"Practice’ makes perfect for Cook in latest album | SummitDaily.com

"Practice’ makes perfect for Cook in latest album

Jason Starr

The word practice, in the context of Nancy Cook’s latest album, means the practice of individual spirituality, the practice of daily love and kindness and the practice of melding melody and lyric into song.

These are what shine through on the Frisco singer-songwriter’s album, “Practice” – a semiautobiographical collection of 11 cuts that explore war, love and God. She recorded the album at Snowflake Studio in Breckenridge and released it last spring.

Cook, having recently returned from a hiatus that included a conference on unlimited love and personal transformation in Italy and work with Habitat for Humanity in Jordan, resumes her local gigging schedule Saturday with a happy-hour set at the Valdoro Mountain Lodge in Breckenridge.

“Practice” features Cook’s folksy and bluesy sides with a hint of country twang, reminiscent of Emmylou Harris in her more sublime moments. Along with her guitar, which belts rhythm mostly but occasionally breaks out with tight, blues licks, the album features bass, piano, mandolin and percussion.

Track No. 2, “How Do I Tell You,” stands out among the traditional folksy themes that permeate most of the album. “How Do I Tell You” is explicitly about America’s modern-day war on terrorism.

It’s been two years since 9-11, and I have been waiting, mostly in vain, for the country’s songwriters’ take on the tragedy. At the time, I figured six-months hence, there would be a barrage of songs (let alone movies and television shows) on the subject. It didn’t happen.

But Cook had the courage to write about it, speaking of bombs and landmines and sending out a message of love from her “safe little haven” in Summit County.

A haunting, revolutionary war-era drumroll punctuates the song.

Cook follows that up with “You’re Not Mine” and “It’s More” – love songs in the traditional sense.

There is also the story of “Virginia and the Neighborhood Bully” – a schoolyard tale of standing up to bullies – and “Be Still” – a search for and discovery of God. “Be Still” was written in memory of Mary Johnson, who died of cancer last year.

What makes this a good listen for locals is that it clearly comes from Summit County. That is most evident on “Colorado Sky,” where Cook laments leaving people behind to come to Colorado but shows gratitude for the life she’s created here. This track, along with “Be Still,” contain the albums catchiest rhythms and melodies.

The tunes on “Practice” are all a part of Cook’s set these days. After a brief tour of the Southwest this fall, the local veteran will return to Summit County, playing for the after-ski crowd all winter.

For information on Cook, e-mail nacook@

earthlink.com or go to http://www.picklehead.com/nancy.html

Trip abroad refocuses Cook

Nancy Cook found a new audience last month in Italy and Jordan.

But she was also part of the audience during a trip that took her to Tuscany and Jordan, where she learned about love and transformation at an international conference and acted as a liaison for aid groups like Habitat for Humanity in Jordan.

“We went to help brainstorm better ways for these organizations to dovetail,” Cook said. “It was sort of a moving think-tank.”

Cook also performed for people from Australia, Europe, Jordan and Canada. And she said the changed perspective gave her a more global view of writing music.

“I’ve been setting out on the road of writing about more universal things and not just things in my little world,” she said. “And I think that just continued to expand on this trip.”

Breckenridge residents Jan and Phyllis Updike organized the trip. They have been to Jordan before on similar missions.

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