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Cook heats up summer

Kimberly Nicoletti

I’ve been told so many stories

right from the day I was born

now I’m older, it’s time to choose

the road that I will travel on

– Nancy Cook, from “Road by Road”

KEYSTONE – Singer and songwriter Nancy Cook has turned her stories into lyrics about love, friendship and relationships and has taken her guitar-driven melodies on the road.

The 14-year-resident of Summit County went from singing other people’s songs to creating her own in 1991. Since then, she has cut three CDs and toured throughout the Southeast, Pacific Northwest and Texas.

“I reached a point when I was making just great money doing the standard apres ski songs, but it was not rewarding to me, so I had to follow my heart,” Cook said. “I had to crawl out there and just trust my bills would get paid. I only had a season of holding my breath.” Then backers for her CDs showed up.

“That never would have happened if I wouldn’t have made the commitment to do my own original songs,” she said.

This summer, she’s pushing the creative envelope again by throwing out deadlines for a new album and simply playing with the process of songwriting.

“I’m trying something new – no deadlines,” she said. “I want it to be for the sake of the process, not for the sake of results. I want to see what that will do to the song. Sometimes I’m too worried about the completion. I’m hoping that kind of process will really help me be a better song crafter.”

Her inspiration for letting go of outcome came from other songwriters.

“I’ve had the chance to watch what happens with other people when they’re more involved with the process than the result. I’ve been really charmed by that,” she said.

So far, her process has taken her from more personal songs to a more universal level.

“If you can take that personal sense and relate it to a bigger picture, then you’ve really done the trick,” she said. “I suppose if anything’s my goal, that’s to really make people feel connected.”

“What Nancy sings about is real and honest,” bass player Chris Engleman said. “It’s not trying to be something other than who she is. It’s not pretentious in any way.”

Cook’s genuineness is apparent in her love of music. Though publishing contacts have encouraged her to move to Nashville, Tenn., she prefers her steady path playing in Summit County during the ski season and touring in spring and fall.

“As I grow older in the business, I’m at the point where I may be playing in bars, churches, Buddhist temples, RV parks, nursing homes, who knows? All of those options would be dandy,” Cook said.

“Trying to be a musician is tough enough, and it’s obviously often geared to youth,” Engleman said. “She’s been able to pull it off successfully and keep a positive attitude.”

Cook began her solo career as a 22-year-old when hardly any women dared perform solo. Now, she occasionally runs into the youth-oriented bias of the music business.

“It’s interesting to note when I’m discounted because of age, but to me, it’s made me more grateful to be well into my 40s and to be doing this,” Cook said.

Cook plays solo this weekend from noon-2 p.m. at Keystone Village. Then, she joins guitarist Sal Mancini for a July 4 show at the Frisco Marina. She’ll end her season of warm melodies at the Frisco Historical Park with the Acoustic Roots Trio, featuring Bonnie Carol on hammered dulcimer, marimba, piano and congas and Randy Kelley on violin, mandolin, bass and acoustic guitar.

For more information, visit the Web site at http://www.picklehead.com/nancy.html.

Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 245 or by e-mail at knicoletti@summitdaily.com.

Nancy Cook

– When: noon-2 p.m., Saturday and Sunday

– Where: Keystone Village Pond, Keystone


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