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David Cook talks Royals, ‘American Idol’ and independence on his new label

“ ‘Idol’ afforded me an incredible opportunity to do something I love to do for a living, which is to make music and travel around and play it for people. For that alone, I’m extremely grateful.”
“ ‘Idol’ afforded me an incredible opportunity to do something I love to do for a living, which is to make music and travel around and play it for people. For that alone, I’m extremely grateful.”

Nearly eight years have passed since David Cook won the seventh season of “American Idol.” Since he won that title in May 2008, the Blue Springs native has toured regularly and released three full-length albums, including “Digital Vein,” released in September on Cook’s own label, Analog Heart Music.

Via email recently, Cook answered questions about the new album, his new label, the impending end of “American Idol” and his favorite baseball team.

Q: When was the last time you were in Kansas City and how often do you come home?

A: The last time I was in town was to sneak in to catch game one of the (American League Championship Series) last fall. I had a day off between shows on our fall tour run and had to catch one of those (Royals) playoff games. I don’t get to come home as often as I’d like, but having been in Nashville for a few years now, it’s been more frequent than when I lived in L.A.

Q: Were you able to make it to any Royals games last year, especially playoff games?

A: In 2014, during the playoff and World Series run, I made three or four separate trips home for games. With our show schedule in 2015, I wasn’t able to make it back as much, but I got to lose my mind watching TV on the bus as they closed out the series. Such an awesome moment.

Q: Talk about “Digital Vein.” What was the general intent going into the studio?

A: The intent with this record was really to see if I still enjoyed making music. My prior effort, “This Loud Morning,” was such a huge beast of a record to make, and doing that while going through other things, including the loss of my brother, Adam, made for a heavy album process. One that I, ultimately, didn’t enjoy like I wish I could have.

So with “Digital Vein,” it was about fun. Surrounding myself with people I trusted with my creative process and just working to enjoy the work. I feel like that “fun” vibe is all over this album, and it seems like fans have tuned into that, so far.

Q: How is it different from its predecessors?

A: I took on the producing for this record, which was new for me. I tried to take the lessons I’d learned from Rob Cavallo and Matt Serletic, the two producers from my previous albums, and take on that challenge. I actually really enjoyed that process. To see these songs through from idea to finished product, it allowed me to shape this record the way I wanted. To make it a more complete vision.

Q: You are an independent artist again. What are the pros and cons?

A: The one thing I really held to with this album was the creative freedom. To be able to hear the song in my head and then see it through to the end, intact.

Q: Talk about your band. You’ve been with some of the same guys for a while. How does it all stay together?

A: I’m lucky to have the band I have. Great players, but better guys. And being on the road with them as much as we have been lately, it’s killer to be able to travel with people you actually like and can live with.

Q: What is your touring life like?

A: The show counts vary, as do the locations. But, truth be told, I love the road. Constantly new stimuli, new people, new experiences. I get stir crazy in one spot too long most of the time.

Q: Nearly eight years have passed since you won “American Idol.” What’s your perspective on that experience?

A: “Idol” afforded me an incredible opportunity to do something I love to do for a living, which is to make music and travel around and play it for people. For that alone, I’m extremely grateful for that experience.

Q: You recently appeared on an episode of the show. What can you tell us about that and how do you feel about the show being in its final season?

A: Going back was great. As you go through that process as a contestant, you build relationships not just with the other competitors, but with the people behind the scenes. So getting to catch up with them is one of my favorite aspects of going back, but then to also get to help the new crop navigate this extremely unique experience is an added bonus.

To see the show in its farewell season, my main emotion to that is sadness. It’s been such a great opportunity for so many, and to see that opportunity go away is a bummer.

Timothy Finn: 816-234-4781, @phinnagain

Friday, March 18

David Cook performs Friday at VooDoo at Harrah’s casino. Tony Lucca opens. Showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets are $29 to $49.

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