Archives for category: Elizabeth Cook

Rick Rubin has just produced another watershed masterpiece; ZZ Top’s best recording since Deguello. La Futura , out on American Recordings, simmers like Hot Chorizo Texas Chili with a layer of pure Agave Tequila set on fire bruja ja rising into the air.

This is what a career is suppose to be, a band that just keeps getting better and better and comes up with a crowning achievement decades later.  La Futura literally sits with The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Blood Sugar Sex Magic and the Johnny Cash American Recordings as Producer Rick Rubin’s current best of the best.

Billy Gibbons voice is all “Whiskey and Gravel” kicking off with a Lightnin’ Malcolm meets Billy at the crossroads groove “Gotsta Get Paid”, just a double call and response to their own “Just Got Paid,” and the rap hit “25 Lighters.” No easy task, being a prequel to “Just got paid today, got me a pocket full of change,” and a current rap tune. Let’s call it, multi-tasking.

La Futura inset photo- credit- ZZ

The second cut is what made me go out and get a copy. I heard “Chartreuse’” all “Tush” all over the place on Elizabeth Cook’s Outlaw Country radio show on Sirius Radio the other day and I said “Whoa man, this isn’t just another ZZ Top album for a tour, this is choice grade T-Bone!”

Elizabeth has the best radio show on the air or internet right now. You can call it country, but, she is all over the place, a real tastemaker, literally the “Rodney Bingenheimer” of Americana. Elizabeth just may be the one person that cleans out the fuel injectors of what is now Country music.

Recorded at Foam Box Recording in Houston, Texas, ZZ Top take it back to the old neighborhood, even showing a little of those early day influences like “Over You” with its “Whiter Shade of Pale” late 60’s vibe, Mellotron strings even coming in.

Just when you think the album is going towards Eliminator without any electronic drums, Billy throws down some clean loud Les Paul talking to Mr. Marshall blues on “I Don’t Wanna Lose, Lose, You.”

The best way to describe the album is being back down to the bone dry boogie three piece, with decades of guitar tone knowledge that puts the microphone in the paper speaker cone and will cause instant goose bumps for all those guitar tone dogs that sit for hours in new and used amplifier shops looking for the Holy Grail, an old Park 50 Watt head, Brown Tolex Fenders, original Orange amp, a pre Mesa Boogie’d Fender Deluxe, a Hendrix era Marshall Plexi and then compare them to maybe a Dr. Z, Divided by 13 or Samamp. If you like Electric Guitar that just shreds with fuzzy warmth and revs like a 65 Corvette or six-pack Barracuda, this is it Brotha!

Photo – ZZ

La Futura deserves to be heard while driving in your El Camino, windows rolled down, the 350 double 4 barrel carbs just kicking a jet blast out the twin tailpipes and the 400 Watt Fosgate with an EQ Booster rolling the 8 track through the spindle.

The Eliminator car is on the back cover as a current day “Rat Rod” ready to roll in what looks like a vintage photo. I’ll leave the rest to your imagination and, no, I wasn’t paid by a publicist to write this, I just got to say it’s good for ZZ Top to be back for more than just a tour stop! Pica Talcon! Andale! Rapido! Man, I need a plate of spicy Texas Enchiladas covered in grated sharp cheddar and Queso Blanco; I’ll have to settle for Pepperfire’s Hot Chicken!

I have a couple of suggestions; U2, where are those Rick Rubin Produced tracks you should have put out? And …Eddie, next time take Roth and the Van Halen brood down to this Houston, Texas studio and let Rick Rubin Produce the dang thing.

– Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN

I am not going to let dust settle on this one; The August with Jacky Dustin is a force to be reckoned with. I know some of you Industry types on Music Row check this site. Peel open The August’ new CD, Dear Chicago Love Nashville! Jacky is where country should be at with her Tammy Wynette meets Tina Turner twang soul vocals, she is original and should be the voice of Country today.

The August not only went through their eclectic mix of country meets the windy city with tracks “We Write our Songs’ to “Big Wheels” but went places that maybe only Elizabeth Cook might go on “Love Me Like A Stranger”. Strange brew indeed.

The audience was a demographic statistician’s nightmare, because their audience cannot be pegged. Everybody was there to hear a different angle of the Nashville Machine’s voice of tomorrow. I like to be right. Jacky should be light years from Douglas Corner Café.

