Ryan Cook isn’t your average country singer. His start in Yarmouth, N.S., began not in honky-tonks but as the screaming front man for local punk and metal bands, a scene that also produced rockers Brian Borcherdt (By Divine Right/Holy Fuck) and Paul Murphey (Wintersleep). Then fate led him to a summer internship as a music therapist at an unlikely place: a seniors’ centre. Thanks to the residents’ requests, he rediscovered and fell in love with traditional country music. “I began to recall all of the names and faces I remembered seeing and hearing from my childhood,” he says. Over the next few years he tried his hand at writing his own songs, and soon put together a band, Sunny Acres. After the success of the barn-burning first LP, Hot Times (2008), Cook relocated to Nashville, Tenn. His as-yet-untitled follow-up, which features many prominent Nashville session musicians, is due out this summer. Visit ryancook.ca.