Guitarist Jesse Cook will play at Strings in Steamboat this weekend

If you go: What: Jesse Cook When: 7 p.m. Friday, August 12 Where: Strings Music Pavilion
Matt Barnes/Courtesy Photo

Jesse Cook, a guitarist who enjoys making music that challenges and mixes genres, will perform at Strings Pavilion at 7 p.m. on Friday, August 12.

Cook has been playing music for as long as he can remember. He was born in France and lived in Barcelona in his youth before moving to Canada.

“Apparently I had a toy guitar and used to walk around the apartment singing,” Cook said. “I’ve been playing all my life, so it’s one of those things where music has always been part of my way of communicating.”



Cook, who is known to specialize in Spanish guitar and flamenco, released his debut album “Tempest” in 1995. He described his style as a fusion of genre and sound.

“What I do is so hybrid, I think people, especially here in North America, think of me as a flamenco guitarist,” Cook said. “That’s not entirely true or accurate. I studied flamenco as a child and as an adult I studied classical guitar and jazz guitar. And now what I play is pretty much whatever comes to mind.



He explained that people had struggled to place it in a genre, but now with the internet and online music streaming, hard labels on music have become less important.

“People these days, just if they like it, they’ll listen,” Cook added.

His latest album, “Free,” was a project he crafted throughout the pandemic.

“In fact, it was initially inspired by my teenage daughter playing her music and the stuff she likes for me,” Cook said. “I got hooked on trap beats and started playing with the studio ones.”

“Libre” has a certain syncopation and hints of electronic sound from this inspiration.

“I started trying to re-introduce more organic instruments and world musical instruments and that kind of stuff, and eventually I hopefully figured out what the middle ground was between trap beats and what I do,” he said.

During the pandemic, Cook also worked on a series called “Love in the Time of COVID”, a series of instrumental videos he streamed live on YouTube.

“I recorded a different song every week and posted it, and did the videos right at home,” Cook said. “I think I did about 30 or 40 of these videos until I was completely out of breath.”

He explained that it was a fun way to share his music and connect with people during an otherwise isolated time.

Cook added that he was looking forward to performing at Strings in Steamboat.

“People who have seen me there a few times over the years will know that you might not need to bring your opera glasses as much as your dancing shoes,” he said. declared. “We want to move people emotionally, but it’s kind of a celebration.”

“I think people have been at home for too long,” Cook added. “Being together and celebrating live music is something we all need to do right now.”

Tickets are $55 and are available at StringsMusicFestival.com/Events/Jesse-Cook2022/.

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