By Phil Sweetland, Music & Radio contributor, The New York Times
Country fans who long for a return to the magic of the Outlaw Movement and the blue-collar magic of artists like Merle Haggard, Connie Smith, and Waylon Jennings just have to wait until June 17.
That’s because the veteran Missouri honky-tonk star and singer/songwriter Curtis Lyn Cook’s long-awaited new album Just My Luck is slated for a June release.
“I’m not crazy about the direction new country is going. I grew up a Merle and Waylon fan,” CLC says in a phone conversation from his aptly named country hometown of Festus, Missouri in late March. “That music to me is timeless, it never gets old.”
Those who have been blessed to hear his songs like “Outlaws,” the autobiographical “What Country Boys Do,” and “Just My Luck” feel the exact same way about Curt’s music, and they have for years.
Thousands of fans and TV viewers in St. Louis got a sneak preview when CLC appeared and performed on KTVI-Fox TV2’s hugely popular morning program on May 9. Kevin Steincross, the host of the program, immediately recognized the excitement an artist who St. Louis fans have loved and danced to for years would generate on the show.
One of Curt’s greatest fans is the Louisiana riverboat captain and country songwriter Joe Kent. The two have become such good friends online that they are now business partners, and 10 of the songs on the new album will be published by Joe’s new Boat Trash Music. The captain has also helped grow CLC’s brand by having him perform and get spins on Podcasts.
Just My Luck also features CLC’s powerhouse versions of two covers: Merle Haggard’s beloved song about performing, “Footlights,” and longtime CLC songwriting bud and inspiration Gene Davis’s “Feelings.”
“Outlaws,” Curt’s signature original with its Waylon-flavored guitar sound and CLC’s powerhouse baritone vocals, recently surpassed 14,500 Web views.
Curt may be a high-tech Redneck these days, but his roots were pure country. He grew up in southeast Missouri, singing in church in a household where Opry stars like Connie and Hag were beloved.
When he was 7, CLC’s uncle brought home a Jumbo Western Guitar and told Curt that if he learned to play the Carter Family’s 1928 classic “Wildwood Flower,” the guitar would be his. He did, and it was.
Curt graduated high school in 1981 and in the mid-1980s moved to St. Louis, where CLC’s band packed clubs like South Forty every night during the country line dance craze. After a few years, Curt returned to his country roots, married the lovely Angie and together they had twin sons, and CLC became very successful again—this time in the transportation business.
But CLC’s passion for music kept burning bright, and in this period his unique, very personal Honky Tonk and Outlaw sound began to emerge.
Soon he found his voice as a songwriter, often influenced by top Music Row tunesmiths he’d met along the way, including Earl Clark, Gene Davis, and CLC’s fellow Missourian Nick Nixon, who has since become one of Curt’s best friends and biggest fans.
“I introduced myself to Earl Clark’s fiddle player,” CLC recalls. “I had a lot to learn, but I was willing and eager to learn what it took. I decided I was gonna play what I enjoy. That was Outlaw Country, anything with an edge and some twang.”
A key ally was guitar wizard Chuck Trollinger, still a stalwart in Curt’s band.
“Chuck’s a genius, somewhere between Don Rich and Pete Anderson and Marty Stuart,” CLC says.
The Just My Luck set is the culmination of all these years of hard work, plus the joy of working with new Music Row connections including Captain Joe and Nashville Music Guide owner Randy Matthews, who also owns TCM Nashville Records.
“I’ve spent 3 ½ years on the album,” CLC says. “We’re gonna do some marketing with it, and I’m real excited. It has 12 songs, 10 of which I wrote. I’m glad it’s taken this long to write and record this record simply because in doing so, I wrote 3 new songs that are now on the album that would not have been there otherwise.”
Curt then says something that in itself sounds like a country title, and shows a hint of what makes this guy’s songs so magical: “I’m tired, but I’m excited.”
So at long last, CLC’s fast-growing army of fans in Missouri, Texas, Tennessee, and around the world on the Internet will hear the latest and greatest music from a man who they’ll feel they’ve known their whole lives, even if they’re hearing his timeless music for the very first time.
Love CLC! Best thing that’s hit outlaw country music in a long time!
I have to say I know Curtis Lyn Cook personally and I have to also say I have his new album and it is great. I listen to it several times a day. Anyone would be making a great investment when they buy this album. Curt is a great guy and a wonderful songwriter, musician and singer. Would back him all the way if that is the direction he takes. Way to go Curt and keep up the good work. Behind you all the way…
Well ole buddy to say i am proud is and understatement , I still think of the old days riding those back roads in BoCo. And talking about our dreams and what life held for us. And helping you tote gear to the next gig . Because i belived in your music then and still do my friend . Just blessed to be a small part of it all.
