Tangle of Souls (2020)
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Scott's seventh studio album and first hardcover book! Twelve new songs, recorded in Australia with an intercontinental stringband, and 240 pages of art, photos, road stories and ruminations, equal parts introspection and insurrection.
From Fish Griwkowsky's five-star review in The Edmonton Journal: "Opening with a fiddle-driven two-stepper, Scott Cook’s seventh 'love letter' to the world is all strings and beauty, a 12-song agnostic endorsement of love over fear. Cook’s marvellous book, song by song, leads into wonderful, captivating ideas and places, including the fact that he almost killed himself after 20 years drinking, wondering why he was so bent on self-destruction when, really, he had everything going for him a person could ask... As an experienced addict Cook recognizes how much our civilization is acting exactly like one: full of denial and desperate, bad-logic negotiation for just one more fix with a lot of yelling about minding your own business when, in fact, we’re all undeniably connected in the business of humanity. But, magically, Cook chooses healthy skepticism over accusatory cynicism — asking us to think about who most benefits if we, on these lower decks together, can’t even manage to get along. Which brings us back to the music, and the point of the song Say Can You See: the most directly activist song he says he’s ever written, yet it doesn’t condemn, it summons to one fire... Of Cook’s many records, this one most reminds me of Steve Earle’s masterpiece El Corazon, where the sad, slow songs — and there are many here — dig deepest... Cook’s albums are always thoughtful, moral without overly moralizing, and usually pretty funny at a moment or two. That happens here and there some, to be sure, but I would say of all his records this one simply feels the best, the most earthen somehow, down to the lovely instrumental Right to Roam at the end, which in the book talks about people with no permanent address — but without words feels like a natural kind of freedom, too, like a few days at North Country Fair. So while I’m throwing the book on the shelf with Marcus Aurelius and Susan Sontag, the record goes on the turntable again."