|Born||July 17, 1972|
Wildwood, Florida, U.S.
|Genres||Country, Ameripolitan, Americana, honky-tonk|
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, mandolin|
|Labels||Warner Bros., Hog County, 31 Tigers|
Elizabeth Cook (born July 17, 1972) is an American country music singer and radio host. She has made over 400 appearances on the Grand Ole Opry since her debut on March 17, 2000, despite not being a member. Cook, "the daughter of a hillbilly singer married to a moonshiner who played his upright bass while in a prison band", was "virtually unknown to the pop masses" before she made a debut appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman in June 2012. The New York Times called her "a sharp and surprising country singer" and an "idiosyncratic traditionalist".
The youngest of 12 children, Cook was born in Wildwood, Florida. Her mother, Joyce, played mandolin and guitar and performed on radio and local television. Her father, Thomas, also played string instruments. He honed his skills playing upright bass in the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary prison band while serving time for running moonshine. In prison he learned welding; Cook would name her 2010 album Welder. After his release from prison, he and Joyce began playing together in local country bands. Elizabeth was onstage with them when she was 4, singing material like songwriter John Schweers' "Daydreams About Night Things", a 1975 hit for Ronnie Milsap. She formed a band when she was 9.
Cook moved to Nashville, Tennessee in 1996 to work for PricewaterhouseCoopers. She got a publishing deal and ended up sleeping on the floor of the publishing house for three years while she worked on honing her craft, with The Blue Album, which contained demo recordings she had made in Nashville, finally being released in 2000. She cut her major-label debut, 2002's Hey Y'all, for Atlantic Records. Hey Y'all wasn't a success. After taking a shot at co-writing, Cook asked to be released from her contract. A proposed deal with Sony Records subsequently fell through.
She released 2004's This Side of the Moon, which was eventually picked up by record label Thirty Tigers. It received positive reviews from The New York Times and No Depression. Produced by Rodney Crowell, Balls, which included a song Cook had written with songwriter Melinda Schneider, "Sometimes It Takes Balls to Be a Woman", was released in May 2007. Welder featured appearances by Dwight Yoakam, Crowell and Buddy Miller.
Cook toured in America, as well as in South Korea, Japan, Norway, Sweden, Poland, France and the UK. She appeared at the Cambridge Folk Festival, the Maverick Festival and the Borderline in London. She has continued to play the Grand Ole Opry, making over 400 appearances—the most by a non-member of the radio show.
At the suggestion of Paul Shaffer, Cook was invited in August 2011 to be a guest on Late Show with David Letterman, where she discussed satellite radio and growing up in Florida. She considered starring in a CBS sitcom about a single mother whose life is disrupted by the arrival of her criminal father, but the show never came to fruition. In June 2012 Cook returned to the Late Show to perform with Jason Isbell. American Songwriter notes that they sang covers of Townes Van Zandt's "Pancho and Lefty" and "Tecumseh Valley". On March 14, 2013, she appeared a third time on the Late Show with David Letterman and was interviewed by Letterman. She worked extensively with Carlene Carter on Carter's tenth studio album, Carter Girl. On June 2, 2014, she appeared a fourth time on Late Show with David Letterman, performing Lou Reed's "Pale Blue Eyes".
In 2016, Cook released her sixth studio album, Exodus of Venus.
Starting in 2020, Cook began hosting Upstream with Elizabeth Cook, a fishing show on the Circle network.
On September 11, 2020, she released the album Aftermath.
After Welder was released, she and Carroll divorced, and she lost her family farm. In addition, her father, mother, brother, mother-in-law and brother-in-law died during this period. She cancelled an upcoming tour and entered rehab.
Cook later said, "I needed some help. I did not feel like rehab was what I needed and I tried to desperately convince some key people around me that in that moment I needed intensive therapy and I probably needed medication. They cancelled the tour and said you can't go because we don't trust the state that you're in. You're saying you're not addicted to anything and you're saying you don't have an eating disorder but we don't know that". She was critical of the treatment she received during rehab.