There always a chair on the pourch waiting for you at THE CASA DEL SINGLE WIDE ( by gawd )
Wes, I love you like a brother.. You know I do. I’ll never forget all those great times we’ve had together and, we’ll continue to have them as old middle aged guys…Thanks for being there, thanks for being a friend.. Love ya man,…
Hey there CLC ! ! Congrats ! ! ! Fine article there but of course that goes along with that Fine singing you do. It’s a pleasure being a Fan and a Supporter. See YOU AT THE TOP OF THE CHARTS my Friend ! ! Also will be seeing you at the FARM FEST in PATTON MISSOURI on JUNE 18th, can’t wait I’m sure it will be a Great time with alot of Good Country Music and Country Fun. See ya there ! ! !
Thanks Bev for the kind words. I appreciate it. Always great to have folks like you as fans. Looking very forward to Patton Farm Fest and finally meeting some of the folks that I’ve gotten to know so well online..
HEY CURTIS LOVE THE ARTICLE AND YOUR MUSIC.GOOD JOB SEE YOU AT THE TOP OF CHARTS SOON WITH CAPT JOE. KEEP UP THE FINE WORK THAT YOU ALL DO
Thank you for that vote of confidence Otis. I appreciate you being the fan/friend that you are. I’m honored to have you there and I’m sure Joe is also.
I have grown up listening to Curt’s music. I love that he has stuck to his roots and not followed in the footsteps of others. Curt has stayed true to his music and has pressed on to get to where he is today. I love that he comes home to allow his family and friends enjoy his music. I will be attending Patton Farm Fest and expect to have one heck of a time listening to his music. I will be glad to see my favorite true country singer bring the house down. Love ya Curt!!
Well thanks so much Cousin Libby for saying so. We love coming home..That’s where true folks/friends are. It’s my favorite place, it’s where I’m from. Wouldn’t have it any other way. I guess with my music, I’m trying to make a statement in some way. I want so much for people to remember the “real” Country Music. I’m going to continue to do my part to make sure it’s not forgotten. That makes it easy to stay true to your roots. It’s what makes the man… Love you,
CLC is a great singer, i really enjoyed u an ur band at the Pink Gallon last weekend, can’t wait to hear u again at the Patton farm fest, u r very talented singer an i really hope i get there in time to get one of ur Cd’s.This article is great
Sharon, I appreciate the kind words. We’re always glad to have folks that come out and enjoy what they hear. I’ll personally make sure there are CD’s available for you when you get to Farm Fest. Thanks again,
Hey Curt this is really a great article, and brother if anybody deserves it you do. I
‘m looking forward to the show at Patton next weekend. Let’s give em some music.
Brother, I wish I had just a little bit of the singing talent that you do my friend. I think there have been a bunch of us ole’ Outlaw’s that have deserved more than we’ve been able to get. Our friendship has stood strong over the years..Hell, we were in the same band for a while…What are the odds of that??? Love ya man,
Ya’ll don’t forget to click LIKE at the top of this page!!
So happy that sucess is coming to you from many different directions, somehow I knew eventually that your time would come. I am thankful to have been there from the beginning at MHHS for “Jessie’s Song” and now look at you a big ole superstar in the making. Love you all so much and praying that God blesses you abundantly for your efforts and many endeavors.
well Jan, if you were there at MHHS back when I sang Jessi’s Song, then you know that I was an overnight success!!! It only took about 30 some years. A big ole superstar, I’m doubting that but I’m a big ole something who just loves music and I’m darn proud that you’ve never forgotten me for I haven’t you.
God Bless you girl,
Dear Mr. Cook, You have an amazing voice and are extremely talented. My aunt had ordered one of your cd’s for herself, me and my mom. Plus, I must be honest. You are one of the sexiest western singers I have ever seen. I hope you don’t mind me saying so.
Aw, thank you Tonya. I appreciate those words. I’m also proud you thought enough of my music to order some CD’s. Tell your Aunt Thanks. I guess Sexy is in the eye’s of the beholder…I’m humbled you think so and don’t mind at all but…. I could recommend an eye doctorr for you to go see..!!! Many Thanks,
Listening to Curtis Lyn Cook for the 1st time I knew that he was a winer. Not only does he have excellent pitch but he has that natural ability to stretch a phrase. His suddle imphisis of the power words and phrayses make his delivery a real winner. I have been a producer since the 70s. This is a case of hearing what I would have produced for him. Hey ya’ll! We have a real winner here! ‘Pay attention now!
