Elizabeth Cook's syrupy Southern drawl wakes us up nearly every morning. Not in person, of course — she reserves that honor for her husband and guitarist Tim Carroll, an accomplished songwriter and performer in his own right — but via her four-hour "Apron Strings" shift weekday mornings on Sirius/XM's Outlaw Country channel. The northern Florida native and proud East Nashville resident makes a natural DJ; she's goofy, warm and a serious fan of the honky-tonk and Americana she spins, lacing her good-ol'-Southern-gal persona with just a dash of vinegar. (It's fun to hear her cuss with that accent.) Small wonder, then, that Cook's Don Was-produced 2010 LP Welder turned out to be such a winner. Almost a mirror image of her on-air self, it twirled through bad-boy schoolgirl infatuation ("El Camino"), frisky twang ("All the Time," "Yes to Booty") and somber balladry ("Mama's Funeral," her husband's "Follow You Like Smoke") on its way to becoming one of the most decorated albums of the year in its genre. Live, Cook can be a mean clogger if the spirit moves her, and it usually does.
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