Eli Cook (musician)

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Eli Cook
Eli Cook The Jefferson Theater Charlottesville VA July 2022.jpg
Performing at the Jefferson Theater (Virginia) on July 16, 2022.
Background information
Birth nameEli Hudnall Cook
Born (1986-04-24) April 24, 1986 (age 37)
Lynchburg, Virginia, United States
  • guitar
  • vocals
Years active2000s–present

Eli Hudnall Cook (born April 24, 1986) is an American singer, songwriter, guitarist and record producer. He is known for an eclectic style, with a focus on blues and blues rock. His deep, rich baritone voice and guitar playing have drawn widespread acclaim.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Early years[edit]

Cook was raised in the backwoods of Faber, Virginia, near the Blue Ridge Mountains.[2] Inspired by a lack of television and his parents' diverse record collection, he picked up the guitar at age 13, imitating the styles of Mississippi John Hurt and Fred McDowell.[3]

Two years later, he began performing acoustic blues at Rapunzel's Coffee House in Lovingston.[4] As a student at Monticello High School, his first power trio, 'The Red House Blues Band' (an apparent nod to Jimi Hendrix's Are You Experienced? track), was formed with rotating membership.[5] By age 18, Cook was playing church revivals solo, and touring the bar scene with his band throughout central Virginia.[6] Because of this, he built a reputation as a prodigy of both electric and acoustic performance, and was often featured in local publications.[7]

Recent years[edit]

Cook plays gigs mostly around Virginia, and resides in Charlottesville.[8][9]

Playing B.B. King signed guitar in 2007

Noteworthy Appearances[edit]

Cook’s first break happened in 2007 when he was asked to open for B.B. King at multiple shows.[3] Since then, he has shared the stage with Johnny Winter, Robert Cray, Robin Trower, Parliament-Funkadelic, Shemekia Copeland, Gary Clark, Jr., and Roomful of Blues.[2][3] He has performed on the Millennium Stage at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts[2] and at the South by Southwest Festival in 2014.[1] Cook has also opened for John Mayall at The Hamilton in Washington, D.C.[10]

Performing with his band at the Primitive Son release party on April 30, 2014


Three of Cook's first four albums, Moonshine Mojo, Electricholyfirewater, and Static in the Blood, were independent releases that each displayed unique moods: guitar focused country rock, blues metal, and experimental R&B, respectively.

Valley Entertainment internationally reissued his 2005 recording, Miss Blues' Child, in 2007.[11] It included Cook's versions of Jimmy Reed's "Baby What You Want Me to Do" and Bukka White's "Fixin' To Die."[12]

2011 saw the release of Ace, Jack & King, which showcased a mix of the various genres for which he is known.

In 2013, Cook signed a recording contract with Cleopatra Records.[11] The ensuing album, Primitive Son (2014), contained guest appearances by Vinny Appice and Artimus Pyle (drums); Tinsley Ellis, Eric Gales, Leslie West, Pat Travers and Harvey Mandel (guitar); Sonny Landreth (slide guitar); Rod Piazza (harmonica); and Reese Wynans (Hammond B3 organ). The album was co-produced by Greg Hampton.[13]

In August 2017, he released High-Dollar Gospel on the C.R. 8 Records label to a positive reception.[14]


Cook performs solo on a resophonic guitar by National and a 12-string acoustic guitar made by Rockbridge Guitars in Charlottesville, Virginia. Both instruments are electrified supplementally. With the band, he plays a customized Fender Stratocaster and Telecaster.[15]


Cook's main strat: a fully customized 1950s reissue

Blues Matters! magazine featured Cook on the cover of its October/November (No. 86) issue. He was listed in its 2015 Writer’s Poll as the third most "Favorite International Blues Solo Artist."[16]

Most of his albums have been reviewed favorably in the press, including positive reviews in Vintage Guitar magazine.[17]

Leslie West said of recording with him, “I have heard quite a few guitar players that are young and just starting out. When I was asked to play a track with Eli Cook I wanted to see if there was something there. Believe me when I tell you THERE IS SOMETHING THERE! I hope you enjoy listening to it as much as I did playing on it. Eli is on his way!”[18]

Tinsley Ellis called him a “triple threat, obviously a great guitarist but also an emotive singer and an innovative songwriter. He’s in the vanguard of young, 21st-century blues rockers!”[1]

AllMusic stated in their review of Miss Blues' Child, "he has what it takes to be the best blues singer of his generation."[19]


Studio albums[edit]


  • All Night Thing (2020)


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Eli Cook – Primitive Son | Album Review". Blues Blast Magazine. 2014-04-27. Retrieved 2016-01-04.
  2. ^ a b c "Eli Cook". ReverbNation.com. Retrieved 2016-01-04.
  3. ^ a b c Emma Schkloven. "Primitive son: Blues musician Eli Cook keeps the genre alive – The Burg: Cover Story". Newsadvance.com. Retrieved 2016-01-04.
  4. ^ "Eli Cook | Moonshine Mojo | CD Baby Music Store". Cdbaby.com. Retrieved 2016-01-04.
  5. ^ Matthew Hirst (10 December 2003). "ELI COOK". The C'ville. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  6. ^ "Blues Musician Eli Cook- Up Close And Personal Concert". Bowercenter.org. 2 December 2017. Retrieved 10 November 2020.
  7. ^ Vijith Assar (29 June 2006). "FACETIME- Eli's cooking: Teen blues sensation turns 20". The Hook. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  8. ^ Jerry Miller (24 June 2014). "6 Awesome Cville Shows In July". ilovecville.com. Retrieved 1 December 2021.
  9. ^ Joseph McSpadden (22 November 2016). "Blues Man Rising: Talented Charlottesville Guitarist Eli Cook Is Turning Heads". styleweekly.com. Retrieved 1 December 2021.
  10. ^ McSpadden III, J. M. (2014-11-25). "Eli's Cook is here and He's Making a Big Noise". No Depression. Retrieved 2016-11-20.
  11. ^ a b "Bio". Elicook.com. Archived from the original on 2016-02-08. Retrieved 2016-01-04.
  12. ^ "Eli Cook". Puremusic.com. Retrieved 2016-01-04.
  13. ^ "Primitive Son – Eli Cook | Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-01-04.
  14. ^ Barry Kerzner (21 July 2017). "Eli Cook Delivers on 'High Dollar Gospel'". American Blues Scene. Retrieved 10 November 2020.
  15. ^ Willie G. Moseley (April 2018). "Eli Cook". Vintage Guitar. Retrieved 2020-10-31.
  16. ^ "Eli Cook lands on Blues Matters' list of top international blues solo artists". The Daily Progress. 2015-11-09. Retrieved 2016-01-04.
  17. ^ "Eli Cook |". Vintageguitar.com. 2013-07-17. Retrieved 2016-01-04.
  18. ^ "ELI COOK To Release New CD Featuring Appearances By LESLIE WEST, VINNY APPICE, PAT TRAVERS, More". Bravewords.com. 15 April 2014. Retrieved 10 November 2020.
  19. ^ Chris Nickson (2005). "Miss Blues' Child". AllMusic. Retrieved 10 November 2020.

External links[edit]