What reviewers are saying about Ace, Jack, & King...
"Blues lovers, get ready to have your socks knocked off. Blues rock guitarist Eli Cook has surpassed even the highest expectations on his latest album." --Nivedita Gunturi, Muzik Reviews
"...this is the stuff: real down and dirty music right from the guts! What you will not find on this album as a slightly bad track, just freakin' good stuff!" --Denis Brunell, Sea of Tranquility, NY
"Eli Cook knows real American blues. Driftin', Death Rattle, Better Man, and Snake Charm drip the blood of blues authenticity and soul. You can hear it in Cook's vocals, a mixture of whiskey and winter. This is the real deal."
--Craig Hartranft, Dangerdog Review
"Eli Cook has arrived with "Ace, Jack, & King"...and claimed his place amongst those who give us the reassuring certainty that the future of blues is safe."
--Ron, Rootstime, Belgium
"Sultry Bluesy masculine rock with plenty of loose coolness, Eli Cook was heavilly influenced by artists like Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Howlin' Wolf, Lightnin' Hopkins, and Mississippip John Hurt...and it shows."
With his new record Ace, Jack & King, though, Cook puts all of the cards on the table. Split almost evenly between originals and covers, the album follows him from his quietest to loudest, from the cleanest acoustic notes to the thickest distortion, and from the most upbeat songs to the most downtrodden. He takes on Skip James’ “Catfish Blues” and “Crow Jane,” giving the former an updated swagger and the latter a fuzzy electric churn. He also interprets Charles Brown’s West Coast blues standard “Driftin’ Blues,” offering a slow burning, grungy take on the much-covered tune. He delves into Western Swing with “Cocaine Blues,” which features the album’s simplest orchestration—just vocals and guitar—as well as production that makes it sound like it was lifted from an old 78 rpm record.
Cook’s most unexpected turn, though, is Nick Drake’s “Black Eyed Dog,” a beautiful but devastating song about depression, and one of the last that English singer recorded before succumbing to it. Wisely bypassing the impossible task of replicating Drake’s brittle and moving delivery, Cook injects his version with more vigorous notes, giving it its own subtlety and strength.
Backing away from such a bleak moment, Cook follows “Black Eyed Dog” with one of his straightest and steadiest originals, the distortion-heavy “Death Rattle (slight return)”, singing, “Found salvation, but we just don’t mix.” But he isn’t always so dark. “Better Man” is a foot-stomper about finding the strength to do the right thing, and “Please, Please” is a warm love ballad. His other originals run the gamut from Zeppelin riffs to country twang and even acoustic pop hooks, proving that, whatever way you shake it, Cook has not only phenomenal six-string skills, but also some versatile songwriting chops. Ace, Jack & King is a good hand, and it’s exciting to see Cook go all in.