Music Spotlight & Free MP3: Elizabeth Cook
Some songs are so downright good that release dates lose their importance. Such is the case with country-Americana singer/songwriter Elizabeth Cook's wistful ballad "Girlfriend Tonight," off her 2010 album "Welder" (31 Tigers).
The bittersweet nostalgia of "Girlfriend Tonight" captures a universal yearning to reignite the spark, and Cook told Constant Chatter that the tune was inspired by a longing to feel sexy again. "I was making an attempt to clean house. I probably hadn't looked in a mirror in days, my hair was long and tangled, and legs fuzzy as a golf green. I caught a glimpse of myself and thought, 'What the hell happened to me? I used to be fine!'"
Not that Cook and her husband, singer/songwriter Tim Carroll -- who also happens to be her guitarist -- have lost their spark: "Sometimes we get separate hotel rooms so we can miss each other, leading to late night knocks on the door ... It's kinda hot."
And not that "Girlfriend Tonight" is to be confused with a mournful lament that will have you crying in your beer at the end of a long night hugging the back corner of the bar. The song is rife with bittersweet playfulness and a beat that should provoke more than a little chair swaying.
Have a listen for yourself.
To download a free mp3 of "Girlfriend Tonight," right-click on the hyperlinked song title above.
The song's official video, embedded below, further shows off Cook's ability to draw the listener in with a performance as straightforward as it is raw. Unfortunately, the video does not showcase Cook's affinity for tossing random displays of deep south Florida clogging into her performances, something you'll have to seek out in person.
After years on the country circuit, Cook broke into the mainstream with her 2007 hit single "It Takes Balls To Be A Woman," off her fourth set, "Balls." The official video for the song features Cook in full Loretta Lynn ballgown glory, and showcases her easy comfort with in-your-face sassiness. Here's that video again, in case you missed it the first time around.
Cook's history is a raucous one. Grew up in central Florida's farm country. Mother a singer, songwriter and musician. Father a welder, musician and former runner of moonshine -- and yes, he did a little bit of time. Rather than bemoan her hardscrabble upbringing, Cook embraces it and allows it to inform her songwriting with depth, grit and a cheeky sense of humor. "Though emotional whiplash is a serious condition, as an artist, I'm grateful for experiences that have grown me up a little bit, even if it hurts like hell," she said in a press release.
As a woman in the music industry, Cook is familiar with the challenges that come with that particular territory. "The biggest challenge is I forget that there is most definitively a difference," she told Constant Chatter. "And then I find myself in a situation where it suddenly dawns on me that I am in this situation like say, argument with a tech guy, or taking criticism from a fan about what I am (or am not) wearing, primarily because I'm a chick. And then I get mad and all hell breaks loose."
When she isn't singing, writing songs, clogging, navigating a steady and arduous touring circuit, or bucking the system, Cook also hosts her weekly radio show "Apron Strings" on SiriusXM's Outlaw Country channel.