|Title||Album details||Peak chart
|The Blue Album||
|This Side of the Moon||
|Exodus of Venus||
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart|
|2002||"Stupid Things"||Hey Y'all|
|2007||"Sometimes It Takes Balls to Be a Woman"||Balls|
|2010||"All the Time"||Welder|
|2012||"Leather & Lace" (with Aaron Watson)||Hearts Across Texas|
|2002||"Stupid Things"||Chris Rogers|
|2005||"Before I Go That Far"|
|2007||"Sometimes It Takes Balls to Be a Woman"||Roger Pistole|
|2008||"Sunday Morning"||George Nicholas|
|2010||"All the Time"||Kristin Barlowe|
|2012||"Rock n Roll Man"||Stacie Huckabee|
|2020||"Perfect Girls of Pop"||Curtis Wayne Milliard|
|2020||"Bad Decisions"||Jeff Adamczyk|
|2020||"Thick Georgia Woman"||Alan Steadman|
|2020||"Two Chords and a Lie"||Curtis Wayne Millard|
|2007||"The Great Atomic Power" (with The Grascals)||Various||Song of America||Compilation album|
|2012||"Leather and Lace" (with Aaron Watson)||Various||Hearts Across Texas||Compilation album|
|2013||"Feels So Right" (with Todd Snider)||Various||High Cotton: A Tribute to Alabama||Compilation album|
|2014||"Blackie's Gunman"||Carlene Carter||Carter Girl||Also backing vocals on tracks 1, 5, 6 and 10|
|2015||"I Had Someone Else Before I Had You"||Asleep at the Wheel||Still the King: Celebrating the Music of Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys|
|2016||"From Here to the Blues"||Doug Seegers||Walking on the Edge of the World|
|2016||"If Teardrops Were Pennies"||Buddy Miller||Cayamo Sessions at Sea||Live album|
Awards and nominations
|Year||Association||Category||Nominated Work||Result|
|2007||Americana Music Awards||Song of the Year||Sometimes, It Takes Balls to Be a Woman||Nominated|
|2011||Americana Music Awards||Album of the Year||Welder||Nominated|
|2011||Americana Music Awards||Song of the Year||El Camino||Nominated|
|2011||Americana Music Awards||Artist of the Year||Elizabeth Cook||Nominated|
|2014||Ameripolitan Music Awards||Outlaw Female||Elizabeth Cook||Won|
|2015||Ameripolitan Music Awards||DJ||Elizabeth Cook - Sirius XM Outlaw||Nominated|
|2016||Ameripolitan Music Awards||DJ||Elizabeth Cook - Sirius XM Outlaw||Nominated|
Live radio appearances
- Bob Harris Country, BBC Radio 2, July 8, 2010. Cook performed 3 songs live: "All The Time", "El Camino", "My Heroin Addict Sister".
- The Back Road Radio Show, Indianapolis, IN 91.9FM WITT, Cook did a Live Interview/>
- "Why Isn't Elizabeth Cook a Grand Ole Opry Member?". October 2020.
- Michael Bialas (September 12, 2014). "Show and Tell It Like It Is: Elizabeth Cook Pulls Some Apron Strings in Nashville". Huffington Post.
- Marissa Moss (May 14, 2015). "How David Letterman Built a Late-Night Haven for Country Music". Rolling Stone.
- Jon Caramanica (June 22, 2010). "Country Singer, With Entourage of Characters in Tow". The New York Times.
- "Elizabeth Cook: Daughter Of A 'Welder'" interview/report by All Things Considered host Melissa Block, May 18, 2010. Retrieved May 18, 2010.
- "BBC Radio 2 - Bob Harris Country, Elizabeth Cook in session". Bbc.co.uk. July 8, 2010. Retrieved September 16, 2016.
- "Elizabeth Cook Bio". Elizabeth-Cook.com. Archived from the original on February 26, 2009. Retrieved August 23, 2021.
- Sanneh, Kelefa (December 22, 2005). "CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK: Stealth Sounds That Missed the Charts but Merit a Hearing". The New York Times. Retrieved May 18, 2010. E. Cook's album is one of ten noted in the article.
- "Bob Harris playlist for Bob Harris Country - 8 July 2010". Bobharris.org. Archived from the original on September 25, 2016. Retrieved September 16, 2016.
- "Braves Opening Day: The Fredi G. Era begins Archived 2011-04-03 at the Wayback Machine". ajc.com (March 31, 2011). Retrieved April 1, 2011
- "Elizabeth Cook and Jason Isbell Cover Townes Van Zandt". American Songwriter. June 15, 2012. Retrieved June 18, 2012.
- Bialas, Michael (September 12, 2014). "Show and Tell It Like It Is: Elizabeth Cook Pulls Some Apron Strings in Nashville".
- "Elizabeth Cook triumphs over tragedy".
- "Elizabeth Cook Chart History: Country Albums". Billboard. Retrieved April 16, 2019.
- "Elizabeth Cook Chart History: Heatseekers Albums". Billboard. Retrieved April 16, 2019.
- Bjorke, Matt (July 12, 2016). "Country Albums Sales Chart: July 12, 2016". Roughstock.
- Newcomer, Wendy (May 31, 2012). "Elizabeth Cook to Release Gospel Plow June 12". Great American Country. Retrieved June 1, 2012.