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Cousin Jake: Press

Greetings, Family members! Here we have the text of a review of our CD, FLYING MACHINE, taken from UpstateLIVE magazine, Vol. 2, Issue 6.

Cousin Jake - Flying Machine
By Greg Jackson

During my meet up with Cousin Jake at IslandFest 2009 before their opening set with Kashmir, guitarist Dave Cook dropped copies of their three CD’s on me. Not having heard them previously, I only had their live performance to go by and that left me with great anticipation to hear how the songs translated to the studio. Cousin Jake lit up the Budweiser Amphitheater that night with their blues/rock originals, and a very interesting combination of covers illustrating their influences and musical tastes. From Robin Trower's "Little Bit Of Sympathy" to Dave’s rendition of [Jimi Hendrix’s] "The Star Spangled Banner/Purple Haze" it's pretty easy to tell the guitar school he attended.
Cousin Jake features the guitar pyrotechnics and vocals of Dave Cook, lead vocals and bass by Bob Volk, and Donny Gillett on drums and vocals. The latter two join(ed) up with Dave in 2006 to round out the three man line-up. Dave, a founding member, has been part of for 16 years. In this style each position had better be pretty strong and Cousin Jake is no exception to this rule. Live, each man takes his turn at the front of the mix. Donny's steady timing rolls along with Bob's rumbling bass lines giving Dave plenty of space to cut his six string prowess loose. Bob's strong vocals and stage presence balance nicely as he urges the crowd to join in and sing along while Dave drives the whole unit with his dynamic runs. Their moniker is "Rock and Roll That Relates"; after listening to 'Flying Machine" live, then on CD, I whole-heartedly agree.
"Flying Machine" is the latest release from the veteran Syracuse band, pre-mastered by Steve Schad at Oak Palace Recording Studio and recorded and mastered at Hertel Recording Studios. The opening track, "Easy Man" sets the tone for the entire CD with Dave's crunching power chords soaring into a quick lead section, then softening behind Bob's vocal intro. This piece leaves you wondering just how easy this man is, especially after Dave’s furious solo section combined with Bob’s reading of the lyric seemingly changing personality from verse to chorus. The rave-up title track I liked better live, like most of the selections here they thrive with the visual energy of Cousin Jake, although Donny's backing vocals really shine in the studio given the proper mix. Track three, "Misery" reveals another of Cousin Jake's influences, down and dirty southern rock reminiscent of a slightly harder Marshall Tucker when Dave cuts the slide loose and Bob's vocal turns to a growl. Number four, "Play Or Die" opens with Dave channeling his internal Trower/Hendrix, both through his lightning licks and soulful vocal. If you need to flex your influences Mr. Cook surely chooses a few right from the top of the all-time list. "Getting Stranger", the fifth cut cuts to the heart of a rock and roll relationship leaving enough room for your imagination to decide if it’s a girl or a bandmate they’re talking about. The dissonant chord structure and thunderous rhythm section twists the concept deeper into dysfunction, definitely my favorite track! “Lay With Me” closes this six song offering showing off Cousin Jake’s softer side. Bob's convincing lyric, Dave’s weeping pedal work and Donny’s tasteful touch put a nice finish on this, the third CD from Cousin Jake.
A great listen from these Syracuse veterans! Definitely a must-have for fans of guitar-driven blues rock and one to keep handy for those classic road trips. Check out Cousin Jake live and pick up a CD or two, you won’t be disappointed!
You can follow the band at www.cousinjake.com or contact them at cousinjake@a-znet.com.
GREG JACKSON - UPSTATE LIVE MAGAZINE (Dec 11, 2009)

September 20, 2012 3:05 am  •  Nathan Baker The Citizen

Nobody knows what made Cousin Jake so irate — maybe it's because none of the members are actually named Jake — but whatever the reason, it's clear that the effects of the madness have reached a boiling point.

The three-piece Syracuse-based band has been raging on the stage for at least 18 years, but its current iteration has been locked in for the last six.

"We're a high-energy band that like to play for the audience," founding member and lead guitarist Dave Cook said. "We try to play as many shows as we can and just make sure everybody's having a good time."

Along with Cook's guitar skills, Cousin Jake whips local and nationwide audiences into frenzies with bassist Bob Volk's growling vocals and the beats of Don "the Angry Drummer" Gillette.

Cook said attendees to the band's Saturday night show at Keg's Canal Side Event Center in Jordan can expect a fine mixture of classic rock mainstays and the band's original songs.

That fundamental inspiration is clear in Cousin Jake's playing, which features a blues-leaning mixture of smoothly sliding guitar licks and smoky voices that at times reach classic Allman Brothers levels.

With its cruising, down-and-dirty style, it's no surprise that the band is a hit with the biker scene, and over the years has played some of the bigger motorcycle festivals.

In 2001, Cousin Jake released its first CD, "Rock and Roll That Relates," followed by "Upstate Boogie" and "Flying Machine." A live recording is also available for purchase on the band's website.


Staff writer Nathan Baker can be reached at 282-2238 or nathan.baker@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @CitizenBaker.