Every once in a while an artist who is totally unique yet immediately relatable and instantly engaging comes along and wins you over; the sort of artist whose soothing, seductive sound, with soulful melodies & heartfelt harmonizing, creeps up on you and pulls you in from the first few bars. Bay Area one-woman band Mira Cook is this kind of artist. Tonight she shares a bill with Michael Hurley and Sean Smith at The Verde Club in San Francisco.
Mira Cook's lo-fi yet lush sound, while completely original and unique, will remind you of a myriad of other artists you might have heard before, from Meredith Monk to Liz Phair to the U.S. Girls to Laurie Anderson to DJ Radar. Radar the DJ? Yes, her similarity to the Arizona turntablist is based on her performance style of utilizing live loops to build upon her sound, the difference being that while Radar uses records as his sound source, Mira Cook uses her own voice.
A classically trained ballet dancer with a respected career in dance, the Texas born, San Francisco based vocalist/multi-instrumentalist is also classically trained in piano and comes to the music she makes from a refreshingly different place than your typical "alternative" artist. I have seen Cook perform live twice recently and each time was completely blown away, first by the harmonic sound she creates with her voice -- pitch-perfectly layered to sound like a group of female vocalists heavenly harmonizing that at times conjures up the Gillian Welch, Alison Krauss & Emmylou Harris' collaboration on the O-Brother-Where-Art-Thou soundtrack -- and also by the fact that she does it all solo and live without missing a beat. Amazing!