Country Music People May 2019 - Page 57

The POINT of no RETURN KELLY GREGORY CATCHES UP WITH AMANDA COOK, THE BLUEGRASSER WITH THE FIVE ALBUM DEAL. G rowing up with a banjo-playing father, bluegrass music filled Amanda Cook’s childhood home in Gulf Coast Florida. Now one of the brightest new stars of the bluegrass world has signed a seven year, five album deal with leading bluegrass label Mountain Fever and is about to break out nationally with her new album Point Of No Return, following the regional success of her self-released debut One Stop Along The Road and her Mountain Fever debut Deep Water. Cook formed bluegrass group High Cotton with her dad in 2007, and recalls, “I was in about my mid-twenties and I toured with my dad for about ten years. He plays the banjo and he’s very well known in our area and I grew up with the music and constantly being surrounded by it.” Since then Amanda Cook has been building a solid fan- base of her own since stepping into the spotlight in 2013 with a determination to create her own sound. Along with that has come the need for relocation to the bluegrass heartland of the Virginia Mountains. “There’s not a lot of bluegrass in Florida and we have to do a lot of travelling and it’s a minimum of eight hours for me to really go anywhere in the bluegrass area to play. In the mountain region is where most of the festivals are. They’re across the United States but the majority of our stuff is in Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, so it will make it easier living up here rather than down there. “I’m actually working in the studio producing for other artists and things so it’s easier for me to be closer to the studio as well as my touring schedule.” Whilst determined to make her mark with her own sound, Cook is well aware of the traditions of the genre, as well as how hard it is to actually be different within its constraints. “I’ve had some mixed reviews on some of my songs and they’ve said, ‘well, this isn’t bluegrass’ and there’s been a little controversy, but I think for the most part I think that people in bluegrass just appreciate good music. I really do. I feel like I’ve been completely supported in what I’ve come out with and what I’ve recorded and you’re not going to please every single person, everybody’s going to have a difference of opinion, but I think overall people are just supportive if the music is good. “In bluegrass there are so many traditionalists, purists as we call them. They cling to the traditional sound. But I think, even with that, the way that I do the record, the way that I aid in the production is adding in both sides of the coin — having more traditional tunes, more contemporary tunes and kind of putting that all in a mixture. I come from a very traditional background, MAY 2019 - cmp 57