Sage Cook, Ex-Elephant Revival, Heads West With New Band and EP

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Sage Cook took a moment out of an always-busy morning on his farm to talk with Westword about his upcoming Colorado shows with the band We Dream Dawn.

Cook left Nederland-based gypsy folk band Elephant Revival in early 2015 after eight years to pursue a dream and a passion of his: farming. Moving to a farm has been a “humbling experience,” says Cook. Wanting to forge a deeper connection to the land and hoping “to inspire others [to care about food security] by doing it ourselves,” he says, “I feel strongly about what we’re doing as a national movement.”

You can find the farm at the border of Oklahoma and Kansas, where Cook and his partner and bandmate Aera Fox moved in 2013. “We haven’t accomplished as much as we wanted,” Cook admits, but he is always learning and adding more to the farm with the addition of chickens, potatoes, more grains and a greenhouse to be completed when they return home after this upcoming tour.

We Dream Dawn is a deviation from the Americana/Celtic-folk sound of Elephant Revival. Electronic instruments in lieu of acoustic ones create an atmospheric and psychedelic sound while the lyrics and vocals echoing Cook's folkie past. 

When asked how moving to the rural countryside has changed his songwriting, Cook says the “garden has been teaching me lots of things. The countryside finds its way into [the songs]...but it doesn’t sound like country music.” Their “dreamy alternative” sound is a collaborative effort, with Cook on vocals and guitar, Fox on bass and Weston Hill on drums. The audience can expect new songs and instruments for the upcoming shows. The song arrangements are always evolving. “I’m a nerd about that,” says Cook. The band is incorporating more synthesizers for a more electro vibe. Salt Lake City-based Amanda B. Grapes will be playing the violin for the tour.

This tour comes in support of the band's new EP The Return of the Light. The EP features old and new songs and is in part inspired by Cook’s aunt, who requested that her nephew write songs for her funeral. The EP was recorded in their home on the farm. With the “ground covered in cables,” this was Cook’s first real attempt to mix an album from the ground up. Since he enjoyed the production aspect so much, Cook hopes to eventually house a recording studio at the farm for future recordings by We Dream Dawn, friends and anyone else that would be interested in recording in the serene atmosphere the land provides. The farm “isn’t on the way to anywhere,” says Cook, but he believes people would really enjoy going out there and helping with farm duties while enjoying warm company and beautiful food, art, music and yoga.

The summer festival season is just around the corner, and We Dream Dawn will be appearing at festivals (to be announced) around Colorado and Arkansas. The band hopes to tour nationally this year and next, but currently the farm is the main priority. For the upcoming Colorado shows, fans can expect many old friends of the band to be appearing. Laura Goldhamer and Xerephine will play at the Fort Collins show at the Downtown Artery. Former bandmate and lifelong friend Bridget Law, violinist from Elephant Revival, will join We Dream Dawn at Shine, with Tierro and Lyndsey McGuire. The Cervantes' show will host the band along with White Water Ramble.

Colorado was home for Cook for many years, and it is always difficult seeing all family and friends over just a few days, but “we’re gonna try like hell” to see everyone and bring old and new friends together, he says.

The Light EP and posters will be available for purchase at the shows. Cook invites everyone to “put their party pants on."

We Dream Dawn performs on Wednesday, March 2, at the Downtown Artery in Fort Collins, with Laura Goldhamer and Xerephine; on Thursday, March 3, at Cervantes' Other Side with White Water Ramble; on Friday, March 4, at Shine in Boulder with Bridget Law, Tierro and Lyndsey McGuire; and on Sunday, March 6, at Ophelia's Electric Soapbox during brunch. 

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