Thirty One Tigers

Elizabeth Cook is a twangy torch singer who writes about the familial beads that bond and the white-hot heat of hard truths and hard living. On Welder, her fifth release, the Florida native sends the sparks flyin’ with the help of producer Don Was, guitar-playing husband Tim Carroll and some vocal contributions from the likes of Buddy Miller, Dwight Yoakam and Rodney Crowell (who produced Cook’s 2007 album, Balls.) Dispensing mini pearls of country-tinged wisdom and wit in a voice that would be right at home in the hillbilly hall of fame, Cook and her cohorts combine traditional sounds with edgy and modern Americana. Welding and melding is in this gal’s blood; the album’s title is a reference to the occupation her father learned while serving time. But while there are Lucinda-like songs of sorrow, such as “Mama’s Funeral” and “Heroin Addict Sister,” and a heartfelt cover of Texan Frankie Miller’s 1959 “Blackland Farmer,” what Cook serves up best are salacious sing-a-longs. “Yes to Booty” is a helpful reminder to beer-guzzlin’ good ‘ol boys that a little blue pill may be of no help after more than a few Pabst Blue Ribbons. And the quirky and impish “El Camino” chronicles the hard-love fall for a fella with classic ’70s wheels and little else: “If I wake up married, I’ll have to annul it/Right now, my hands are in his mullet.” — GLEASON BOOTH