Elizabeth Cook - Welder
This is Florida raised Elizabeth Cook’s fifth CD, produced by the legendary Don Was and expertly accompanied by her husband Tom Carroll, with fabulous backing vocals from Buddy Miller, Dwight Yoakam and Rodney Crowell. Wow! I am in no doubt that it is her best to date and it is probably no coincidence that it is also her most personal. Whilst she has included personal songs before, such as Dolly, Mama’s Prayers and Mama, you wanted to be a singer too; perhaps even Balls, she takes the word personal to a whole new level on Welder. The piano led I’m beginning to Forget was written by her mother, also a musician, who passed away a couple of years ago; she is the subject of the heart wrenching Mama’s Funeral. Yet for all its sadness it still manages to celebrate her life. In my opinion, the standout track on the CD is Heroin Addict Sister, which one can only assume is from experience. Exquisite is the only word I can think of to describe this – the concept of the rope is such a clever use of words and to compare the needle to ‘the devil’s DNA’ is inspired. Apparently the CD got its name from her father’s profession, but there is also a reference to ‘welder’ in this song...This song shows not only Cook’s voice, but also her writing, at its finest. Such songs allow her beautiful Southern voice to shine.
Whilst these songs might show off the true quality of Elizabeth’s voice, she also carries off several changes of musical direction; no-nonsense love song Girlfriend Tonight and a stunning version of HEM’s Not California, let her turn her voice to a true country ballad, whilst upbeat numbers such as All the Time, or Yes to Booty, a honky-tonk tune about drink and sex. Then there is the somewhat sordid tale of El Camino. She sings Honky Tonk like any of her older counterparts, citing Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn as two of her greatest influences, yet adds a modern twist for a new generation.
Welder really ought to put Elizabeth Cook up there among the best of them and deserves to be heard. I seriously doubt I will find many, if any, CDs as good in what remains of 2010. I am in no doubt, however, that it will become a must-have addition to everyone’s CD collection; deservedly so.