John, I appreciate those kind words my friend. I’ve been doing this a long time. I’m no trained singer by any stretch of the imagination. I just open my mouth and hope for the best. I learned alot from those old records I grew up with. There’s a time to sing big and a time to be suddle. That’s a Hag trait I worked hard to find. I’m humbled by your words more than I can tell you. Thanks for that and the friendship.
Mr. Curt just got home and saw this link that Mr. Kent was nice enough to share with me. This i can tell anyone about your music . Its real country the way country should be. It was awesome to listen to your songs with you on the way to your dads house this afternoon. You are just as big of a star in my eyes as any of the outlaws you sing about. At any given time you can start my truck and hear your voice comeing out of my speakers . I hope you gt everything you deserve. I am also glad that we are freinds.
Nick, thanks for the words my friend. I’m humbled that you feel that way. I don’t think much about me, the singer, you the listener. I’m just me. I know you’re a fan and I’m always tickled that you and your Daddy enjoy my music so much and the fact that you shove it in all your friends face’s too..lol. Seriously, I want you to know how important it is to me to have friends like yourself. notice, I said Friends, not fans…
I knew the second I heard “Outlaws” that CLC was going to be a hit! He just has the kind of voice that is so versatile. @CLC and Joe Kent ~ I told you so! I’ll be seeing you both at the top of the charts!
Outlaws has gained me many many friends. I like your way of thinking Tessa. You’re level headed optimisim is what drives singers such as myself. Thanks for being there and your right..You did tell me so!!!
I love CLC’s music. The album isn’t out yet and I know the words to every song.
joe kent and curtis lyn cook are good friends of mine. to listen to there music is so great. curtis lyn cook has very good music. I could listen to them and curtis all day long and never get tired of him even joe. they would make a difference in peoples lifes. they have mine.
Thanks Vondi… I really appreciate all you do to support our music. It’s folks like you that give me the drive to write and sing!!! Thanks for being my friend. I hope others feel the way you do about this music…
Take care Vondi…
Thanks for that Tim. Just knowing you enjoy the music and songs means alot to me. Who knows, if I ever have to call in sick, you can do the songs!!!!
It is now and always will be a humbling experience to be in the presence of true talent, I bow to you Curtis, you make me proud to be a country music fan! Can’t wait to get your new CD. May God smile on your future, family and friends…maybe I’ll even get a grin. Love ya, Teresa
Oh Teresa. I just love you.. Yep, I can say that to you and mean it with all my heart. You’re the type person that brings out the best in people. You always know just what to say. I’ve known you a long time. You married into the family to one of my Dearest and best Friends…He also happens to be my cousin. Since then, you’ve been my cousin and friend too. I’m proud to know you and tickled by the words you write. You’ll have that new CD….SOON girl…God’s been smiling on me already…Because I have family like you..
Love you girl…
Rock on outlaw train. Love it love it. Fan of my friend Joe an fan of clc
Well bless you Norma… Thanks for ridin’ this train…The engine’s a little worn but it still shows up on time…. Thanks for being a friend.
The best music been listening to u and Captain Kent keep up the great work I’ll keep tuning in
Thanks for listening Billy.. We’ll keep right on cranking it out as long as folks like you will listen. Many thanks,
A very dear and mutual friend (Mr. Joe Kent) has recently turned me on to your talent and already I am a fan. I have just had the pleasure of listening to “Just My Luck” and I must say the tone in your voice is both delightfully soulful and haunting…your music is filled with passion the way country music should be. There is no doubt…that you are keeping the heart of Traditional Country Music alive. You are an inspiration…surely you are making the lates and greats extremely proud that you are passing on the heart and soul of Traditional Country Music. Wishing you nothing but Success, Health and Happiness.
Thank you Debra. it means alot to have friends out there like yourself. I’m proud you like and enjoy the music. It’s folks like you that drive the passion in me to continue. Thanks again.
I’ve read the article and all the comments on here and can’t agree more. I’ve known CLC for well over 20 years and let me say this recognition is way over due. Curt is truly a fantastic person as well as one hell of a singer/songwriter. I’ve been a fan of his music since the mid 80’s and he just keeps getting better with age. CLC and I were friends before we were husbands, and since then my wife has became a Hugh CLC fan, my son absolutely loves his music and my 15 year old daughter thinks he cool. Yes, the family is united on their fondness for CLC and his music. I’m grateful to know him as a person and very proud to call him a true friend. He comes from a great family and that’s probably why he’s such a wonderful person.
