Phillipa Cookman has released the first single from her upcoming debut album set for release in November 2020. Cookman is the daughter of the late musician and media professional Brian Cookman, and it is clear to see that a talent for music runs deeply within the family. Her new track ‘Greasy Mabel’ is a re-imagining of the classic originally penned by her father. The track is a brilliant display of Cookman’s vocal ability and a great introduction to her debut album. We caught up with Cookman to discuss her album and more!
Phillipa, can you tell us a little about your background and how you came into this genre of music?
I come from a family of musicians, my sister’s a jazz singer, my brothers both play and my Dad Brian, who wrote all the songs on the album was a blues musician. I spent my childhood backstage at various gigs and festivals so it was the most natural thing in the world to become a musician! I’ve always loved Country and Americana and when I decided to rerecord some of Dad’s songs, I knew that was the sound I wanted.
Tell us about your amazing first single “Greasy Mabel”! What is the background story and what can we expect from the rest of the album?
‘Greasy Mabel’ is a story about a trucker who falls in love with a waitress from a diner. It was originally on Dad’s album ‘Grinnin’ from 1981. It was always one of my favourites of his, I just love the story and the chorus so it was the first track we recorded and I knew it would be the first single. I like the twist that it’s now a woman singing about another woman so it’s the gay country anthem no one knew they needed!
As for the rest of the album, there’s a lot more of my other influences. Expect soul, blues, rock and more country. I’m so pleased with how it sounds, Justin Johnson’s done such an incredible job of producing and I can’t wait for everyone to hear it!
What has been your experience of tracking this album and how did the lockdown affect the way you have been working?
Luckily the internet has meant we can record remotely, I make a guide track and then it gets sent to the musicians who put their parts down then Justin puts it all together. It is a slightly longer process as there’s a lot of backwards and forwards but the results are great. It’s a testament to Justin and all the great musicians on the album.
Who are your musical influences?
Well, as I grew up surrounded by music my tastes are heavily influenced by my parent’s record collection. I loved the Beatles and the Rolling Stones as a kid and as I got older I discovered Dolly Parton, Joni Mitchell, Lucinda Williams, Bonnie Raitt, Linda Ronstadt and Sheryl Crow. I’m a huge fan of Brandi Carlile too!
How was your experience of tracking in Parr Street Studios, Liverpool?
Absolutely amazing! What a studio. I can’t tell you how good it all sounds. The musicians and engineer were incredible and I spent the whole time with a huge smile on my face. The whole process was so easy and enjoyable and the musicians were on fire!
How did you decide which songs you wanted to put on the album?
It was tricky as Dad has a big back catalogue. There were a few definites that are my personal favourites and I asked my brothers and sister and Mum their opinions too. We narrowed it down to the 10 that’ll be on the record but there easily could have been 30!
You can check out the brand new track below!
The author wishes to acknowledge Mel Osten for assistance in preparing this piece.