World music guitarist Jesse Cook knows he’s one of the lucky ones. Over the course of his 10 dynamic studio albums – the most recent one being Beyond Borders, which was released earlier this year – Cook has, for the most part, been left to his own devices, free to pursue every artistic whim.
And you could say it’s worked out rather well for him. While he has remained ensconced in the realm of world music, incorporating global sounds of exotic destinations like Colombia, Spain, and other destinations, Cook is an artist that has garnered acclaim both here in his native Canada as well as on an international level. In addition to an ever-growing fan base in virtually every corner of the world, Cook has sold more than one million records worldwide.
One of the most notable aspects of Cook’s career, however, has been the way that his sound has evolved over the course of his discography. Although world music has remained at the heart of everything he does, Cook has not been afraid to spread his wings and incorporate various other elements as he sees fit.
“Many of the artists that I’ve really admired are those that just do what they want, follow their muse, and chase the sound they hear in their heads,” Cook says, speaking in advance of his performance at Moncton’s Capitol Theatre on Saturday night.
“Early in my career, I worked with a record company that would have been totally content if I just kept making the same record over and over. They believed it would be good for my career, but if you’re making music or art as a mean based on what is going to be good for your career, as opposed to following your heart, are you really an artist? As a creator, you can’t second guess what you think might make others happy. I’ve been fortunate that the public has connected with my music, which reinforces my thinking that as long as you’re honest with yourself first and foremost, audiences will pick up on that and subsequently give you a career.”
Despite his ongoing success with each new record, Cook jokes that the period leading up to the making of any given album tends to be when hints of doubt around the viability of his next release start creeping in.
“Every record – without fail – I will go through a period where I just think, ‘this is it. I’ve had a good run, but people aren’t going to care about me anymore. My time is up.’ The very notion that my career has endured as long as it has still astounds me. The stardom aspects of being a musician don’t appeal to me, but the very fact I get to be an artist is amazing. So many people don’t even make it past one or two albums.”
What: Jesse Cook
When: Saturday Nov. 25, 8 p.m.
Where: Capitol Theatre, 811 Main St., Moncton
As of press time, limited tickets remain. Tickets are $49, available at the Capitol Theatre Box Office, by phone (506) 856-4379 and online at www.capitol.nb.ca