By CINDY CROSBY
Local Jason Lee Cook will debut his country music album, “My Kind of Country,” Friday July 18 at 7 p.m. during an online CD release party.
A press release from Southern Roots Management of Nashville, Tenn., said Cook’s album will soon be available for purchase on all major distribution outlets including, Apple Music, iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, iHeart Radio, along with over a hundred major retailers, as well as at the recommended site, www.jasonleecook.com.
The release said, “This is Jason’s debut country music album, with the first two releases “Country To The Bone” and “The Song” already rising on independent country music charts. Jason’s debut single “Country to the Bone” has been named one of the finalists for Best Traditional Country Song at the Word Songwriting Awards. Jason is a member of BMI of Nashville, where he is a singer/songwriter, ISSA, International singer-songwriters Association, and the North Carolina singer/songwriters Association.”
“The official release date is Friday July 18 at 7 p.m. Due to COVID-19, Jason will be having an online CD release party. The album is available for purchase now but is not “officially” released until July 18. Join Jason on YouTube for the release. There will be a link from his website and/or Facebook. There, you will be able to interact with Jason and he will share stories and perform the songs. Be sure to join us for this special occasion.”
Cook, a resident of Colleton County who grew up locally and decided to call it home, said music has always been part of his life. “My dad was a drummer and knew how to play guitar and mom played some organ,” said Cook. “Growing up music was always around. There was an old record my dad had which belonged to his mother. It was a live recording of this old gospel group. It was just something about that live sound that drew me in. I remember at the age of five or six, just wanting to be a part of that. At 15 years old, my dad gave me a guitar. He and some friends showed me some chords. I would practice until my fingertips would bleed. I would put tape on them and keep going. I was determined to play.”
Across the years, Cook was a member of several bands — from country to a Christian rock band. “It was in the years I spent in the Christian Rock band that I began writing originals,” said Cook. “This allowed me to express my feelings and say what I couldn’t physically say. Back then, standing in front of people and talking was not my forte, but I could get that same message out through a song.
“During that time, we recorded an album and we did very well, touring the Southeast singing anywhere people would have us,” said Cook. “It was during this time we all got married and moved away from the band. I continued to play and sing and recorded two Christian contemporary albums. I still had the desire to record country music but had not written any original songs at that time.
“In the meantime, I started another dream of mine, video production,” said Cook. “Because I could not do both and do them well, I decided to put music on the back burner. After 10 years of doing video production, I decided it was time. I had been writing, and continued to play, but I knew it was time to put it out there that I was ready.”
According to Cook, he was connected through a mutual friend to BMI of Nashville. “It was there I was able to start a songwriting relationship,” said Cook. “My next step was someone to help with the recording process which led me to Southern Roots Management, with some extra help from the South Carolina Arts Commission. We recorded the album in December and January.”
Cook does not have a crystal ball to foresee his future, but he sees himself going places he has never been. “I am a small-town boy who has put his faith in God all the way and discovered there is more to music than just three chords and some words,” said Cook. “I have come to realize music is universal in so many ways. It can make you cry or smile; it can make you jump up and down and dance; but more importantly, it can go deeper and move your soul. That is something I want to be a part of, and I cannot wait until we can get back out there in concert with people. Where this goes only the Lord knows, but I am so ready for the ride.”
Cook’s first release from the album, “Country to the Bone,” has already hit independent radio stations and through the International Singer-Songwriters Association (ISSA) along with airplay on country radio in the United Kingdom. The song is also named as a top finalist in The World Song Writer’s Awards from a large field of contenders.
Crediting his wife, Lisa, with loving support through the years, Cook said, “I would like to say a special thank you to my wife who has stood by this dreamer for 19 years. She is sometimes my biggest critic, but also my biggest supporter. My family has played a part in everything in my life — the good and bad. Growing up in this town has made me who I am, and I am proud to see it reflected in my songs — the backroads, the rivers, the fields of corn … the small town.”