The MusicNerd Q&A With Jesse Cook

When it comes to world music being made within our Canadian borders, one of the arguably best-known names would be that of Jesse Cook. With more than a handful of records to his credit, Cook’s flamenco-influenced guitar playing has been making waves here at home as well as on an international level for years now.

Cook’s newest record, The Blue Guitar Sessions, sees him take a left-turn of sorts. While his superb guitar-playing remains capably in tact, Cook opted for a subtler, ambient record as opposed to the energetic music that he has been known to deliver.

Jesse Cook performs in Saint John on Wednesday November 14, Moncton on Thursday November 15 and on Friday November 16, Cook performs in Fredericton. Jesse recently took the time to chat with Here Magazine with respect to his new album and dispelling other people’s notions of what his music should be:

Was it difficult to exercise some form of restraint with The Blue Guitar Sessions?

My approach with this record was unlike anything I have done before. I tend to be the type of musician and producer that likes to build things up. “More is more” tends to be my motto. I’m like the Phil Spector of world music [laughs]. With this record, I really made an effort to make a quiet intimate record.

Did it prove to be more challenging than you anticipated?

Loud is always where I seem to end up. As the songs were being finished, we slowly but unintentionally started adding more and more parts to the music. My percussionist would add one little part for nuance and before he was done, the song would have become this great orgasmic percussive groove. We had to dial that back. Restraint isn’t my strong suit.

Was this record a long-time in the making in the sense that it was something that you had always wanted to do?

I have wanted to make a record like this for years. As much as I love energetic bands like the Gypsy Kings, I also love the quiet, intimate feel of Miles Davis and Norah Jones. I have always had a place in my life for those records but this was the first time that I made such a record. Prior to now, I had just never had the courage to make a quiet record.

Article published in the November 8, 2012 edition of Here Magazine