Black Music Matters Festival

Amanda Cook

Point Of No Return – 2019 (Mountain Fever)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

See it on Amazon

CDs by Amanda Cook

Amanda Cook got her bluegrass music career started with the group High Cotton, which she formed with her father. However, since 2013, Cook has been on her own. "Point of No Return" is Cook's second album as a solo artist, and she has already securely established herself has a strong voice, with a passion for traditional instrumentation.

While there's plenty of stellar playing throughout, Cook shines brightest whenever her warm voice is the central focus. "Good Enough (Ain't Good Enough)," one of the fiddle-accented ballads, is so good (in a sad way), it'll break your heart. The real revelation, though, is Cook's cover of Merle Haggard's "My Favorite Memory." Cook sings it as a straight-up country song, and her strong singing voice proves she can also do honky tonk music right, too. It takes intestinal fortitude to sing a Hag song, especially one of his better ones, but Cook is so good it makes you want to hear her do even more country singing.

Cook closes with "Will You Be Leaving," an energetic track highlighted by wonderful fiddle and mandolin solos. Let's hope Cook returns at some point to singing traditional country music, where she then mixes more of these sounds in with her traditional bluegrass. This artist has many artistic weapons in her arsenal, and we want to hear them all.