Three songs into her set at the Workplay Theatre in Birmingham Elizabeth Cook broke into the Merle Haggard tune “Today I Started Loving You Again.” Somehow she took this Haggard composition and channeled Tammy Wynette and Loretta Lynn simultaneously. There is no doubt in seeing her live that she is every bit as authentic as Tammy or Loretta. Along with her husband Tim Carroll, the crowd at Workplay was entertained by someone that the Nashville music industry brass is not going to be able to ignore much longer.
The show moved seamlessly between honky tonk twang and rock. Tim Carroll also got in on the act rocking the crowd with his on music and covers like his hard driving cover of Randy Travis’ “Diggin Up Bones,” which Cook referred to as an “ironic cover” as he took a slow song and turned it up to “11.” Cook also got the crowd going when she sang Carroll’s “If I could.” “If I could pay all these bills with my guitar then I would pay these bills with some rock and roll,” is a line she sang from that song. Paying bills might not be much of a struggle in the future based the crowd’s reaction. Cook was great with the crowd joking around with good one liners. She got a big laugh when she thanked the folks at Workplay for the “Cheese Log and Carr’s crackers” before the show saying that most places they played didn’t treat her so well.
Cook is also one heck of a clogger. She exchanged her boots for tap shoes and put on a demonstration for the crowd as Carroll accompanied her with his lively guitar work. After the clogging demonstration she launched into the live favorite “Punk Rock Honky Tonk Girl.” Toward the end when she played “Sometimes it Takes Balls to be a woman” she introduced it by saying, “Here is the song that started it all. Let’s hope it doesn’t end it too.” If the crowd at Workplay gets their way, I see no end in sight.
This review also appears on: http://twangville.com/