Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
What you're about to listen to is a combination of two separate sessions - one that was recorded last winter and another that was taped this spring. The most remarkable thing about any of it is that none of it would have been here, were it not for a real stroke of luck. A few days before Ian Cooke's first visit, just after Thanksgiving, he was driving through the night and he hit a patch of black ice while driving in his Sprinter van. He lost control and flipped the van. He was unhurt and his instrument also escaped the terrifying accident unscathed. He canceled a few shows and spent a few days holed up, waiting to get word about the state of the van, while he cleaned the mud and other filth off of his merch, which oddly enough fared worse than anything else in the spill.
The next thing that Cooke did was a session with us. He had to still have been rattled - having survived something that he'd never seen coming, something that he likely still wouldn't have seen if he'd gotten the closest look at it. He must have still had white knuckles and uncomfortable jitters streaking up and down his forearms, like he'd just been electrocuted, like he'd mainlined the formula contained in 5-hour energy bottles.
He'd been through the craziest brush with death he'd ever had and he was here, fulfilling an obligation, letting his music get its footing back as he tried to do the same. The music echoes a shakiness, a living that wanders through the deepest parts of a night, hearing and feeling a sick silence that comes when one just stands and lets time pass, the moonlight bring the hairs up on arms and necks, as the chill sets in.
"The Towering Prince," here an eerie number, in its context, has Cooke singing, "I thought I'd never see your face again/I stand corrected/I was wrong." It's fucked up that those words could have been true. Just the thought makes this session a precarious exhibition of people barely winning.