31 Tigers (TOT3102)
by Bruce Sylvester
Elizabeth Cook’s country-music pedigree is honorable. Her father learned to play country in a federal pen during a stint for moonshining. Funny, perceptive and wholesomely carnal, her Welder draws its title from her dad’s post-parole line of business. Maybe she’s welding words and ideas together.
Producer Don Was frames her hillbilly kitten vocals in a more rock context (even rap on “El Camino”) than her previous producer, Rodney Crowell, used on 2007’s Balls (whose more-or-less title track, “Sometimes It Takes Balls To Be A Woman” is so much fun that I’m including its video here). But often Welder's vibe is retro-twang.
There’s a Todd Snider-ish element in her tongue-in-cheek writing, only it’s from a women’s perspective, of course. It’s easy to imagine Dixie Chicks covering her.
A frequent vehicle for her humor is men she’s attracted to (fictionally?), be they vintage-car dudes or Sun-era Elvis fanatics. In upbeat “Yes To Booty” she plays a neglected woman pointing out the pleasures to be shared if the guy would only sober up.
She also has a serious side. “Mama’s Funeral” could almost come from Iris DeMent’s pen. My family has never had to deal with drug addiction, but I’m close enough to a family that has so that I realize how “Heroin Addict Sister” cuts clean to the bone in presenting a loving relative’s conflicted feelings.
By the way, check out her show “Apron Strings” on Outlaw Country at SIRIUS XM.