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Singer, songwriter Dean Cook shares his musical journey

Posted: October 4, 2012 8:52 a.m.
Updated: October 4, 2012 9:00 a.m.

Jim McGuinn of The Byrds and Dean Cook in 1966 at the Sam Houston Coliseum.

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Elgin resident Dean Cook’s career in music has led him on a path to write for and perform with various music  icons.

For Cook, it was a Beatles concert in his hometown of Houston, Texas, 47 years ago that sparked his love of music. “In August of ’65 I saw the Beatles and I said to myself, ‘I want this, I want to do this, this is cool.’ I was 15 years old,” said Cook.

Cook made up his mind that he wanted to be a musician. However there was one problem -- he didn’t know how to play an instrument.

“Within just a few months I joined a band in Houston and the funny part was I couldn’t play an instrument, but they needed a bass man. So I called them and said, ‘I’m your guy.’ My parents bought me a bass guitar and I started learning to play bass and in the course of learning that, I learned to play the guitar also,” said Cook.

Cook found his next passion, song writing, not too long after the band he was a member of made the decision to record original music.

“Out of necessity someone had to step up and write some songs. No one else seemed to want to do that so that’s how I got into song writing. In my early songs, you can hear a lot of the Beatles in them ... typical ‘60s music.”

The band Cook was a member of, The Surf Knights, grew in popularity.

“The Surf Knights became one of the top 10 bands in Texas. We toured all over the place playing in different places -- Dallas, Houston, San Antonio -- We ended up as an opening act for The Byrds ... Neil Diamond.”

The group Cook was in eventually got a record deal and toured with The Who as the group’s opening act during its first American tour.

The band broke up after the members left high school for college. Cook attended the University of Texas in Austin where he continued to play music. While at the University of Texas, Cook met Willie Nelson. Cook’s skills with the bass impressed Nelson and he was asked to play with him.

“Willie invited me to play bass for him so I played bass for Willie Nelson for six or eight months ... At that time he wasn’t ‘Willie Nelson’ he was just Willie Nelson the local guy. Nonetheless, he had gained some notoriety and had written some local songsthat had been recorded,” said Cook.

Cook formed his own band in Texas, The Dean Cook Band, and toured and performed with various artists.

After Cook married, he moved to South Carolina retiring from music to raise his family.

Now that his five children are grown, Cook is finding the time to return to his passion for music performing at local venues and writing songs.

“Songs come from inside ... good ones do, and they have to do with emotional things that go on inside of you,” said Cook about the song writing process.

This Saturday, Cook will be playing at the Palmetto Coffee Shop and Tea Room in Camden.

In the upcoming year, Cook will be traveling to Nashville to produce a CD and hopes to have his friend and fellow musician, Lyle Lovett help him produce the CD.


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