Tis the Season and there is something new on Jeff Cook’s list he wants listeners and fan’s to add to their wish list. Cook, a two-time GRAMMY winner and multi-platinum selling founding member of Country Music powerhouse Alabama, is pulling out all the stops with the upcoming release of his first ever solo Christmas album, Christmas Joy.
The ten track album will feature several tried-and-true classic Holiday hits including “Run, Run Rudolph” and “Away In A Manger” as well as original Alabama material rerecorded by Cook. Legendary Rock n’ Roll Hall of Famers The Ventures join Cook, a Country Music Hall of Famer himself, on the project’s title cut, “Christmas Joy.” Jeff and I had an opportunity to visit about his excitement creating this project and visit about a few of the special aspects of the CD.
Bev: I know you have completed the Christmas album and you are very excited for the release. Tell me in your own words what this project meant to you.
Jeff: I wanted to do a Christmas album for some time; but I wanted to find songs that weren’t played as much as others. I didn’t want to pick songs people are tired of hearing and while looking, came across a new one called, “Christmas Joy”. It was written by Don Wilson. Another one that I don’t think has gotten a lot of airplay is called “Rock and Roll Guitar”. I also asked my my wife to sing on a couple songs, “Away in a Manger” and “Please Come Home for Christmas”. I can’t recall ever hearing a female do that song, so that was a little bit of a twist.
Bev: I know you have a great recording studio in AL, did you record them all there?
Jeff: Everything but part of “Christmas Joy”, which is the title track was recorded there.
Bev: Did you do the producing and all of the studio work?
Jeff: Yes, I produced everything. I guess you could say I co-produced Christmas joy.
Bev: What are you doing for promotions? Are you out touring and getting the word out using the online social media outlets?
Jeff: I’m only utilizing the online sites right now for this projectand it is going to about 900 radio stations or so to get some new music out there. Hopefully they will get requests from the fans and listeners to continue playing it; I’ve got some positive responses on it.
Bev: Do you have a favorite on the album?
Jeff: Well I tell you, I started this project with “Rock n Roll Guitar” because I thought it should be redone. I had to bring in the toys and everything you know. I guess when I did that it gave me the feeling to put some more tracks together on a CD.
Bev: I know you mentioned your wife, but is there anybody else that sings on it with you?
Jeff: Just that one with “Mickey Santa”.
Bev: Do you have anything that you will be doing that is out of the box as Christmas gets closer? Joining anybody on tour, promoting or doing anything of that nature?
Jeff: I won’t be touring. In fact I just have one show between now and Christmas because I am going to have a knee replacement first part of December. We have a lot of things that are just under the radar to get done as quick as I get over this in the later part of January.
Bev: How about anything else, I know you mentioned travel to me. Are you out singing and performing now?
Jeff: Well actually I’m going to be doing about three songs to track tonight and a speech and Q & A thing out with Alabama for educators and teachers and such.
Bev: Do you still go out and do a lot of promotional or educational events?
Jeff: It seems like I’m doing interviews everyday, in some way or another.
Bev: Have you taken anybody under your wing or have you started to produce anybody?
Jeff: I would like to do some more of that, I think I have an idea. I know it doesn’t sound like anything else when you come to Nashville; so that in itself is a big plus.
Bev: Did you use your Good Times Band on the Christmas project as you did on the last album, “Ashes Wont Burn”?
Jeff: This is just a “Jeff Cook presents…” . So I guess the answer would be yes and no.
Bev: What else do you have up your sleeve, what else do you have going on?
Jeff: I have about four and a half songs in the can for next years album. I thought I’d get a jump on it while I can, while I have the time and the engineer and everything I need because I’m going to have to take some time for the knee injury.
Bev: Is the knee surgery something that has been going on for a while or did you just injure it?
Jeff: No, it’s been going on for a long while, even back in the days with Alabama. I think I could’ve taken the time to have it done and I really should have.
Bev: With the Christmas album did you decorate your studio in the theme of Christmas to get in the mood or…how’d you do that?
Jeff: I was excited about the whole project once I did “Rock n Roll Guitar” that was the first thing I did. Actually, the first thing I did was not really song it was a resuscitation and it’s called “My First Christmas in Heaven”. I did that in reflection of when my father died. I received a poem in the mail and I rehearsed it and I threw as much of that in it as I could. It kind of grew out of that.
Bev: When I talked to you last, you said green is your favorite color. Is that still correct?
Jeff: It’s a certain kind of green. It’s a real bright green. It’s the fluorescent greens.
Bev: Is that kind of the icon for your “Rock n Roll Guitar”, one of your green guitars?
Jeff: [laughs] Yeah. I take it you heard “Run Run Rudolph”. Yeah I changed those lyrics right there.
Bev: Will you be putting any hard copies of the CD out on store shelves for people to have access to that or is it typically going to be an online where if they want it they have to order it.
Jeff: They can get hard copies from jeffcook-agb.com and they can order it online where it is available for digital download via i-Tunes, Amazon.com, and Cook's website, www.jeffcook-agb.com.
Bev: Jeff, as always, you are a joy to talk to and I enjoyed the visit. I look forward to the next time and hope you have a joyous Holiday Season and best of luck with the surgery.
Jeff: Same to you and I hope to see you again very soon. Thanks for sharing your time with me.
For more information on Jeff Cook visit www.jeffcook-agb.com