Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Best of Nashville Comes To The Birchmere

In Robbie Fulks' notorious "F!*$ This Town", he mentions old Tim Carroll as one of the few worthwhile Nashville institutions. I'd like to suggest two additions to that list, Carroll's talented wife Elizabeth Cook and the songwriter extraordinaire, Jim Lauderdale. These three came to The Birchmere on December 2nd to display the best in Nashville country music. In Lauderdale's case it's the best of country, bluegrass, gospel, and Americana as he displayed his versatility, as a songwriter, guitarist, and vocalist. I have seen him perform numerous times, but never in just a simple solo acoustic setting. Usually its performing with a band or Donna the Buffalo or Elvis Costello or even the Reverend Newsome. Tonight, it was just Lauderdale performing songs from numerous CDs - many covered by more popularly known artists - think George Jones and Patty Loveless with Seem to be Missing You. Lauderdale's latest project is Patchwork River, songs he collaborated with James Hunter. Besides the title track, one of my favorites is Alligator Ally where he acknowledges the presence of overlook Florida inhabitants, the Florida Panther and Black Bear. I'm sure the Big Bear Brewing Company also appreciates this mention. Lauderdale can easily transition between Americana through bluegrass collaboration with Elvis Costello in  I Lost You to bluegrass with a collaboration with Dr. Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys in Lost in the Lonesome Pines or even his own Bluegrass Diaries. This is followed by more Americana in The Hummingbirds.The guys is extraordinary.

Every morning we are awakened by the soothing sound of Elizabeth Cook on Sirius\XM XCountry with "Good Morning Beautiful Outlaw People". Not only is her southern twang comforting be she has that southern girl demeanor that always forces a smile through any grumpy morning. And I'm happy to report that her stage presence exudes the same demeanor. Plus can she sing. We've been listening to Welder - Elizabeth Cook, but I think the CD doesn't give her justice. Listening live - she is the successor to Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn. She can draw you in with a powerful ballad or rock out with Carroll on the electric guitar and Bones Hillman on Upright Bass - this is as much a rockin' show as most female country singers.

It's also hard to believe how much good, original material she has composed and they played through most of these through her latest CDs, Welder, and Balls, and This Side Of The Moon, and Hey Y'all: Rock N Roll Man, El Camino, Mama's Funeral, Yes To Booty, He Got No Heart, Love You All the Time, Girlfriend Tonight, Mama's Prayers, Demon, Sunday Morning, Sometimes It Takes Balls To Be A Woman. What a collection. Not only a talented singer, but also a talented songwriter. And Cook can clog, as evident by her dancing during Carroll's train songs.The evening concluded with, of course, Cook and Lauderdale performing a duet and then Carroll and Bones Hillman joining them for a final rockin' song.Come back soon.

More pictures are available at the MyJoog Gallery.

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