Joe, Denise and Beckie, yall or in for such a tremendous treat at Farm fest. These Missouri people know how to throw a party and help a neighbor. When you meet CLC and his wife Angie in person your feelings for them will just grow stronger. When you meet the boy’s in the band you’ll understand why they and CLC have been together for so long, their all great musicians and even better people. Then sit back, kick your feet up, grab a cold drink and prepare to be blown away when you hear them perform live. Top of the Charts, maybe. Top in your Heart, Hell Yes….
Congrats CLC, you deserve all this and more.
I waited on this one to make my comment. Not that I had to think about what to say, just wanted to soak in what you were saying. You and I have been friends since the fall of 1985. We were both a helluva lot younger then and by 1988 we’d lost touch. Thanks to Media outlets like facebook, we were able to restart that friendship right where we’d left it 20 years earlier. You have a great family and I’m honored to know them. Lisa is super. Nick and Danielle are special to me also. Not many people would step up and do some of the things you do for me and never ask for anything in return. I won’t bore everyone with the details but, you know what I mean. Some say you can go thru life and count your “TRUE FRIENDS” on one hand and still have fingers left. Your on that hand with true friends Dan. What we had in common all those years ago were two things. We were both from the sticks, trying to survive in St. Louis and we both Loved Country Music. Both those things are still true to this day but, we can add the “TRUE FRIENDSHIP” to that list now and that’s what it’s all about.
I’m sure you’ll do your part to help me make all of our new friends welcome who we’ve yet had the pleasure of meeting. Folks like Joe and Denise are dear to me and, I’ll be honored to introduce you to them as one of my BEST FRIENDS. Thanks Dan…with us, it’s never been about the music but the music is a bonus that we can share!!!!
paying it forward is what these guys are all about!…can’t wait to be right slap dab in the middle of it!!!…yeeehaw
Just a buncha OUTLAWS…. We’re just trying to keep things real. Thanks for the compliment Judy. It’s much appreciated.
Become an official CLC fan at http://www.reverbnation.com/curtislyncook Also check out Curtis Lyn Cook’s song/video Outlaws that will be on the album Just My Luck. Just My Luck will be released June 17th under Boat Trash Publishing:
“Outlaws” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=poNeqfXCMmA
CLC and Capt. Joe make an awesome team! CLC’s music is long over due for us outlaw country girls! Absolutely can’t wait for the release of the CD and the Patton Farm Fest! It’s gonna be a great time, awesome music and for a wonderful cause!
Beckie, I’m proud you feel that way!!! Now, if we can just get the masses to agree with you. Looking forward to meeting everyone @ Patton Farm Fest Thanks for being a fan.
CLC, This Big E, I just read the artical, and thought it was great. I’m excited about the new album, and I am looking forward to getting it. I have also got a spot on my guitar next to Jocephus for you to sign for me when we get to meet!! Me and my friends that still love the outlaw country music love what you are doing. Keep It Up!!!! A specail thanks to the NMG and Randy, and Joe for being so good to Jocephus, and CLC!! Ya’ll are great people and i’m glad I got to meet ya’ll as well. And thanks to Phil Sweetland for some very good artical’s!!!!
Hey thanks Big E. I’m proud you enjoyed it and honored that you think enough of my music to take the time to write a post. I’d be proud to sign that guitar. Thanks for being a friend.
Many thanks to you Denise for supporting myself and Joe with this venture. I don’t try to be something that I’m not. I’m just me, bein’ me. Music has, and always will be a part of my life, as long as the good lord allows me to have a voice. Everyone don’t like it, hell, sometimes I don’t like it myself but, I continue to use it, in hopes that what I write or sing may, in someway reach out and touch someone. That’s the Gas that keeps this Honky Tonk Engine running. Looking forward to Patton Farm Fest/Joplin Tornado Relief on June 18th. With folks like yourself and Joe, Phil, Randy, Kymberly, and Big Joe, it will be a huge success I’m certain,
Curtis, I am so honored that i got the chance to hear your cd before many, i am so impressed with our singing and i can not wait to see you in MO. It is going to be a wonderful concert and for a great cause (Joplin disaster), looking forward to seeing you perform this new cd, You are a true outlaw honky tonk friend and big brother to Joe. oh yeah, by the way you are VERY EASY ON THE EYES. also see you at the top of charts. And for those that have not rsvp or made plans to attent the Patton Fest should try to it is going to be a blow out show, CLC is an awesome singer/songwriter this is something you do not want to miss. It will be held on June 18, 2011. OUTLAW COUNTRY MUSIC ROCKS.
