Eli Cook (musician)

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Eli Cook
Performing in Bethlehem, New Hampshire, November 19, 2016
Performing in Bethlehem, New Hampshire,
November 19, 2016
Background information
Birth nameEli Hudnall Cook
Born (1986-04-24) April 24, 1986 (age 34)
Nelson County, Virginia, United States
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter, guitarist, record producer
InstrumentsGuitar, vocals
Years active2000s–present
LabelsC.R. 8 Records

Eli Cook (born April 24, 1986) is an American blues singer, songwriter, guitarist and record producer. Cook has released six albums before his 30th birthday.

AllMusic noted that Cook "has what it takes to be the best blues singer of his generation."[2] Blues Matters! stated that Cook is "among the top 3 solo blues artists world-wide."[3] His main influences came from the work of John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, Soundgarden, and Rage Against the Machine.[4]

Early life[edit]

Eli Cook was born in Nelson County, Virginia, United States.[5] He learned to play the guitar by the age of 13,[6] while growing up in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.[7] His professional career commenced by performing acoustic blues at Rapunzel's Coffee House in Lovingston, Virginia, just two years later.[8]

Cook was playing community centers and churches by the age of 16. As he recalls:

I was too young to play in bars. But playing around the area opened doors for me and I got invited to play some tent revivals. Here was this skinny long-haired white kid playing old spirituals in front of a mostly black congregation. Later, when I was older, I got to play in a trio in bars, and get paid for it. I guess you get paid in the afterlife for singing gospel.[9]


Playing variously acoustic and electric live sets, Cook self-released his debut album, Moonshine Mojo, in 2004.[7] He opened for B.B. King when he was aged 18.[6]


Cook has shared stage with Johnny Winter, Robert Cray, Robin Trower, Parliament-Funkadelic, Shemekia Copeland, Gary Clark, Jr., and Roomful of Blues.[5][6] Cook also performed on the Millennium Stage at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.[5] He performed at the South by Southwest Festival in 2014.[1] Cook has opened for John Mayall at The Hamilton in Washington, D.C.[10]

National tours have bolstered his live appearance profile.[5] He plays regular gigs at the B.B. King Blues Club & Grill in New York City.[11]


His 2007 release, Electricholyfirewater, was a heavier blues rock affair. Valley Entertainment issued Miss Blues'es Child in 2007,[7] which included Cook's versions of Jimmy Reed's "Baby What You Want Me to Do" and Bukka White's "Fixin' To Die."[12] Static in the Blood followed in 2009.[7]

In 2013, Cook signed a recording contract with Cleopatra Records.[7] Cook's, 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 Cook.[13]

In August 2017, Eli released High-Dollar Gospel on his own C.R. 8 Records to rave reviews from American Blues Scene to No Depression and Vintage Guitar. The album was a blend of his love of country pickers to blues rockers and old covers from Muddy Waters and Roosevelt Sykes that have been in his live shows for years. His cover of Bob Dylan's "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight" is a stand out as well.


Blues Matters! magazine featured Cook on the cover of its October/November (No. 86) issue.[3] He was listed in third place in Blues Matters! 2015 Writer’s Poll, as the Favorite International Blues Solo Artist.[14] Ace, Jack & King (2011) was reviewed in Vintage Guitar magazine.[15]

Everybody knows the story of the crossroads, where blues guitarists go at midnight to trade their souls to the devil for musical prowess. It’s just a myth, of course, but if it were true, 21-year-old firebrand Eli Cook could have bragging rights, as his scarifying solo-country blues chill like a hellhound on your trail.

— David Rubin, Guitar Player

On the seventh album of his career the phenom from Nelson County, Virginia reins in his inner guitar god and makes his most focused roots blues album yet. High-Dollar Gospel finds Cook showcasing his acoustic mojo and the result is the most satisfying record of his career.[9]

— Joe McSpadden, No Depression

Musical style[edit]

“What Eli is doing is giving an authenticity to the blues, but giving it the energy a modern rock band would give it. That’s the key to it.”[6]

— Arnie Goodman, Elmore Magazine

“Everything I do is always deeply rooted in classic blues — meaning the feeling of it and the music theory aspect of it. It’s especially rooted in what they call pre-war blues, the more acoustic, rootsy stuff.”[6]

— Eli Cook


Eli Cook performs on a resophonic guitar by National and a 12-string acoustic guitar made by Rockbridge Guitars in Charlottesville, Virginia. Both instruments are electrified supplementally. He adds percussion with his right foot on a hand cymbal/tambourine positioned on a metal case. His left foot beats out a bass drum rhythm on an "improvised stomp box"—an empty guitar case "with a mic inside it." He sings in a "rich baritone"[10] in the Southern tradition.

His voice is booming, and he picks a 12-string as easily and fluidly as he does the resonator.

— J. M. McSpadden, III, No Depression

Honors, awards, distinctions[edit]

  • He opened for B.B. King at the Paramount Theater in Charlottesville, Virginia in February 2008, a couple of months before his 21st birthday.[11]
  • He was named the third favorite international blues solo artist in a 2015 Blues Matters! magazine’s writers poll.[11]



Year Title Record label
2004 Moonshine Mojo Self-released
2007 Electricholyfirewater Cookin' Records
2007 Miss Blues'es Child Valley Entertainment
2009 Static in the Blood White Noise Music
2011 Ace, Jack & King CD Baby
2014 Primitive Son Cleopatra Records
2017 High-Dollar Gospel C.R. 8 Records


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Eli Cook – Primitive Son | Album Review". Blues Blast Magazine. 2014-04-27. Retrieved 2016-01-04.
  2. ^ "Miss Blues' Child - Eli Cook | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-01-04.
  3. ^ a b "Eli Cook Official Site". Elicook.com. Retrieved 2016-01-04.
  4. ^ Kim Hudson (2015-07-10). "Band in a Box: Eli Cook". FOX2now.com. Retrieved 2016-01-04.
  5. ^ a b c d "Eli Cook". ReverbNation.com. Retrieved 2016-01-04.
  6. ^ a b c d e Emma Schkloven. "Primitive son: Blues musician Eli Cook keeps the genre alive - The Burg: Cover Story". Newsadvance.com. Retrieved 2016-01-04.
  7. ^ a b c d e "Bio". Elicook.com. Archived from the original on 2016-02-08. Retrieved 2016-01-04.
  8. ^ "Eli Cook | Moonshine Mojo | CD Baby Music Store". Cdbaby.com. Retrieved 2016-01-04.
  9. ^ a b McSpadden, Joe (2017-08-14). "Eli Cook's High-Dollar Gospel testifies to the power of the blues". No Depression. Retrieved 2018-03-12.
  10. ^ a b 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 c "Eli Cook plays with tradition on High-Dollar Gospel - C-VILLE Weekly". C-VILLE Weekly. 2017-09-20. Retrieved 2017-10-10.
  12. ^ "Eli Cook". Puremusic.com. Retrieved 2016-01-04.
  13. ^ "Primitive Son - Eli Cook | Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-01-04.
  14. ^ "Eli Cook lands on Blues Matters' list of top international blues solo artists". The Daily Progress. 2015-11-09. Retrieved 2016-01-04.
  15. ^ "Eli Cook |". Vintageguitar.com. 2013-07-17. Retrieved 2016-01-04.
  16. ^ "Eli Cook | Album Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-01-04.

External links[edit]