By Steven Neff, Rock At Night Orlando Correspondent
Dynamic country vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Elizabeth Cook returned to Florida for what proved to be an epic night of country music, served up as only Cook could do.
Prior to the Elizabeth Cook’s stand out performance in Orlando, she took the time to talk with Rock At Night about the new album, her life, and her supporting cast with whom she shares the stage and the road. That interview can be found below.
Cook was touring with a new album entitled Exodus of Venus, which was released just a few months ago via Agent Love Music. The album has been highly praised by listeners and critics alike.
Cook’s life in the last few years has been anything but blissful, not to mention the fact that the challenges she faced had made a new album impossible in the time that many artists might have produced two albums. Her last effort, Welder; had been released six years earlier. Then, one by one, tragedy struck. Those tragedies became the fruit of what now is Exodus of Venus, a journey through the dark side of Elizabeth Cook’s life.
Despite Exodus of Venus’s dark vibe however, what you get from Cook is that she’s not a victim. On stage and in person she’s a delight to be around. Cook’s lyrics speak to the tragedy as if to say, “You’ve brought me down as far as I can go, but when all is said and done; you’ll be the one that’s looking up at me.”
Cook’s homecoming brought her to The Abbey on South Eola in Orlando. The Abbey is likened to a small, but chic dinner theater that proved to be the perfect intimate setting for Elizabeth Cook and her fans to meet in the middle for a warm country embrace.
Prior to Elizabeth Cook taking the stage, the crowd was treated to an excellent opener in John Frank. I always like to get to a concert when the opening acts take stage. John Frank made me glad I did. Frank’s performance was very good as a precursor to the headliner in Cook that would soon follow. As a songwriter and lyricist, Frank was well received and we wish him well as he told us he was soon moving to Nashville.
The crowd began to erupt as Cook and her excellent cast of bandmates took the stage. Cook and company provided a seventeen song setlist that culminated into a memorable concert experience. Well done.
- Exodus Of Venus
- Rock N’ Roll Man
- Tabitha Tuder’s Mama
- Every Humble Knee
- Hear Jerusalem Calling
- Yes To Booty
- Methodone Blues
- Pale Blue Eyes
- Sometimes It Takes Balls To Be a Woman
- Cuttin’ Diamonds
- Broke Down In London
- Dharma Gate
- Straight Jacket Love
- El Camino
Todd Bolden -Bass
Jonathan Trebing –Guitar
Special thanks go to Heather Smith of Gold Mountain Entertainment who made our concert coverage and interview possible.
Thanks also go to tour manager Larry Spratlin, who was our concert liason and the dynamo that just gets things done.
And finally, to Elizabeth Cook for taking time out for us; we truly appreciate it and we enjoyed the Cook concert experience.
ROCK AT NIGHT MAGAZINE TALKS WITH ELIZABETH COOK
Rock At Night: Elizabeth, thanks very much for taking the time with us, we really appreciate it.
Rock At Night: You just got back from The Outlaw Country Cruise. Is that an environment that you can change the setlist up a bit as opposed to your on shore setlist? Or can you not say because what happens on The Outlaw Country Cruise stays on The Outlaw Country Cruise? J
Elizabeth: I’m a creature of habit and I like keeping the show the same for stretches at a time, but on the boat since we had so many repeat audience members, we changed it up.
Rock At Night: Before there was Nashville, the Grand Ole Opry, or even the music; there was just Elizabeth Cook. Can you talk about where your musical journey began and bring us up to speed of where that journey is at now?
Elizabeth: Mama and daddy had a honky tonk band and started putting me on stage with them when I was 8. I made a few records as a kid and then quit for a long time. The next chapter of any substance was Nashville, there were on and off deals for years until i was able to carve out my indie career with David Macias and Thirty Tigers. I made Balls, Welder and Gospel Plow. Got a radio gig on Sirius XM and some acting gigs…lots of other stuff happened and then I finally made Exodus of Venus in 2016.
