Monday, September 11, 2017

10 Questions with Lucas Cook

“Pouring my heart into every note I sing and chord I strum” - Lucas Cook

By Sean Claes
Singer-songwriter Lucas Cook has been chugging along as part of the Austin music scene for a few years. He’s got 3 releases under his belt in the last decade and has another, appropriately titled Long Road, gearing up for release.

I had to describe Lucas Cook’s music in a sentence, I’d say say it’s six-string toe-tapping storytelling music that invites the listener on a journey into his world. And his world holds joy with a douse of pain and is speckled with humor and wonderful stories.

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, he has put together a relief show at Moontower Saloon September 16 and 17 to benefit the Austin Disaster Relief Network (in funding) and the Central Texas Food Bank (canned foods).

Sean Claes: Musically, you’re kind of difficult to place in a genre. You’ve got your serious side like “South Austin Blues,” the you go tongue-in-cheek with “Chicken Fried Steak” and your goofy/fun with “COMEONIWANNALAYA.”  How would you describe the Lucas Cook sound?
Lucas Cook: I’d call it Americana, with a blend of Country, Rock and Blues. Growing up my parents introduced me to Otis Redding, Led Zepplin, Blind Faith, Eric Clapton and so many others. In my formative years, John Mellencamp was a huge influence, I think you can hear that today in my music.

Claes: As much as I enjoy your albums, I am always drawn in to your live performances. You seem to be at home on the stage and make everyone in the audience feel like they’re hanging out with a friend. How do you craft your performances?
Cook: To be honest, the crowd crafts my performance and really, when i’m in that zone, it just happens. Things I say, my actions on stage, that some from a place that I can only tap into when I have an audience.

The more tuned in the audience the better the show, I think. I really feed from the energy, if I have a crowd that’s into and listening and responding, there’s no telling what will happen up there.

Claes: You’ve released 4 albums Lone Star State of Mind (2008), Toe Tapper (2010), Live At Weirdos (2014) and Hi-Def Low-Fi (2015). How close is the release of your next album, Long Road?
Cook: Long Road is really close, there’s a few things holding it back.

  1. Money, I need to make sure it’s done right and there’s a few things I need to put together before I can release it. 
  2. Timing. We started this album in September of last year, i’d like to get it out this year but as we get closer to the holidays (EEECK) it’s kind of better to just wait until 2018. 

I have some new material and song ideas and not long after Long Road, I’ll be slowly popping off new singles so that the new music is out more frequently.

Claes: It’s been 10 years since you released Austin State of Mind. Looking back, how do you think you’ve grown as an artist between then and now?
Cook: I can’t even begin to tell you all the ways i’ve grown but some huge areas are in the business side of things, which shows I play and which shows I don’t. How I market myself and my voice, my voice has changed a lot, a little deeper, i’ve been through a lot of heavy life stuff in 10 years and I think you’ll hear that on Long Road.

Claes: You were the house band for the Austin-based Bling Johnson Show which ran from about 2010-2015. How was that experience?
Cook: That was pretty amazing, I think we all were crossing our fingers that this would be it, for all of us. That the show would take off and it would catapult my music. Life tends to take it’s own course but I can tell you that I made a lot of fans and had some great experiences.

Being on TV just feels cool, you feel a little special because not everybody gets to do that. I’m very grateful for the time I spent on that show and the experiences we had.

Claes: In 2016 you took part in Shiner Rising Star competition put on by a Dallas Radio station. You went pretty far making it to the Semi-finals.
Cook: I had seen the contest pop up on social media in the years past and was like: Oh that’s cool, but it’s probably a waste of time, these contests their just never really worth your time. For some reason, I decided to submit and was accepted.

I think they were looking for more traditional country sounds. I still think I’m more country than a lot of music coming out of Nashville right now, but certainly I can’t hold  a candle to the Jason Isbells and Chris Stapletons of today’s country music scene.

Claes: You’ve organized a Hurricane Harvey Relief concert at Moontower Saloon this weekend.
Cook: We actually have two full days of music. We’re asking  folks to bring cash for the Austin Disaster Relief network and canned food for the Central Texas Food Bank. Check out the event page on Facebook - Event.

Claes: One of the things I’ve always admired about you is your passion and drive. As an independent musician you are in charge of booking/writing/social media and everything else that goes with it.  What keeps you going?
Cook: The shows really - it’s not the money or the fame - those are pretty scarce. It’s connecting with people, it’s people connecting with my music and then telling me about it. That’s what we all want, I think. It has to be about the music and that’s what it's about for me. Getting the demons out and pouring my heart into every note I sing and chord I strum.

Claes: If you were to give a starting musician some pointers, what is the best decision you’ve made and worst decision you’ve made in your musical career?
Cook: The worst decision I ever made was playing shows just to play them or for the money. I’ve learned that what’s important to me is building fans of my music and my brand. If I could go back, I’d probably limit the amount of shows, then again, that’s where I cut my teeth and learned a lot about playing shows, managing a band and marketing myself.

One of the best things I’ve ever done for my career was not giving up. I came to realize that for a lot of people out there, I’ve already made it and now it’s just about raising the bar. What can I do to write better music, play bigger shows and reach more fans.

Claes:  What’s next for Lucas Cook?
Cook: I want to get the new album out and start working on new material I have a couple songs to record already and several ideas. I’m really at a point now where if I don’t think a show will further my career or connections, i’m not going to play it. That’s what’s next, raising the bar, and getting everything to the next level.

I don’t want to be overly confident, but i’ve paid some dues, i’ve stood the test of time and I think I owe to myself and my fans to get up there on a more regional and even national level.


Lucas will be hosting and playing Saturday at Moontower Saloon for the Harvey Flood Benefit show and Sunday at Ernie’s on the Lake as a part of the KLBJ Summer Concert Series. Grab some cans of nonperishable food items and head out there for free music, great food and wonderful folks all out there to help serve the needs of folks who could use a little help right now.

And, of course, follow Lucas on his website and Facebook and be on the lookout for the release of Long Road.

Sean Claes is the owner of Austin's INsite Magazine and has been a freelance entertainment writer since 1996. This is week 35 in his "52 Weeks of Austin Musician Interview" series. See the others here: 52 Week Project