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Transforming pain and injustice into love and compassion is a rendering that has been universal to poets and prophets for centuries. In present times, choosing to amplify community and positivity through art can seem like a radical act. With the arrival of People Are My Drug, Phil Cook is taking the spark from lights left on by musical heroes and offering a torch for listeners as they navigate their own dark corners. Where 2015's Southland Mission illuminated for listens what Phil Cook hears in his head, this latest record lays bare the way that music makes him feel. Side A alone, culminating with the shiver-inducing ''Another Mother's Son,'' has the capacity to light a fire in even the coldest of hearts. Having only recently stepped to the center of the stage as a solo artist, Cook now takes a moment, citing the power of community as his thesis statement. Each track asserts that he alone is no greater than the sum of the people who have brought him to this moment. Instead of standing on the shoulders of his heroes, Cook is humbly kneeling at their feet. Since Southland Mission, Cook has performed with childhood heroes including Mavis Staples, Bruce Hornsby, John Prine, Amy Ray and the Blind Boys of Alabama. Cook notes, ''I see life on a timeline that includes multi-generations. As someone who has sought mentors my whole life, I am honoring the people who shaped who I am, not only musically, but spiritually, emotionally and personally.'' He brings that forward in every note on People Are My Drug.