One of the newest recording artists in the LBS stable is Monto born Ashley Cook. The Central Queenslander Ashley grew up on his parent’s Mulgildie farm listening to Slim Dusty and Buddy Williams ballads. When his parents bought a property near Biloela Ashley started playing guitar and joined the Country Music club competing at local festivals. He left school at fourteen to take up a butcher’s apprenticeship and even before he had his license he worked with local country bands playing rhythm, lead and bass guitar with a bit of a stint on drums.
Like a lot of bush ballad artists Ashley worked on the land. In his case as a farmhand for a few years at Goos’ property after completing his apprenticeship. Today Ashley operates one of the biggest dragline in Australia at Callide Mine near Biloela where he now lives with his wife Toni and their children Kimberley, Scott and Chloe on a cattle property south of Thangool.
‘It’s a good life to raise the family in the fresh air and to muster the cattle on the horses which the kids love. We travel to country music festivals where Kimberley, Scott and Chloe compete and we get to meet a lot of good friends along the way.’
Frequent travelers the family tours the festival circuit from Roma, Miles, Wandoan, Rockhampton, Bundaberg, Hervey Bay, Springsure, Calliope, Maryborough, Emerald back home to Biloela where Ashley won a couple of Overall Awards and picked up a few trophies doing Bush Ballads in the Vocal sections and Bush Ballad sections.
Ashley’s career as a singer took a leap when in consecutive years 2003-2004 he made the grand finals in the Australian Bush Balladeer Star Quest. He got a lucky break in Tamworth in 2003 when LBS Music producer Lindsay Butler noticed his performance and a year later offered him an even bigger break to record on the ‘The Music Lives On’ the LBS Tribute Album to the King of Country Music Slim Dusty.
Ashley’s version of the Slim cover song ‘The Battle With The Roan’ received great feedback prompting Ashley to record his own CD ‘Cattle Dust and Leather’. He selected work from some of Australia’s best songwriters: ‘The Chestnut,The Oldman And Heeler’ Dennis Evans and co-write with Shaza Leigh ‘Paddy’; Wilf Elliot’s ‘Life On The Blacksoil Plains’; ‘Calling It A Day’ by Norm McLaughlin; ‘Ringer In The Making’ by Bill Brummel and Ashley; Wave Jackson’s ‘Ride Ringer Ride’; four covers from the King of Country Music Slim Dusty by Stan Coster, Tony Brookes and Kelly and Marion Dixon including ‘Lead Down To The Stockyard’ recorded as a duet with Ashley’s eldest daughter Kimberley and the added Joe Daley poem ‘Cattle Dust And Leather’ which Ashley put music to become the album title and which WARP Queensland Gold Medallion Awards decreed the Best New Talent for 2005.
In 2007 Ashley released his second album ‘Beneath the Queensland Moon’ at LBS Studio’s Open Day Concert at Moonbi. The album includes the title track originally written and recorded by the late Buddy Williams one of our great Pioneer Bush Balladeers plus other songs about a Dragline, a Truck, Trains, Fishing, the Nathan Dam and one about Clydesdale Horses features work by songwriters as far as Western Australia Victoria and North Queensland and two songs by local writers Wilf Elliott of Biloela and Trevor Shaw of Thangool.
2009 Ashley released his third album this is a tribute to Buddy Williams who Ashley grew up to admire, album is "Ashley Cook Remembers Buddy Williams" with doing some of Buddy's great songs the old favorite "White Face Cattle Roam", Little Red Bonnet, plus a song written about Buddy, Grace and Family by Ben Jacobs, Shaza Leigh & Ashley simply called "Buddy & Grace".
2010 Ashley release his debut DVD Queensland Skies with a selection of twelve songs off all of Ashley's albums and a couple of his singles off Country Collections. All the footage is film from the Gold Coast to as far as Mareeba and on our own property in Thangool.
2011 Ashley released his fourth album "Highways Of The Great Outback" with twelve songs ten of the songs were written for Ashley and two cover songs from our King of Country Slim Dusty "In The Front Row" & "He's Just The One" duet with Kimberley. "Cane Cutters Cordial" written by Shaza Leigh is about the Cane Cutter Farms in Proserpine and the cane sent off to the mill than to make not only sugar but Bundaberg Rum.
2013 Ashley released his fifth album this one is doing another one for Bush Balladeer Pioneer Brian Young. On this album Ashley Cook "Salutes Brian Young" is twelve of Brian's greatest songs "Thistles On The Hill Side" which won Brian a Gold Guitar, "Black Man Jacky Jack" and Big Fella Wudumbah" , Ashley and Brian also done a duet together "Ships Of The Desert" where they had won a Gidgee Coal Award.