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Artist: Michael Cook
Label: A'postrophe Records
Length: 11 Tracks / 44:01 

During the mid-'90s a new singer songwriter emerged on the CCM scene as the flagship artist on a new label founded by a well-known CCM artist.  The popularity of Chris Rice and the name recognition of label founder, Michael W. Smith, helped launch Rocketown into the successful label that it is today.  Fast forward to 2005 as another singer songwriter emerges onto the CCM scene as the flagship artist of another label founded by a well-known CCM artist.  Michael Cook is the debut artist from Jaci Velasquez's new label, A'postrophe Records.

There are times on his debut record where Cook sounds remarkably like Rice, using a similar folksy storyteller sound and feel.  This is most noticeable on the second track, "Old Man in New York," which features one of the catchiest choruses of the year.  This memorable song features Cook pondering how to be Christ-like to a homeless man that he encounters.  The first track, "Lately" features Cook's smooth vocals in an interesting pop song that will remind some of Steven Curtis Chapman.  "Extra Ordinary Day,",has a feel that could be considered a mix of Steven Curtis Chapman and Chris Rice. 

The third song on the album starts with some rocking guitars but slows down to feature a pop sound that it more like the first song.  Cook slows things down with "Learning How to Love", the fourth track.  Things pick up some with "Wipe Away the Tears," which is faster but still has a ballad feel to it.   One of the highlights of the album is the rocky ballad, "Will You Love Me Then," which asks if he will be loved when he is no longer the man that he is today.  This cry for agape' love has the potential for being a radio hit.

Imprint is a strong debut that is worth checking out.  With the right people around him, Cook will be an artist to keep your eyes on in the years to come.

Burton Wray February 23, 2005



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