Thursday, December 9, 2010


Readers of No Expiration know that I'm not really the blogger writing about tons of artists that no one has heard of. I'm not trying to one-up everyone with my knowledge of obscure music! But I realize that not a lot of people know who Elizabeth Cook is. That's got to change, people!  Maybe it is changing: I read that both Paste and Rolling Stone named Elizabeth's Welder as one of their top albums of the 2010. I gotta represent and do my part, so I'm here to tell you that it's in my top 20 also (I'm still working on the whole list, but Welder is a lock, yo).

I discovered Elizabeth via SiriusXM's Outlaw Country (full disclosure, I work for the company).  Outlaw Country happens to be one of the reasons I subscribed to SIRIUS, before I worked there. I advise you to check it out, if you don't totally suck.  Anyway, Elizabeth's music gets played on the channel, but she's also the weekday morning DJ, and she's just awesome to listen to. Some musicians have a great personality, but it doesn't translate to their records, somehow.  That isn't the case with Elizabeth, Welder is great. She is one of the greatest country singers of our era.  She definitely belongs on Outlaw Country, which means that she's not mainstream Nashville, which means she's a bit harder to promote than the big country music stars you always hear about.  I don't knock them: I just think she's better. Her music rings truer. I don't know if all of her songs are about her, or if some are about her, it doesn't matter.  They all sound like they are about her when she's singing them.

On one hand, she's hilarious.  In "El Camino," she sings "if I wake up married, I'll have to annul it/right now my hands are in his mullet" and then there's "Yes To Booty," ("It's common knowledge 'round hree, when you say yes to beer, you say no to booty"). On the other, "Heroin Addict Sister" and "Mama's Funeral" are as sad as they sound, and you feel the hurt. But isn't that how life is?  There's fun, there's sex and there's also death.  She tackles all of it and doesn't flinch. She's a sexy chick who takes on life's less sexy realities.  And the songs are all tuneful (it's not just about the lyrics). She reminds me a bit of Loretta Lynn. She's funny, but her music also cuts really deep.

Not to make too big a deal of this, but Don Was produced the album. It sounds like he just backed off and let Elizabeth and the other musicians do their thing, that's what a good producer does sometimes.  But the guy has produced The Rolling Stones, Bonnie Raitt, Iggy Pop and Willie Nelson to name a few, he knows his way around a great album. There are a few guests on the album - Buddy Miller (one of my favorite artists of the '00s), Dwight Yoakam and Rodney Crowell all show up as backing singers.

Anyway, if you trust me - and when have I led you wrong? - check out Welder, I bet you'll like it. I recently had the good fortune to be able to film her when she stopped by SiriusXM's Road Dog Trucking studio, here's her performance of "Heroin Addict Sister." It was moving to be there. I still don't know if it is actually about her sister, but if felt like it was.

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