Elizabeth Cook,
Hey Y'all
(Warner Brothers, 2002)

When a singer debuts on a major label (it's not her first album ever), comparisons with other artists are inevitable. Some compare her to Tammy, Loretta and Emmylou, but although I can hear echoes of each of them (as well as Barbara Fairchild and Iris DeMent) in Elizabeth Cook, she doesn't really sound like any of the five, but somewhere in between the lot of them.

Hey Y'all entertains from beginning to end, beginning with "Stupid Things," the first single released to radio. All of the songs were written or co-written by Elizabeth except "I'm Not Lisa," a brilliant cover of Jessi Colter's classic song.

One of the tracks provides an amusing look at her struggle to get the right deal. Titled "Dolly," the question Elizabeth keeps asking is "Oh, Dolly, did you go through this?" Elizabeth once performed this with Dolly Parton listening backstage, not knowing what Dolly would think of it -- but Dolly approved.

There are many other great songs here, but it is clear from this album and her own website that Elizabeth has the voice, looks, brains and personality required for success. With major labels starting to get interested in traditional country again, perhaps she has arrived at just the right time.

Still, there is no way that Elizabeth could follow Sara Evans or Lee Ann Womack down the crossover road -- her voice twangs too much for that. She will succeed or fail on a much more traditional sound. Yes, it has a contemporary feel, but there is no hint of pop whatsoever.

If you love traditional country music, you must buy this to prove to the major labels that it's worth their investment. If you don't, you only have yourself to blame if all you get from them is crossover albums.

- Rambles
written by Peter D. Harris
published 2 August 2003

Buy it from Amazon.com.