Judy Cook PR Materials

Author, Singer, Entertainer


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Judy with
Maul &Woodpile

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Judy in
Blue Ridge Mountains
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Judy with
Maul &Woodpile

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Judy in
Blue Ridge Mountains
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Contacting Judy:

Email to Judy at this web site, JudyCook.net or Telephone her at 301-776-4314

Put me on Judy's mailing list for new recordings, and for performances in your area.

Prose for Publication

Judy brings a powerful voice, a great-unaccompanied style and a deep respect for tradition to her performances of a huge repertoire of (mostly) American songs and ballads.  Judy’s singing is marked by a command of narrative that pulls the audience in to really understand what the song is about. Her style and presentation are "a credit to the sources".

Folks come away from a Judy Cook concert with fresh insight into old songs and the warm feeling of having joined with others in plenty of choruses and harmonies.  They take with them musical memories:  the flirtatious charm of  a young maid’s teasing love song, the gripping story of a classic ballad, the exhilaration of a rousing gospel,  the silly delight of an animal song, and many more.

Judy lifts the spirit and entertains us with programs drawn from her vast and varied repertoire of traditional songs and ballads from the English speaking world - American songs from North Carolina’s Outer Banks to the Southern Appalachian Mountains; from the Ozarks up to New Hampshire, Maine and eastern Canada; and across the Atlantic to songs from England and Scotland.  These she presents along with her personal memories and research in a straight-forward unaccompanied style. Judy’s command of narrative style and deep respect for traditions have earned admiration on both sides of the Atlantic.

We find ourselves captured by the timelessness of these old songs;  delighted with Judy’s ability to discover the best of them, and her skillful use of  phrasing and understanding to take us inside the songs, sharing the joys, sorrows,  concerns and delights of the unknown poets who wrote them so many years ago and the real people who have been singing them since.

You can’t help but have a wonderful time.

What Other Performers Say About Judy

"Judy Cook is one of the finest exponents of ballad singing that the current American folk music revival has produced.  Her depth of understanding and story-telling ability in ballad form is rivaled only by her dedication to the music and her willingness to do her research.  But all that aside - I'd go and listen to her anytime and anywhere."
---- Lou Killen

"There are, perhaps, few singers that share my joy and love of singing unaccompanied ballads and songs.  Judy Cook is certainly one of them.  She does it with honesty, warmth and understanding of the song.  Right up front with no affectation she just opens up and tells the story."
---- Sara Grey

"Judy's the Real Thing.  With Capital Letters."
---- Peggy Seeger

"I'm always delighted when Judy and I cross paths, because I know I'll hear some little gems of songs I've never heard before, brought to life by someone who clearly loves finding them, singing them, and sharing them."
---- Cindy Mangsen

Judy's Biography


Living in Maryland, Judy has been on the road since the early 1990s, making her own the songs and ballads of traditional Americana and the British Isles. She has family roots in Virginia, lucky enough to be born into a family who loved music.

This led to her personal discovery of the rich and varied treasure of folk music and was the inspiration for recordings. Judy has four full length CDs. Her first CD of unaccompanied traditional songs and ballads, “ If You Sing Songs…” was released in 1998, followed two years later by “Far From the Lowlands”. “Tenting Tonight: Songs of the Civil War” was released in 2007, and “Lincoln's America” in 2009.

She is respected on both sides of the Atlantic as both a singer and interpreter of traditional songs. Her vast and varied repertoire has resulted in an array of entertaining and informative themed programs enthusiastically received by universities, historical societies, festivals, and folks wherever she goes.


Born in Virginia, the third of four children, Judy grew up with singing from both parents and a love for music. “We sang at the table, we sang washing dishes, we sang riding in the car, they sang lullabies to us.” Informal singing went beyond the immediate family: Judy’s father called singing squares for neighborhood dances and played songs on the piano by ear; Judy’s mother made sure singing was a big part of the scout troops she led; extended family gatherings often featured evening sings.Judy’s sense of whimsy and joy of singing surely date from her earliest years.

A solid appreciation for music and singing goes back further yet. Generations of Judy’s family have attended Oberlin College where proximity to the conservatory of music ensured plenty of personal experience with good music and musicians. Though she never really knew them, Judy’s ancestors included preachers, teachers, and elocutionists; if there is a gene that predisposes one to love delivering a good story, Judy has it.

As she took her place in the folk community, Judy began researching the songs she loved and discovered the wealth of written, recorded, and personal sources for traditional songs and ballads. “I sang with friends at Scout camp, and Oberlin College, but lacked a communal setting for sharing the songs until I joined the Folklore Society of Greater Washington.” Through FSGW Judy met other folks who love the old songs. They could get excited talking about variants and sources. Her respect for traditional music was already strong, but continued to deepen as she started visiting old bookstores and the Library of Congress to learn from the many rich collections of traditional songs and ballads. Judy’s idea of a good time is to spend a Saturday night, or better yet a whole weekend with friends singing songs and ballads that have been memorized and polished. “The folk community is wide; we’ve enjoyed swaps and sing-arounds both at home and wherever we travel.”

Judy began performing professionally in the early 1990’s when people she met at song swaps began asking her to sing at their festival’s and coffeehouses. “My self confidence grew as I realized that there are a lot of people who love the songs I sing, and that I get such joy from sharing them with those people.” In England, Sara Grey introduced Judy to the British folk community at the Whitby Festival in ‘97 and David Jones at The National in ’96. When Judy decided to start touring in 1998 she did so in the UK as well as in the USA right from the start. She has quickly come to be well respected on both sides of the Atlantic as a singer and propagator of the old songs. Her joy in singing, deep respect for the tradition, and sense of humor delight her listeners.

Judy has four full length CDs. Her first CD of unaccompanied traditional songs and ballads, “ If You Sing Songs…” was released in 1998, followed two years later by “Far From the Lowlands”. “Tenting Tonight: Songs of the Civil War” was released in 2007, and “Lincoln's America” in 2009.


Judy is a member of the Baltimore Folk Music Society, the Folklore Society of Greater Washington, and the North American Folk Music and Dance Alliance.