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Elizabeth Cook

This Side of the Moon – 2005 (Hog County Production)

Reviewed by Rick Bell

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CDs by Elizabeth Cook

Elizabeth Cook had it all going for her. A critically acclaimed indie record helped propel her to a major label, and she was on the road to stardom. It all quickly unraveled, however, as Atlantic Records shuttered its doors in Nashville, and Cook's career was shuffled across the hall to Warner. They soon parted ways, and the split left Cook with a sense of betrayal and bitterness.

The pain she felt is reflected in several songs on Cook's return to the studio - a brilliant 13-song collection of hard-edged country sung with steely conviction. Both "Here's to You" and "Hard-Hearted" in particular drip with Cook's frustration over with her split from Warner. But Cook offers much more than bitter pills. "Heather Are You With Me Tonight" is a soldier's lonesome thought of his girl back home. Cook wrote 12 of the 13 songs, with assists on some cuts from Randy Scruggs, Stephony Smith and Jim McBride. She also includes husband Tim Carroll's "Where the Blue Begins."

With her multiple talents, Cook could find herself back on a major label before too long. And it will be a hard-earned, well-deserved second chance.