Rock At Night: Congrats on your newest album, Exodus of Venus. You’re currently touring in support of the new album. What’s life like on the road on a tour bus? Are you more at home in the studio or on the road?
Elizabeth: I’m most at home at home. I love being home with my dog and my yard and my neighborhood coffee shop. But I’m a cancer sign. I nest wherever I am and sometimes go to pretty great measures to do it in vehicles, green rooms, and hotels.
Rock At Night: Exodus of Venus has been well received. There was a six year gap from the time of your previous work, Welder. Artists don’t typically take six years between albums. Can you talk a little about what happened that put things on hold so to speak between albums?
Elizabeth: Two years after Welder I was starting the next record, when David letterman called…appearances on his show led to a sitcom deal with CBS. I was spending about half my time in LA. That kept occupied until 2014. Then a lot of people had died and there were some divorces and a fire. So 2016 was the best I could do.
Rock At Night: There are some dark elements to Exodus of Venus. What made you decide to incorporate those elements into the lyrics?
Elizabeth: I don’t decide what to incorporate into lyrics. I just write and that’s what came out.
Rock At Night: I’ve read that the new album is raw and as good as it gets. Has this been the general consensus from fans? Would you say that Exodus of Venus is more of an organic type of album? This isn’t something folks are gonna listen to and be able to relate to it as a mainstream country album is it?
Elizabeth: It’s far from my most organic album. It has much more production than any record I’ve ever made. In the right hands that can be a really good thing. And in my opinion it was here. Producer Dexter Green did an amazing job transcending me and these songs to a sonically lusher place. Except for one terrible review from a sports writer at the Washington post, it’s been across the board dug by press and fans. Many fans have made a point to tell me they “like the new sound”. I hear that a lot.
Rock At Night: Is it safe to say that Exodus of Venus is your way of saying “Been there, done that, and wore out life’s t-shirt?
Elizabeth: I don’t see it that way. It’s just an introspective of this most recent chapter of my life. It was a period chock full of trials and tribs. I’m hopeful there will be more and it won’t likely be the same.
Rock At Night: In researching the material for this interview, I’ve seen on several occasions that people are very much impressed with your cast of bandmates. Can you talk a little about your supporting cast of musicians and what they bring to the stage with you?
Elizabeth: Tanner Jacobsen is on drums and vocals. He’s a very unique human and a very emotional player. He is fascinating to watch.
Todd Bolden plays bass and has been with me the longest. We’ve seen and done a lot together. When I found him he was just this sweet kid working in a sandwich shop in east Nashville, but the first time he played and sang with me he put me instantly at ease. He is so smooth and flawless.
Jonathan Trebing is on electric guitar and he is newest to the band. He has played in arenas with the biggest stars and I’m very fortunate to have a musician of his caliber on stage with me. I love hearing him getting tighter and tighter with the material and taking it to new places.
And I can’t leave out Larry Spratlin our tour manager. Larry is a girl, about 5’4″ and straight Memphis mafia. She smokes cigarettes and wheels us down the road and deals with all manner of crazy situations like a laid back badass champ.
Rock At Night: While I know it’s still a little bit early, have you given any thought to what’s gonna be on the next album?
Rock At Night: Lastly and this may be the most important question; whose songs are you singin’ in the shower? J
Rock At Night: Thanks so much for your time Elizabeth!
Elizabeth: Thank you!
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Steve is a Brevard County, Florida based concert photographer who loves the experience of live shows and tries to bring that experience back to fans through the great medium known as Rock At Night.
Whether it’s a one concert event or extended on the road tour coverage with music’s best bands, Steve covers the exciting energy of “the moment” and paints it across a blank canvas that he hopes music connoisseurs will enjoy.
Steve’s music of taste ranges from the symphonic awesomeness of bands like Within Temptation and Nightwish to the rock heavyweights of the 80’s and back to the beat of Armin van Buuren, with a little jazz and blues mixed in for some variety.
One of his favorite mottos: “Life is too short to drink grocery store coffee.”