Guitarist Jesse Cook to play at Strings in Steamboat this weekend |

Guitarist Jesse Cook to play at Strings in Steamboat this weekend

If you go: What: Jesse Cook When: 7 p.m. Friday Aug. 12 Where: Strings Music Pavilion
Matt Barnes/Courtesy photo

Jesse Cook, a guitarist who likes to make music that defies and blends genres, will perform at Strings Pavilion at 7 p.m., Friday, Aug. 12.

Cook has been playing music for as long as he can remember. He was born in France, and lived in Barcelona as a young boy before moving to Canada.

“Apparently, I had a toy guitar and I used to wander around the apartment singing,” Cook said. “I’ve been playing my whole life, so it’s one of those things where music has just always been kind of part of how I communicate.”

Cook, who is known to specialize in Spanish guitar and flamenco, released his debut album “Tempest” in 1995. He described his style as a fusion of genre and sound. 

“What I do is such a hybrid, I think people, especially here in North America, think of me as a flamenco guitarist,” Cook said. “That’s not completely true or accurate. I studied flamenco as a kid and as an adult, I’ve studied classical guitar and jazz guitar. And now what I play is kind of whatever comes to mind.”

He explained that folks had struggled to place him into a genre, but now with the internet and online music streaming, rigid labels on music have become less important.

“Nowadays, people, just if they like it, they’ll listen,” Cook added.

If you go

What: Jesse Cook

Where: Strings Music Pavilion, 950 Strings Road

When: 7 p.m., Friday, Aug. 12.

Info: Tickets start at $55. For more,

His latest album, “Libre,” was a project he crafted throughout the pandemic. 

“Actually, initially it was inspired by my teenage daughter sort of playing her music and the stuff that she likes to me,” Cook said. “I kind of got hooked on trap beats and started playing with those in the studio.”

“Libre” has a certain syncopation and hints of electronic sound from this inspiration.

“I started trying to reintroduce more organic instruments and world music instruments and that kind of thing, and ended up finding, hopefully, what was the sweet spot between trap beats and what I do,” he said.

During the pandemic, Cook also worked on a series called “Love in the time of COVID,” a series of instrumental videos he live streamed to YouTube.

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“I recorded a different song every week and posted it, and I made the videos just in my house,” Cook said. “I think I made about 30 or 40 of these videos until I completely ran out of steam.”

He explained that it was a fun way to share his music and connect with people during an otherwise isolating time.

Cook added that he looks forward to performing at Strings in Steamboat.

“People who’ve seen me there a few times over the years will know that you may not need to bring your opera glasses as much as dance shoes,” he said. “We want to move people emotionally, but it’s kind of a celebration.”

“I think people ended up in their houses too long,” Cook added. “Being together, and celebrating live music is something we all need to do right now.”

Tickets are $55, and are available at

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