the kind of near-field wisdom you’ll get from To cookthe 2020 album, Tangle of Souls. Dropped into the void during the first summer of the pandemic, he avoids overt political pontification and instead investigates the soul, oscillating between grief and hilarity. Like the rest of us, To cook was stuck at home for those early days, with little opportunity to show his new batch of songs to the public other than a few construction site shows.

If you haven’t had the chance to hear these songs live, To cook and Johnson will reunite with their Edmonton band, The Second Chances, at the Northern Lights Folk Club on November 19 to play several of them. They may even have a few physical copies of the beautifully crafted Tangle of Souls, which comes with a 240-page cloth-bound book full of contemplations and road stories. To cook originally released 5,000 copies of the album, and is now set to order more; it may be the most recent Scott To cook album that you will be able to buy in the foreseeable future.https://youtu.be/FxxjLu0TKF0

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“I really have no idea making records anytime soon,” says To cooks. “This one is going so well. I mean, I recently released a single about Letitia James, the New York Attorney General, but it’s part of the Patreon gig I do every month.

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Over the past year and a half or so To cook offered his fans an interesting proposal. For signing up to his Patreon account, he promised to write and record one song a month, putting pressure on the songwriter to deliver the goods much faster than the four or five songs. per year that he usually produces. He stumbled again, withholding payment to reflect this, but he also certainly wrote more songs than he ever wrote in his life.

“So there’s a financial incentive to do it,” he laughs. “But it is also a challenge. I now have about 137 people on this thread and I don’t want to disappoint them. It’s been good for pushing me forward and digging into ideas that I’ve been carrying around for a few years or more, or song ideas that I’ve been filing away on my computer. I call it Inside Track, and I think people maybe cherish the idea that they get a glimpse into the inner workings of the songwriting mind.

The road always winds for To cook and Johnson. Next year they will depart for Australia and New Zealand, then return to the United States to take on Texas and Appalachia, before returning to Alberta in time for the North Country Fair. There will be a mix of house concerts and garden shows, but also established venues like To cook tests the mainstream to pursue career growth.

“Perhaps the best you can hope for in selling a small town is to have the same people next time, whereas a club in a place like New York offers more room to grow,” he reflects, “but the small town shows are more like a crowd and less like a collection of strangers in one room. I’d like to do both, honestly. In these small venues, people really respond to the music, you have conversations I feel like these are the places where music connects and nurtures people’s souls, which is important to me.

yegarts@postmedia.com

OVERVIEW

Scott To cook & Second ChancesWhen Nov. 19 at 8 p.m.Where Parkview Community Hall, 9135 146 St.Tickets Starting at $27 at the door or in advance on TixontheSquare.ca


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