Elizabeth Cook may be more known for her numerous (and hilarious) guest spots on Letterman and her awesome Sirius XM radio show Elizabeth Cook’s Apron Strings on the Outlaw Country channel, but never forget that she’s also a remarkably talented singer and songwriter. On June 13, she brought those songwriting and storytelling talents to the Rams Head On Stage for an always enjoyable concert experience.
She and her new backing band kicked off the show with a revved up version of the cool and campy “El Camino” into the rhythmic “All the Time,” both off her last full-length Welder. The anthemic “It Takes Balls to be a Woman” was up next and found itself in a celebratory and totally honkey-tonked groove.
Cook explained that her next song, was a direct result of her music loving friend David Letterman who requested that she learn The Velvet Underground’s gorgeous “Pale Blue Eyes,” which she sang flawlessly. Lou Reed would have been proud.
A trio of great new songs followed. “Methadone Blues” had a rockin’ slide guitar and a soulful chorus, “Tabitha Tuder’s Mom” is a poignant song about a little girl abducted in East Nashville years ago, and the boot stompin’ “Dyin’” had heads bobbin’.
“He brought twang to rock and roll” is how Cook introduced her exceptional cover of Gram Parsons’ “Hot Burrito #1.”
At this point it was time for Cook to enthrall the room with a few songs from 2012’s spiritually inspired Gospel Plow EP. “Hear Jerusalem Calling” featured sweet harmonies from her backing band and had an old school Johnny Cash vibe. This was followed by “Every Humble Knee Must Bow” and a second Velvet Underground cover, “Jesus,” which Cook opined that it was probably written under the influence of heroin. I’m almost certain that it was.
After playing the sassy “Rock N Roll Man,” Cook asked for a glass of wine and said, “I just realized that I wasn’t drunk enough.” She got her glass shortly after playing the playfully mocking “Yes to Booty” about “a man” who she wants to stop sipping beers and drink her up instead.
Cook’s colorful family life took center stage in the next two songs, “Mama’s Funeral” about the “hillbilly funeral” on her front porch for her Mama and the touching “Heroin Addict Sister,” about her older sister who has now been clean for seven years.
J.J. Cale’s “Magnolia” was another song inspired by Letterman who asked her to play it at a private Habitat for Humanity party in New Orleans. Thankfully, I only had to drive a mile and a half to hear it this night. It was fabulous.
Closing out her set, Cook explained “If I could’ve been anyone, anytime, I would be Linda Ronstadt” before playing the iconic “When Will I Be Loved.” The performance was as vivacious as the performer.
Upon returning to the stage she and her band played two more from Gospel Plow, the hopeful title track into the inspiring “If I had My Way, I’d Tear This Building Down,” which in a big way she did.
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Have you seen her in concert or do you have a favorite Elizabeth story? Let me know! @SneezeGuard