Sometimes music is the perfect gift. Cooki Turner has us covered this holiday season.
Many of us awoke from our Thanksgiving itis-induced comas this morning to face the reality that the Christmas season is now fully upon us. That reality brings with it another reality for some: We’re not ready, particularly after a year fraught with heartaches, including the losses of some our most beloved icons and entertainers, unprecedented acts of hatred and brutality reminiscent of an era we thought and hoped was over, and an ugly election season that yielded highly disappointing results for many, to put it mildly. 2016 punched us in the gut, hard, and most are still too busy trying to catch our breath to feel much like celebrating anything. No offense, baby Jesus, some folks just aren’t ready. Well, ready or not, the holiday season isn’t going away until we trudge through it. We need music. Real music. Cathartic sounds that soothe the soul and uplift us, gently calling us to celebrate while still addressing the aforementioned realities in a way that respects our pain.
Enter Cooki Turner, an Oklahoma-based neo-soul/jazz/R&B/gospel/everything artist whose voice is pure medicine for whatever ails you, and whose soulfulness resonates beauty and truth in a way to which virtually anyone can relate. Cooki carries us across the threshold from one of the harshest years in recent memory into hopefully better days (current woes notwithstanding), with two releases that are just what the doctor ordered, Christmas Time Vol. 2: The Gift, a slept-on assortment of reimagined holiday classics and original Christmas music; and Moment 2 Moment Vol. 2, a recently released album that speaks encouragement, soothes the soul, says goodbye and addresses the pain we feel as a people in a way that acknowledges it and comforts it at the same time.
On The Gift (presented by Oklahoma’s J Lee the Producer), Cooki Turner first gives us a resurrected classic with a twist, Little Drummer Girl. Spoiler alert, “pa rum pa pum pum” has never, ever sounded smoother or sultrier, and that little drummer BOY can kick rocks forever, as far as I’m concerned, because I’m good with the girl. Santa Can’t Bring Me This (featuring Kizzie of dynamic duo Adam & Kizzie) uniquely expresses a yearning for home and family that resonates with anyone with a heart, and showcases a lovely synchronization of two otherworldly voices that simply must be heard to be believed. Finally, Cooki gives her own rendition of everyone’s favorite Christmas song, the aptly titled The Christmas Song. Miss Cooki pays homage to the classic standard while blessing our ears with her own distinguished sound. It’s beginning to feel like Christmas after all.
Cooki’s August release, Moment 2 Moment Vol. 2, captures the essence of life, relationships, art, and even goodbyes. In the intro “Live Music Means…” Cooki makes it clear that she has no doubt she is walking in her purpose, and by the time you finish listening to this album, you won’t doubt it either. Cooki confidently tells us music is ”a part of my purpose, it’s embedded in my DNA, like I KNOW God put music in my body, in my soul, it is FOR me to do.” Let it Go Live (featuring a surprise voice many insiders will immediately recognize), extols the virtues of forgiving, forgetting the past and depending on one another, declaring “what we really need is each other,” a message that is extremely vital in these perilous times. Her Ode to Music (featuring two of OKC’s best kept secrets, smooth and powerful male vocalists Thonie Lee and Thaddaeus Johnson) gives us a candid glimpse into the love relationship she has with her craft, and makes us fall in love with music all over again in an era where real music often seems all but forgotten. Moment 2 Moment Vol 2 also features Cooki’s sultry, deliberate rendition version of Adam & Kizzie’s Smile, a song she beautifully makes her own. On Home, Cooki takes us down memory lane to time when things were simpler. If you close your eyes and listen, she really takes you there. After disarming us with nostalgic references to old reruns of Hillman days, and flip-up shades, she asks ”What happened to the days when we uplifted each other, and understood how compassion is necessary?” The jazzy, upbeat Visions features a trio of gifted rappers, Mike Willis, Jabee and Adam L (the other half of Adam & Kizzie), and expresses resilience and perseverance as Cooki proclaims “I’ve seen the worst of times, and I made it through; been waiting for a sign, and I know it’s due.” On The Goodbye Song (the album features both studio and live versions of the song), Cooki reminisces over a relationship in which she gave her all but simply must move on for the better. Dang, Cooki, don’t do us like that. We need you. When someone says goodbye to you so beautifully, you can’t even be mad at anyone but yourself.
Speaking of being mad at yourself, don’t be. Pick up Christmas Time Vol. 2: The Gift, and Moment 2 Moment Vol. 2 today at all major music outlets.