Saturday, 29 October 2016

JOANNA COOKE – EP REVIEW

Joanna Cooke – Wound Up EP 
Joanna Cooke - Wound Up EP


Release Date: Out Now

It’s not many artists that move to the Westcountry to launch a musical career but Joanna Cooke is no ordinary musician. Having relocated from Poole to Plymouth, Cooke is now gigging hard up and down from Dorset to Cornwall and is steadily cementing a reputation as a supreme talent. This new EP, Cooke’s 2nd, sees her sound develop in to something more mature, more edgy and is a great shop window for her talents. The EP opens with ‘More Than I Am’ which instantly grabs your attention with some crisp piano chords and Cooke’s assured, soulful vocal. This is a song that is drenched in a sense of defiance and lifting yourself up from the darkest moments of your life so when the chorus drops with a surging beat and scattered synth notes augmenting the piano you know you’re listening to a serious contender. This is big pop, Alicia Keys sized pop.

‘Darker Days’ is up next and features the guest vocals of local legend Vince Lee as Cooke turns her hand to some Blues spliced with a little Soul for good measure. The vocals and hand claps introduction could be vintage New Orleans stomp or it could be Stevie Wonder dueting with Macy Gray/Kelis/Joss Stone. The organs swirl and the guitar is infected with funk as those hand claps persist and Lee’s deep, growly voice cajoles from the shadows, allowing our heroine to light up the sound stage. Some credit must go to Cooke’s writing and performing partner, Nathan Austin, and next track ‘Holding You’ is testament to their excellent artistry and versatility. ‘Holding You’ is a chilled dance number with a pleasingly squelchy bass track, a nice groove and that voice doing its silky, smooth, slightly husky thing all over the track.

Joanna Cooke - forgotten her keys again
Closing up this 4 track collection is ‘Before You’re Old’ and it wastes no time getting going as the vocal drops almost immediately. Once again, the Soul is strong with this tune but there is a sense of Gospel here and the keyboard sound is utterly authentic and luxurious. It’s really easy to dismiss ‘pop’ music sometimes and be disparaging but this EP transcends the genre for me and I think it’s time Joanna Cooke was taken seriously as a contender in the world of Soul, Blues and Pop (with a big P). Sure, she may have to venture a little further out of the Westcountry to get her voice heard but it would be a travesty if a vocal and, crucially, songwriting talent like this was overlooked because the masses were too busy texting in to vote on the X-Factor.



Live Dates:

3rd November – Royal Castle Hotel, Dartmouth
4th November – Rick Stein’s, Newquay
5th November – Rod & Line, Tideford
10th November – Blues Bar, Plymouth
11th November – Rashleigh Arms, Charlestown
12th November – Radio Tour: The Source FM/Soundart FM/Riviera FM
13th November – Gylly Beach Café, Falmouth
18th November – Merchant, Exmouth
19th November – Royal Oak, Marlborough
20th November – Wax, Newquay
25th November – Brook Inn, Plympton
26th November – The Terrace, Exeter
27th November – St Austell Bay Radio

10th Februrary 2017 – The Inn On The Shore, Downderry

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