song of the week: reignwolf ~ in the dark
July 27, 2012 in song of the week
I was prepared to do a write up for a song that I wasn’t even sure was a song. I mean I knew this was a song but I wasn’t sure it even had a name. I saw this video recorded at that campground at Sasquatch by the good folks at NPR and KEXP, and I immediately knew that this was the song of the week. Upon further inspection I learned that the name of the song is In the Dark and despite a few live recordings, there is no official studio version, in fact there are no studio versions of any Reignwolf songs, at least not that I could find.
There is nothing about Jordan Cook AKA Reignwolf that does not capture, neigh, demand your attention. He’s a one man wrecking crew who shreds the supple neck of his ebony Gibson guitar like a battle axe, leaving behind a trail of crimson carnage. Smoke billows from a shoebox sized fog machine, a mop of obsidian hair blows, and a broken blues voice from a bygone era whales. It’s an awesome sight.
Originally hailing from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Jordan Cook found himself living in Seattle, and woke this sleepy little town with a thudding bluesy-rock not heard since… Jimi Hendrix? If Howlin Wolf, John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, or Elmore James were alive today, it’s possible that they would sound like this. This is a louder, grittier brother to the muddy waters of the Mississippi delta. Surely if Robert Johnson really had sold his soul to the devil, he would have emerged from the pitch black of midnight, as Reignwolf.
If you watch the video you can so clearly tell that Jordan knows the body of that guitar like an old lover, he plays the living shit out of it. Up against the mic stand, behind his neck, you almost believe he could play it without his hands. Pay close attention to when he breaks a guitar string and powers right through. I loved watching Kurt Cobain smash his guitar and the end of a set, but seeing someone literally destroy a guitar by playing it, is just beautiful.
While doing all the above Cook ups the ante by simultaneously thudding his bass drum. That simple addition rounds out Reignwolf’s sound by giving it a full presence. Despite being just one man, with a guitar, a drum, and a towering amp, he fells like a full band. This is the kind of music that takes me back to being 13 and makes me wish I’d worked harder to learn the guitar.
In the Dark, appears a number of times in videos across the internet, and it’s easily the most blues inspired, practically straight from the mouth of wolf-brother Howlin. If you think for one minute that he’s just a one trick pony, check out this video from KEXP where he covers Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain.