Elizabeth Cook

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Elizabeth Cook
Cook performing in 2009
Cook performing in 2009
Background information
Born (1972-07-18) July 18, 1972 (age 51)
Wildwood, Florida, U.S.
GenresCountry, Ameripolitan, Americana, honky-tonk
Occupation(s)Singer-songwriter, host
Instrument(s)Vocals, guitar, mandolin
Years active2000–present
LabelsWarner Bros., Hog County, 31 Tigers

Elizabeth Cook (born July 18, 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.[1] Cook, "the daughter of a hillbilly singer married to a moonshiner who played his upright bass while in a prison band",[2] was "virtually unknown to the pop masses" before she made a debut appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman in June 2012.[3] The New York Times called her "a sharp and surprising country singer" and an "idiosyncratic traditionalist".[4]

Early life[edit]

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.[5] 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.[6] She formed a band when she was 9.

Cook graduated from Georgia Southern University in 1996 with dual degrees in Accounting and Computer Information Systems.[7]


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[8] 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.

She toured the UK in support of Welder, performing 18 dates with her then-husband, guitarist and songwriter Tim Carroll, and her upright bass player Bones Hillman, formerly of Midnight Oil.[9]

Cook was invited by the Atlanta Braves to sing the national anthem before their 2011 home opener on April 8, 2011.[10]

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".[11] 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.

She can also be heard on select episodes of the Adult Swim series Squidbillies, where she voices Tammi.[citation needed]

Radio show[edit]

Cook hosts the mid-day radio show "Elizabeth Cook's Apron Strings" on the Sirius XM radio station Outlaw Country. She has been nominated for two Ameripolitan Music Awards for her radio work.

Personal life[edit]

After Welder was released, she and Carroll divorced,[12] 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.[13]

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.[citation needed]


Studio albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart
US Country
US Heat
The Blue Album
Hey Y'all
This Side of the Moon
  • Release date: August 2004
  • Label: Hog Country
  • Release date: May 1, 2007
  • Label: 31 Tigers
  • Release date: May 11, 2010
  • Label: 31 Tigers
43 23
Exodus of Venus
  • Release date: June 17, 2016
  • Label: Agent Love
23 7
  • Release date: September 11, 2020
  • Label: Agent Love
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Extended plays[edit]

Title EP details
Gospel Plow
  • Release date: June 12, 2012[17]
  • Label: 31 Tigers


Year Single Album
2002 "Stupid Things" Hey Y'all
2007 "Sometimes It Takes Balls to Be a Woman" Balls
2008 "Sunday Morning"
2010 "All the Time" Welder
2012 "Leather & Lace" (with Aaron Watson) Hearts Across Texas

Music videos[edit]

Year Video Director
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 "Bones" James Southard
2020 "Bad Decisions" Jeff Adamczyk
2020 "Thick Georgia Woman" Alan Steadman
2020 "Two Chords and a Lie" Curtis Wayne Millard

Guest appearances[edit]

Year Song Artist Album Notes
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
2022 "Everybody Wants To Rule The World" Various 3Sirens Presents: With Love Part 2 Compilation album

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Nominated Work[citation needed] 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[edit]

  • Bob Harris Country, BBC Radio 2, July 8, 2010. Cook performed 3 songs live: "All The Time", "El Camino", "My Heroin Addict Sister".[6]
  • The Back Road Radio Show, Indianapolis, IN 91.9FM WITT, Cook did a Live Interview/>


  1. ^ "Why Isn't Elizabeth Cook a Grand Ole Opry Member?". Rolling Stone. October 2020.
  2. ^ Michael Bialas (September 12, 2014). "Show and Tell It Like It Is: Elizabeth Cook Pulls Some Apron Strings in Nashville". Huffington Post.
  3. ^ Marissa Moss (May 14, 2015). "How David Letterman Built a Late-Night Haven for Country Music". Rolling Stone.
  4. ^ Jon Caramanica (June 22, 2010). "Country Singer, With Entourage of Characters in Tow". The New York Times.
  5. ^ "Elizabeth Cook: Daughter Of A 'Welder'" interview/report by All Things Considered host Melissa Block, May 18, 2010. Retrieved May 18, 2010.
  6. ^ a b "BBC Radio 2 - Bob Harris Country, Elizabeth Cook in session". Bbc.co.uk. July 8, 2010. Retrieved September 16, 2016.
  7. ^ "Elizabeth Cook Bio". Elizabeth-Cook.com. Archived from the original on February 26, 2009. Retrieved August 23, 2021.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ "Bob Harris playlist for Bob Harris Country - 8 July 2010". Bobharris.org. Archived from the original on September 25, 2016. Retrieved September 16, 2016.
  10. ^ "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
  11. ^ "Elizabeth Cook and Jason Isbell Cover Townes Van Zandt". American Songwriter. June 15, 2012. Retrieved June 18, 2012.
  12. ^ Bialas, Michael (September 12, 2014). "Show and Tell It Like It Is: Elizabeth Cook Pulls Some Apron Strings in Nashville". HuffPost.
  13. ^ "Elizabeth Cook triumphs over tragedy". The Tennessean.
  14. ^ "Elizabeth Cook Chart History: Country Albums". Billboard. Retrieved April 16, 2019.
  15. ^ "Elizabeth Cook Chart History: Heatseekers Albums". Billboard. Retrieved April 16, 2019.
  16. ^ Bjorke, Matt (July 12, 2016). "Country Albums Sales Chart: July 12, 2016". Roughstock.
  17. ^ Newcomer, Wendy (May 31, 2012). "Elizabeth Cook to Release Gospel Plow June 12". Great American Country. Archived from the original on June 7, 2012. Retrieved June 1, 2012.

External links[edit]