She is not an auto-tuned twangster; she is the real deal with incredible strength, presence and drive.

Not to be outdone, Wojtek Krupka, on Bass at the gig, played an even more important role on the CD, handling background vocals like Michael Anthony on Van Halen’s best, a real key to the group sound.

The August brings a little Funk, Blues and Rock and Roll to the tight small band ala Martina McBride and The Ride.  When you throw two covers into the mix like “Never Been to Spain” and the Kris Kristofferson penned “Me and Bobby McGhee” and you own it on your own terms and not Pearl’s pedigree, there is something in the way she moves.

I didn’t note who was playing guitar, as there were three guitarists outside the band on the album and none were in the group picture on the CD. Let’s just say he was Telecasterin’ through a Dr. Z but was definitely more Mike Campbell then Brent Mason.

This is a band to watch. A new Outlaw Country. This is not Texas Charts or Nashville West, this is The Nashville Windy City Sound. I’m a believer. It is easy to be jaded in Music City with so many girls moving here all the time that are really good.

It would be easy to dismiss the fact that this was a club gig, but truth be told, if Jacky and The August were out opening for Gretchen Wilson, Jamey Johnson or The Rolling Stones a lot more people would know their Chicago meets American roots sound.

– Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN

Carolina Chocolate Drops

Americana Music Festival update. There will be an awards show on Thursday September 9th which will feature Buddy Miller and an all-star band, along with other diverse guests such as Carolina Chocolate Drops, Emmylou HarrisThe Avett Brothers, Wanda Jackson and on and on. That will be at The Mother Church – The Ryman Auditorium starting at 6:30. The party will be all over town from September 8th through September 11th.

Elizabeth Cook at Grand Ole Opry

Elizabeth Cook will be at Station Inn on Wed. night at 9PM. Her song, “It Takes Balls To Be a Woman” should have been number one on country radio. No doubt her husband Tim Carroll, a phenomenal writer in his own right will be playing with her band.

There will even be an Exile on Main Street tribute going on at The Cannery Ballroom at 10:30 on the first day of the festival. It looks like I am going to have to tank up because I am going to be skipping from place to place.  It  is really cool how Americana is really taking on a wider view as time goes on.

Wanda and The King

Speaking of the Punk Scene, Exene Cervanka will be live at The Basement at 11PM which I want to really see, but this slot seems to be the big one all over town, competing with Australian guitarist  Tommy Emmanuel, not just any guitarist; being given the title C.G.P. by none other than Chet Atkins playing at The Rutledge and Wanda Jackson at Mercy Lounge all at the same time. This is like Baskin-Robbins 31 flavors. How can I decide?  If I had to judge by line up on Thursday it would be the one-two-three punch of Dale Watson, Wanda Jackson and The Dex Romweber Duo at Mercy Lounge

Talk about a line up. If I had to bet where Nashvillian Jack White will be if he is home, it will be at that show. He did do a single this past year on his Third Man Records of Dex Romweber Duo. There Cd on Bloodshot Records is fantastic.

Peter Case

I have not even got to Friday. I’ll just mention a couple, go to the schedule for the rest. Peter Case at 11pm at The Basement, Charlie Louvin of The Louvin Brothers (you can’t get more old school than that. You are almost going to back to The Carter Family) at The Rutledge at 10PM, Jim Lauderdale, the True King of Country Music today. In 2008 he did an album featuring Ronnie Tutt and James Burton from Elvis’ Band much like Graham Parsons did back in the 70’s. Everything he does is quality stuff at The Mercy Lounge at 10PM followed by the new trend in country music, new country indie artist, Shelby Lynne.

Saturday will cap off the weeks festivities with a few major stand outs, John Carter Cash, who has chosen to go the traditional route in the vein of his ancestors The Carter Family, playing at The Rutledge at 10PM. One of the greatest writers, Tony Joe White at Mercy Lounge at 11Pm.

Todd Snider

I only touched on a few of the artists performing during the four-day period, but, if you haven’t booked a flight yet, you should. It is going to be one heck of a party next week. I hope to get a few interviews, reviews and pics for The Nashville Bridge. Hope to see  you there.

– Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN