Passion Project

A Nascent Basalt Nonprofit Hopes to Guide Kids down a Musical Path

Steve Cook adds an education component to his Love Rocks studio and gallery.

By Todd Hartley February 21, 2020 Published in the Midwinter/Spring 2020 issue of Aspen Sojourner

Steve Cook at Love Rocks

Image: Ross Kribbs

Custom furniture and instrument maker Steve Cook has recently been upping the coolness factor of the midvalley with Love Rocks, his workshop/gallery/
recording studio located in a Basalt industrial park. Filled with Cook’s creations, as well as art and jewelry, the eclectic, expansive space hosts everything from yoga and salsa dancing to craft shows and jam sessions.

But when his mother, Marilynn, passed away in June 2019, Cook decided it was time to do even more. So last November he launched the Love Rocks Foundation, a nonprofit aimed at bringing music to local kids through instrument giveaways and subsidized lessons.

A multi-instrumentalist who was steered toward music at age 4 by his parents, Cook will be among those giving lessons at Love Rocks, but he sees music as just part of the foundation’s focus.

“It’s also based around sound healing and movement,” he says. “I’m working on getting volunteers who could help kids with yoga, dance, and sound treatment.”

A launch party and instrument drive in November netted six guitars, two ukuleles, and a keyboard, and raised about $800 to go toward lessons. Cook has collected and refurbished another 18 guitars that are ready to be donated, and he hopes to bring in more instruments as word of the foundation spreads.

As for the foundation’s home, while its under-the-radar, word-of-mouth location is part of Love Rocks’ charm, it’s not optimal. The space, which Cook leases month to month, is for sale, and he’s always operated Love Rocks with the assumption that he might have to take things mobile at any time.

“My intention was to build this concept and community hub with the idea that I would end up moving it to downtown Basalt or downtown Carbondale,” Cook explains. Under that scenario, he adds, he could obtain a retail license and build out a permanent space to hold private parties and music events. 

Thus, an eventual relocation might prove the catalyst Cook needs to make Love Rocks a little more mainstream. Thankfully—at least as far as Basalt’s hipster cred is concerned—that’s not likely to happen just yet. And in the meantime, more local kids can nurture their own love of music in a decidedly offbeat way. 

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