By Lisa Morgan
I first heard about Jackson Cook when he and his rock band, The Regulators won the “Desert Rising Star” award produced by Marker Broadcasting, in conjunction with Golden Voice Promotions and Average Joe Entertainment. I personally didn’t hear any more about him until his name came up again this month following his performance at Stadium Club in Ranch Mirage. Cook performed as a solo artist for the benefit supporting victims of Hurricane Sandy. Word flooded in about this “kid” who amazed and entertained the audience as a stand out amongst a venue full of some of the best talent I know in this valley and elsewhere. “He was amazing!” said my friend Nada Ball. “It was a surprise to hear this rich deep voice coming out of such a young guy and be an incredible guitarist too!” With raves like this, I had to take a closer look at this artist myself.
Much can be learned about this young artist on his website, www.jacksoncook.com : Patrick James Cook was born March 15, 1994 in Edmonton, Alberta Canada. He began playing guitar and singing at the age of 12 and credits Tom Petty, Neil Young, The Eagles, Led Zepplin, and The Rolling Stones for influencing his music style. After performing at a school talent competition the appreciation from the audience inspired him to start writing his own songs. After completing a compilation of 10 songs his talent was recognized and he recorded his self-titled album. His debut song, “First Kiss” was nominated for “Best Young Songwriter” in the Toronto Independent Music Awards and was a finalist in the “Teen Category” for the International Songwriter’s Competition. The following year Jackson’s song “Street Soldier” was also picked as a finalist in the International Songwriter’s Competition. That summer he was commissioned to write the anthem, “Follow Your Dreams” for the BC Summer Games in Canada.
Jackson and his family, new residents of the Coachella Valley, spent some time in Los Angeles working with some of the music industry’s top producers and musicians. Here, Jackson was able to develop his vocal and guitar-playing skills. Attending the ASCAP Expo in Hollywood and performing with his band on the LA Strip, introduced Cook to the business of music. He was picked by Music Connection as one of the “Top 25 Music Reviews” in their 32nd Anniversary issue. Music Connection again recognized his talent by picking him as one of the “Top 100 Hot Unsigned Artists and Bands in the US”. Jackson now has new songs that he not only wrote and recorded but also co-produced.
“I have idols I aspire from and try to learn from but as far as formal lessons, I’m self-taught. I play guitar and harmonica. I’m even trying to teach myself piano and beat at the drums.” Already having been extremely productive while being homeschooled, Cook looks forward to being able to focus more intently on his craft after graduating soon, with honors. “I was fortunate to know at a very young age that this is what I want to do, and I hope to grow to be among the best of them. Music isn’t a choice; it’s a way of life. Not only that, it is my life.”
“All of my songs come from personal experiences or things I’ve seen” he shared. “Street Soldier is about a street in Vancouver, Canada named East Hastings Street and it’s the equivalent to Skid Row in Los Angeles. The first time I saw it I was absolutely shocked not just at seeing people living that lifestyle, but people my age living that way. It was like a whole other world. When I finished my tour in Canada, I made some extra shirts and bandanas and gave them away to the homeless there. It was the coolest thing to see these people wearing Jackson Cook and The Regulators clothes. It was a really cool experience. ‘Pusher Boy’ is about a friend of mine that went down the wrong path with drugs. My favorite song right now, because I really love some good rock and roll, is Dead Man Walking. I’m pretty proud of that one vocally as well as the guitar solo I laid down for that.”
Having given his songs a listen to, I thought to myself, “Pretty good for a 35 year old seasoned musician… Outstanding for an 18 year old who’s natural talent is only going to keep growing.” You’re So Pretty was an instant standout to me as he, in my interpretation, sang to an adolescent girl who lacked traditional beauty, and encouraged her to be her beautiful unique self; a message that cannot be delivered enough to the young girls of this generation. He did this artfully, genuinely and without gimmick. He, with extremely good musicianship and written prowess (not to mention above par natural good looks and a endearing charm) delivers positive messages to a target market that could propel this young prodigy into full blown stardom more likely sooner than later. Jackson Cook is beyond his years on many levels while still owning his youth and the messages that his peers need and want to hear. He is an artist whose music is worth hearing and whose career should be a lot of fun to watch.
When I asked him if there was anything else he wanted people to know about him, he responded, “I’m pretty new here to the Coachella Valley area. I’ve been here for a year and a half now, but it really is a lot of fun to be here because it’s different than a lot of places. I find they support their local talent and their art a lot more than other cities. I have to give a shout out to Coachella Valley for all the support and help I’ve received here.”
As a result of his performance at Stadium Club, Jackson Cook will be performing at Lulu’s in Palm Springs Wednesday, November 28 as a solo artist. Jackson Cook and The Regulators, his full rock band, will be performing at the Charleston in Los Angeles, December 2nd. Keep an eye out for future dates and opportunities to see this talented musician for yourself by following him on Facebook or visit his website jacksoncook.com.