the musical boxa live music blog at lexgo.com

Country singer Elizabeth Cook goes back to her Sunday-morning roots

Contributing Music WriterJune 7, 2012 

Elizabeth Cook is slated to perform Friday night at Cosmic Charlie's.

Elizabeth Cook and Tim Carroll

7 p.m. June 8 at Cosmic Charlie's, 388 Woodland Ave. $10. (859) 309-9499. Cosmic-charlies.com.

There's nothing like a blast of gospel to fortify one's self and soul for the weekend. Mind you, Florida-born country stylist Elizabeth Cook is not what you could exactly call a church singer.

After all, her 2010 album Welder — a record that boasted help from Americana/country greats Buddy Miller, Dwight Yoakam and Rodney Crowell — earned a modest amount of radio notoriety for the song Heroin Addict Sister.

But the record that brings Cook and her high-register country wail back to Lexington is a spirited seven-song EP disc titled Gospel Plow. Due out Tuesday, the record is pure, electric, roots-country fun, from Cook's fervent singing over a backdrop of banjo and Waco Brothers-flavored guitar twang on Hear Jerusalem Calling to the lovingly rocking, Loretta Lynn-esque slant of Every Humble Knee Must Bow.

Gospel Plow was inspired equally by the life and loss of Cook's father and the Sunday mornings she spent as a youth at Sunset Park Church of God in Sumter County, Fla. It was there, as the singer's bio material explains, "people wept, passed out, spoke in tongues, got healed or pretended to or felt like they had. The '70s post-modern faux stained glass pulsed with soul-stirring music for sometimes two to three hours before the sermon even started."

Cook performs an early show Friday night at Cosmic Charlie's in a trio with husband Tim Carroll and former Midnight Oil bassist Bones Hillman. Carroll will perform an opening set.

The performance kicks off a full weekend and week ahead at Cosmic Charlie's. The upstart New York-bred roots music duo known as The Two-Man Gentleman Band takes the stage after Cook on Friday, with Holy Ghost Tent Revival opening (10 p.m., $8); local honky-tonk faves Coralee and the Townies headline Saturday (10 pm, $5); roots, blues, soul and country stylists The Lee Boys visit Wednesday (10 p.m. $8); and the masked men of surf, rock and twang, Los Straitjackets, share a bill with Eilen Jewell on Thursday (10 p.m.; $12, $15).

Above average

During its mid-'70s heyday, the Average White Band was considered a novelty — a gimmick, almost. Though devoted to American-bred soul, funk and R&B, its initial lineup consisted entirely of white musicians from Scotland.

Time, however, has proved the band is far from average. Several alumni members have forged lasting careers. Drummer Steve Ferrone, after an extensive free-lance career alongside greats like Eric Clapton, has been a member of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers for much of the past two decades. Co-vocalist/bassist/guitarist Hamish Stuart served in Paul McCartney's band for two worldwide tours during the '90s.

And then there is the music. Radio hits like Cut the Cake and the instrumental Pick Up the Pieces established an international fan base. But for a peek at AWB at its best, give a listen to 1976's Soul Searching, a heavily jazz-flavored and wonderfully organic-sounding blast of traditional soul smarts.

The band still tours, with vocalist/bassist/guitarist Alan Gorrie and guitarist Onnie McIntyre remaining from the glory years. It performs Friday at Buster's Billiards & Backroom, 899 Manchester Street. (9 p.m. $25, $28. (859) 368-8871. Bustersbb.com.)

Wallflower

For more than 30 years, The Wall has stood as a rock-solid pyramid of paranoia, isolation and pop-culture delusion. It also remains the most defining representation of the music Roger Waters created with Pink Floyd.

Today, at age 68, Waters is in the final stages of perhaps his last construction of The Wall. A two-year tour that has taken the singer/bassist/ bandleader/composer around the globe performing the album in full theatrical splendor comes to Louisville on Sunday.

Waters' concert at the KFC Yum Center will mark his first regional performance since a summer 1977 show with Pink Floyd at Freedom Hall in Louisville. Tickets aren't cheap: Prices for the 8 p.m. performance range from $58 to $204. Dark nostalgia, it seems, comes with a price. Tickets are available through TicketMaster at 1-800-745-3000 or Ticketmaster.com.

Doctor and a Mule

Guitarist Warren Haynes has reconvened his long running Gov't Mule after a year of work with a soul-directed side band that bore his name. Even better, the Mule will be sharing the stage Thursday at Iroquois Amphitheater, 1080 Amphitheater Road, Louisville, with Dr. John. The latter is enjoying some of the best reviews of his 40-year career for his recent Dan Auerbach-produced album Locked Down. (7:30 p.m. $29.50-$40. (502) 368-5865. Ticketfly.com or Iroquoisamphitheater.com.)

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