GET THIS: ELIZABETH COOK, WELDER
originally published on thepeoplesmusic.us
Elizabeth Cook’s dad played upright bass in a prison band while serving time in the federal pen for running moonshine, and her mom was a mandolin player from the mountains of West Virginia.
I’m in. 100% No matter what.
Combine that pedigree with production by Don Was and appearances from musicians like Buddy Miller, Dwight Yoakam, and Rodney Crowell, and you’ve got a hell of an equation working itself out. On her fifth album, Welder, Cook flirts between classic country, hillbilly, rock, and even contemporary country, spanning subjects of life and death, pain and pleasure, and, of course, getting it on.
“Yes to Booty” should be playing the radio every hour, but something tells me a song I’ve dubbed 2010’s official anthem for whiskey dick isn’t going to get a lot of plays on country radio. Although, the song is such a rollicking good time, I’m sure it will coax thousands of unwitting, drunk guys to pump their first and hoot along with lyrics foretelling their inevitable disappointment at home after the show.
“Girlfriend Tonight” sounds like it came straight out of sexy time machine. I want to dance too close to this song at a run down roadhouse in 1977 while suavely sucking on a bottle of Miller High Life. And by “dance too close,” I mean I want to dry hump the song up against the wall in the corner while the surly bar maid mutters, “God damn Grumbine. The minute I saw him walk in here with that song, I knew he was gonna end up dry humpin’ it in the corner, spillin’ all the damn ketchup and making a fucking mess of the wait station. Every fuckin’ Tuesday night, Grumbine. Jesus Christ.”
But this is true country music, so it’s not all just a good time. “Heroin Addict Sister” echoes with such a haunting sincerity that you pray it’s not a true story, but you can’t help but fear it is. Saddle that with “Mama’s Funeral”, and you’re left with an almost discouragingly optimistic realization that life can be more painful than death.
At times Welder may sound a bit too polished to fall under the label of “alt-country,” if anyone uses that term anymore, but it’s also too damn real, honest, and complex to dare be associated with any of that generic horse shit pop being shoveled out of music row. It’s just good music, and if you’re that hung up on categorizing your music based on pre-conceived labels, you’ve got bigger problems than figuring out what to call this album.
Just go get it, and if you’re one of those OCD types that has to categorize everything by antiquated record store and radio labels, take a hand full of Xanex, before you try to figure out which row in your CD rack to put it on, and maybe go get some therapy. You really shouldn’t let those old daddy issues affect your love for good music.