hey there Jocephus and Curtis Lyn – – – – MAJOR props to you both, and to your whole amazing teams. Keep up the wonderful work, and amazing music – – –
Safe travels and God bless – – –
Many many thanks to you Phil Sweetland. You’re a cat that I’m glad I met and I’m honored to consider you a friend. You wouldn’t have to do the things, or say the things you do about me and for me, but you do. For that, I’m grateful. I’ll keep on Ridin’ this Honky Tonkin’ Outlaw Train if you keep telling folks just what it truly means to those who crave it… Thanks again my friend,
CLC has become my best friend and business partner and I still haven’t met him yet!! That will change June 16th as we get ready for the Patton Farm Fest show on the 18th that will benefit the good folks in Joplin Missouri that survived the storms!! Oh and don’t forget that Bob Coan with NewMediaEdge.com will be there filming footage for 2 awesome CLC videos!! I Love Girls and The Party’s On are the 2 videos that will come from this show!! With titles like that you can just imagine how much fun making those videos at Farm Fest will be!! Guys-bring your jacked-up 4wds!! Ladies bring as little as possible and lets have some fun, raise some money, and get famous on some CLC videos!! Phil Sweetland will be there as a guest and will likely be covering the event and the Rooster himself is making plans to try to attend with the famous Music Row Joe-Joe Matthews-from the Big Joe’s Big Radio Show on nixacountry.com hosted by him and Kevin Nixa!! CLC is just a down home country boy with a big ‘ole heart!! That big ‘ole heart is now filled with the joy from a rise to super stardom!! The first time I saw the video Outlaws on YouTube-I was hooked!! That video basically told the story of my life-a way of life that country music fans have been hungering for!! The song could just as well been titled Heroes-and CLC quickly climbed to the top of my heroes list!! Had you told me back then that today I would be working with such a talent and the awesome band that backs him-I would have probably told you that you were full of sh…stuff!! Well thanks to the Nashville Music Guide, the fans and facebook, dreams have come true!! CLC is my honky-tonk brother and I am thrilled and honored beyond words to be a part of the musical path he is taken!! It has been tough making this album project happen but CLC is Outlaw Tuff and has stood up in the stirrups and beat her down with the bit!! If you don’t know what that means-just wait until you get the album Just My Luck and you will get a honky-tonk education!! You Can’t Have Her is the first single to be released and that song is the epitome of what country music has been missing!! Real country music is alive and well and the heart of it beats in my good friend’s chest!! CLC has recently been on radio and TV and has been met with an enthusiastic following!! Now he’s in the pages of the Nashville Music Guide and is committed to taking this raw, outlaw, honky-tonk music all the way to the top of the charts!! Outlaw up-CLC!! I’ll see you at the top of the charts!!
Joe, those words and confidence surely mean the world to me. I tell you all the time that, I’m not looking for Stardom, I’m just looking for a place for my music. hell, at my age, I’d take anything I could get. Just knowing that there are folks like you out there who believe in what path I’ve taken is a huge accomplishment for me. Thanks for publishing my songs, my album, introducing me to your circle of friends, who in turn have embraced me with Honky Tonk arms. I’m grateful.
I tell folks who come to me with compliments that, I just open my mouth and hope for the best. That’s my singing voice, Your the voice who let’s others know that I’m alive and kickin’ down some walls. I’m humbled by your eagerness to push me to limits I’ve never thought possible at this stage in the game. Thanks to Randy and Kymberly Matthews and Big Joe for putting this great article to print, To Phil Sweetland, who wrote the article based on a damn good conversation we had back when the weather was still cold. I felt like I was B.S’ing with a long time Honky Tonk Brother. I’m grateful.
For anyone who decides to purchase my music, let me thank you “upfront” for doing so. All I want out of my songs are a way to express myself, what I stand for and where I wish Country Music were today. Am I living in the past??? Possibly but, the past is the foundation that our current and future artists stand on. I CAN’T FORGET THAT!!! Without those roots, where would we be?
Thanks so much to the NMG for running this story and helping with my musical career. Ya’ll are the real deal.
Best too you, Curtis your just across the river from me so i’ll be your shoutin fan from Illinois. God Bless you and your music.
Thanks so much for that Joyce. I’m proud you gave me a holler.. yell loud from across the creek and we’ll come over and see you….thanks for the wishes Joyce…
I.m from Germany, Curtis Lyn Cook you and Joe play on AMAZIN good MUSIC. My friends in Germany will Support you and JOE…Conny
Well, thanks so much Conny.. That surely means alot. We’ll keep kickin’ it out and, you keep spreading the word in Germany..
Lot’s of Outlaw Love,