Fri, Mar 16, 2012 - Page 13 News List

Different strokes for different folk

By Alita Rickards  /  Contributing Reporter

Scott Cook (newly shorn of his long locks) bids Taiwan farewell — for now.

Photo courtesy of Catharine Brown

Traveling singer/songwriter Scott Cook completes his tour of Taiwan tomorrow with a performance at Taipei Artist’s Village. He will be joined by a host of fellow folk singers and bands, to conclude a trip that brought the concept of “house concerts,” whereby various individuals host events in their homes, to Taiwan.

“The house concerts have been the best,” he said. “The direct communication that can happen without the noise and distraction of a bar, without the microphone or lights or stage, or any of that, is the realest and most powerful thing I’ve experienced as an artist, and I feel incredibly lucky for that.”

Cook is an artist who is as much a storyteller as a musician, and like many other solo artists, he dislikes providing background music in a crowded bar and places a high value on being attentively listened to.

“It’s still hard to find listening audiences among expats here,” he said. “But it seems to be improving.”

Taichung-based bassist Catharine Brown, who plays with both Three Day Bender and Dirty Skies, hosted one of the concerts at her home, and said “it was lovely,” with more than 20 guests “listening, rapt, engaged as Scott wove his stories and songs, shared his wisdom, anecdotes, his heart.”

Brown’s dog “started howling at one point,” she said. “There were laughs, a few hoots, tears, it was really magical … all were wowed and moved.”

Throughout the tour, Cook found that “the reaction [to house concerts] has been really positive,” he said. “Audiences have been English-speaking but not all expats. A lot of people came not knowing what to expect, but I’m glad they were open to it. A different sort of thing can happen in a house show. People cry sometimes. We don’t really go to bars to be touched by music, to hear songs that make us feel deeply, but I think people really need that sort of thing. It can heal.”

Performance Notes

What: Scott Cook’s Freemosan Farewell

When: Tomorrow from 6pm to 11pm

Where: Taipei Artist Village (台北國際藝術村), 7 Beiping E Rd, Taipei City (台北市北平東路7號), tel: (02) 3393-7377

Admission: NT$250

On the Net: www.scottcook.net


Cook said the best part of the tour was “being back on this island, the sights and smells, the epic motorbike rides, the hospitality and good humor and trustworthiness of Taiwanese people.”

Halfway through the tour, he took almost all of last month off, canceled a trip to Vietnam and rented an apartment by Fulong Beach (福隆海灘) instead, where he holed up and practiced yoga, rested and wrote songs.

“I didn’t know how badly I needed that break until I took it. Trying to eke out a living with any creative work takes a lot of time and persistence on the business side of things, and that can very easily come to dominate your life. Like Julia Cameron says in The Artist’s Way, your inner artist is a child, and you need to think of it as such; nourish it, don’t scold it, and give it time and space to play.”

Tomorrow’s lineup includes Nathan Javens, Mike Mudd, Mister Green, David Chen and Conor Prunty from The Muddy Basin Ramblers and Tyler Dakin and the Long Naked Bottles. The evening will end with a performance by The Anglers.

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