North Country Fair like coming home for Scott Cook

Scott Cook

Joe McWilliams
For Spotlight
Spotlight reached Scott Cook by email in Kerrville Texas. He was performing at a festival down there.

The next couple of emails came from Tulsa Oklahoma, where he was “hanging out,” before his next gig.

First question: Are you living in your van?

Answer: Nope. “Waaay too hot for the van.”

Answer to your question: i.e. Why did I ask if he’s living in his van? Because when he played in Slave Lake last winter, he made several references to living in vans. He said he has one in Australia and another one here, so he’s now a dual-residence kind of a guy.

But to the matter at hand, Cook and The Last Chances, which is what he calls one of the groups he plays with (the other is The Long Weekends) are performing at the North Country Fair, June 23 – 25. The Last Chances consist of him, Bramwell Smith and Melissa Walker.

Cook has been at the NCF a lot. He likes it a lot.

“For the lack of a better word, North Country Fair’s my spiritual home. I first went up there in 1995 or so, following my girlfriend at the time. It took me a year or two to ‘get it’ (I’m a slow learner), but when it all clicked for me, along a series of poignant, somewhat stumbly conversations with stranger along the lakeshore at the old Joussard site, I caught the first glimpse I’d ever had of a larger family, bigger than scenes, spanning generations, creeds, and countries. That family has fed my heart and mind and belly, all around the world, through the decades since.”

There you go. There’s more to the Fair than the music. Here’s more from Scott:

“This will be my 13th year playing the Fair in one capacity or another, and I feel incredibly grateful to be a part of that family. I’d be doing it as a volunteer behind the scenes if it wasn’t on the stage. It’s just an honour to be part of something that can introduce young folks, like it did for me, to the idea of a broader community. A place where no matter where you’re from or what you look like, somebody pulls up a stump and says, “Welcome home.”

Any particular memories?

“I remember closing Firefly Ranch one year with my band the Long Weekends and a whole bunch of guests, including Picture The Ocean, Corin Raymond (my favourite Canadian songwriter, who’ll be back this year!), and Allen Christie, who said he woke up to find himself on stage playing banjo with us. We played til the sun was shining on the whole motley, absurd scene. Where else can you do that?”

Maybe nowhere. And it’s happening just down the road in the Driftpile Valley.

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