› Where: Revelry Room, 41 Station St.
› For more information: 423-521-2929. Doors open one hour before each show. Must be 18 or older to attend and show valid photo ID.
Zoogma with Cofresi, Belts and Robes
› When: 9 p.m. today, Sept. 7
› Admission: $15
Rick Rushing Experience
› When: 9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9
› Admission: $10
› When: 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 13
› Admission: $20 in advance, $23 day of show, $70 meet-and-greet package
Local fans of rocker David Cook have the rare chance to be among the first to hear his new music when the "American Idol" winner's tour stops at Revelry Room on Wednesday night, Sept. 13.
In a phone interview, Cook talked about why he felt it was time to explore a new direction, create music that he describes as darker, grittier and sexier.
So nine years after "Idol" and two years since his last album, "Digital Vein," why change?
"I think maybe the challenge of it," he says.
"I've never had any interest in being one of those artists who stay in one lane. It defeats the purpose of artistry and it's kind of boring for me. I just wanted to challenge myself and step outside of whatever box had been created by me, or for me, and take whatever people's conception of me was and change it."
The first single, "Gimme Heartbreak," from his new EP, expected later this year, was released in June. It pulses with a bass line that's sexy but builds to almost predatory as Cook sings of a woman who was "death in a black dress."
She's no one he knows — certainly not his wife, he laughs — but a compilation of unhealthy relationships.
"I would hope I'm not the only one to experience toxic relationships. That song's a melding of every bad relationship I've been in," he says.
Cook says "Gimme Heartbreak" is representative of the rest of the album.
"I've made no secret of my admiration for and the influence of Nine Inch Nails," he says. "I think the (new) songs are pretty bombastic and there is some depth to them, some cinematic pop elements. But there's also an intimacy to these songs."
In addition to new music, Cook says his Revelry Room show will include music from "Digital Vein" and hits from his early career. Among the latter is "Light On," his first single after winning "Idol" that reached No. 17 on Billboard's Hot 100. It was written by the late Chris Cornell, frontman for Soundgarden, so its lyrics have become more poignant since Cornell's death in May, says the singer.
"To get to go onstage every night and sing this song written by one of my musical heroes . the song carries a little bit of extra depth with me now. It's reaffirmed some of the lyrical content. Our goal every night is to go onstage and honor Chris," he says.
Although his music is changing, it's obvious listening to Cook's thoughtful, articulate answers that he is still the same open, straight-shooting artist with the wry wit that viewers supported to a win nine years ago. Especially when he praises his fans for continuing to support his fundraising efforts for Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure. Cook is an ardent fundraiser for ABC2 in memory of his brother, Adam, who died of brain cancer.
"My fans have raised $1.2 million," he praises. "I know it sounds cliche, but that's the stuff I'm most proud of."
Contact Susan Pierce at email@example.com or 423-757-6284.
No one knows better than David Cook the power of “American Idol” to launch a career. So how does the Season 7 winner feel about the TV talent show’s return on ABC?
“I’m nervous. I’d be remiss if I said otherwise. When the show was at its peak, it was a great platform for new artists, a way for people to invest in new artists and to have a fan base already in place to support the new artist and buy albums.
“If they do it right, I’m excited. If it becomes just a platform for what the judges’ current projects are, then I don’t see any longevity.”