In May of last year, seventh season fans of the reality TV show “American Idol” voted David Cook the winner, with a recording-breaking 56 percent of the 100 million cast votes. This sudden start to Cook’s musical career and fame has yet to die down.
One week after winning the competition, 11 of Cook’s songs debuted on Billboard’s Top 100 charts. It was the largest number of entries in a single week by an artist since The Beatles’ 14-song posting in 1964. Later that summer, the then 25-year-old Midwesterner hit the road with fellow “American Idol” winners for the American Idols Live! Tour.
In November, Cook released his first self-titled album, produced by Grammy winner Rob Cavallo, on RCA Records. In collaboration with mainstream songwriting veterans, Cook wrote and created an album of distinct songs that showcases his range of styles and talents as a skilled and creative musician.
“I wanted to make an eclectic album that went places,” says Cook on his MySpace page. “This is my first major-label release and that gave me room to be a bit of a chameleon and try different things. So there’s a diversity of influences on this record.”
Cook continues to tour, selling out auditoriums across the nation. This Tuesday, Cook and his touring band, along with opening act The Crash Kings, will perform at 7 p.m. at the Shrine Auditorium.
Finders and Youngberg
Two married couples/bands crossed touring paths in Chicago of 2005. In need of a bass and banjo player, the Finders invited the Youngbergs to perform with them. While simultaneously working with other bands, the four decided to make an album together in 2008, “Keep Your Suitcase Packed.” Thus began the formal creation of Finders and Youngberg, an Americana/bluegrass/acoustic band based in Fort Collins, Colo.
Melding the sounds and techniques of traditional bluegrass into innovative, original material, Finders and Youngberg offer up soothing lullabies to dance tunes filled with finger-frenzied instrumentation. All the band members contribute vocally while performing on one or two instruments, including guitar, mandolin, upright bass, harmonica, banjo and pedal steel.
Sponsored by the Yellowstone Bluegrass Association, Finders and Youngberg will perform at Bones Brewing at 8:30 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $10 for YBA members and $12 for the general public. Children 12 and under are free.
Trampled by Turtles
As a band, Trampled by Turtles doesn’t seem to have a problem trying new things. For starters, none of the band members of this acoustic quintet had ever been part of a string band before. Instead of utilizing a studio, the band also recorded its debut album in a decommissioned Catholic church in their hometown of Duluth, Minn.
For their fourth and arguably most notable album, “Trouble,” the band successfully featured many unconventional instruments for an acoustic band, including electric guitar and drums.
These unusual traits have helped mold Trampled by Turtles into a delightfully cool and flexible amalgam of roots, folk, bluegrass, indie-folk, rock-grass and nontraditional string.
The band’s ability to sustain an imaginative approach to music writing and making, as well as performing with a “plugged-in intensity,” feeds its widening fan base.
The Railyard Ale House will host this alternative acoustic group, along with Billings’ own Anonymous String Association, at 9 p.m. Saturday.
Magic City Singers
The Magic City Singers are in search of new members. This local, award-winning vocal group performs classic to contemporary shows, including many Broadway favorites, throughout the Billings community. Improve on your musical skills or just have fun singing with other area musicians.
To learn more or audition, contact Bill Gamsby at 598-5658.