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This Side of the Moon
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
Prime Cuts: Here's to You; Cupid; Kiss Me Again

Imagine if Emmylou Harris had not dabble with the New Age ethereal foray of Americana and continues to cut albums entrenched with solidly country tunes "This Side of the Moon" could be it. Coming from the same vocal school as Harris, Cook has that mellifluous vocal with that distinct brush of southern charm, minus the country veteran's weathered worn texture. Further, her girlish coy and odylic sassiness will undoubtedly bring comparisons with Kelly Willis and Dolly Parton. Penning or co-penning 12 out of these 13 tracks and with most of them nudging under 3 minutes, this Floridian native certainly is not on the verbose side. And brevity is the soul of wit here. Cook has an acerbic outlook to love and life and she captures them just right on these paeans. Every track is a perfect capsule without an ounce of fat. Compared to her 2002 Warner Brothers debut "Hey Y'all," this set is even stronger and ironically more radio savvy.

The first 6 tracks are all stellar and they are tailored made for country radio. Given the right promotion, it's not difficult to see how the sensuous country ballad "Kiss Me Again" can make a dent in the upper echelon of the Billboard charts. Assisted by some mournful sounding steel guitars, "Kiss Me Again" is a desperate plea by Cook to her paramour to give their love another try. Fetching indeed is Cook's girlish, almost fragile vocals, which gives this weeper such an inherent believability. Another charmer is the album opener "Cupid," a honky tonk imbued toe-taper that finds an infatuated Cook blaming the god of love for the euphoria of love. Love's entangling prowess is again the theme of "Here's to You." With its sing-a-long chorus framed by some ambrosial fiddling, this could be an instant scorcher in the hands of say Martina McBride or Lee Ann Womack. Less jovial is the gorgeously penned piano ballad "Before I Go That Far," which finds a frustrated protagonist making her kiss off by engaging in ménage-a-trios with her new found flame.

Also thumbs are up when it comes to the Bakersfield-infused "All We Need is Love." Though the lyrics are edged on being juvenile ("I think you're hot/You think I'm good looking/I like your muscles/You like my cooking), this Tim Carroll (Cook's hubby) tune has such an infectious melody that all is forgivable. However, Cook is not able to get away that successfully when it comes to the more bluesy tunes like "Ruthless" or "Heather Are You with Me Tonight." There's not enough grit and soul within her to tackle such numbers with conviction and credibility.

Nevertheless, if you are looking for songs that championed for neo-traditional country (a la Alan Jackson and George Strait) "This Side of the Moon" will not disappoint. Instead of drowning out the singer, the production is spot on: often subdued yet subtle enough to enhance the emotional nuances of each paean. Further, Cook's voice is a delight, in the midst of many divas who scream their heads off, Cook sings to soothe, excite and convince. And she does it with honors.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on December 20, 2006
Format: Audio CD
The best traditional country music cd of the past ten years.

"Before I Go That Far" is the single best "country" ballad by a female artist since Reba's "Somebody Should Leave", and would be a guaranteed number one hit had it been recorded by an established artist like Leann Womack. "Here's to You" is very nearly as good, and I can't imagine anyone else singing it better than Elizabeth does. The gorgeous title track is so reminiscent of Dolly Parton, I can see why so many reviewers are making the comparison. "Kiss Me Again" is a song I'm sure Reba would like to have recorded, given she hasn't had a great single in more than a decade. The remaining tracks are all worth listening to, but the the above-mentioned 4 tracks which appear consecutively on the album are as good a power play as you are ever likely to hear in modern country music. As you can probably tell, I'm hooked.

It's so great to hear a pure country voice that hasn't been corrupted by the Nashville music mill. Hopefully, even better things are yet to come with the impending release of her Rodney Crowell-produced next album. If you're a fan of Tammy Wynette, Dolly Parton, early Reba, or even Patty Loveless, this album is essential. My only regret is that I just recently discovered this amazingly talented singer/songwriter. Only a chance viewing of one of her videos on CMT's Edge of Country exposed me to this relatively unknown artist. Isn't it ironic? The "Edge of Country". And all this time I thought this kind of music was the real thing. I guess Faith and Tim and all the rest really do rule over country music. Sad, sad, sad.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
Elizabeth Cook's "This Side of the Moon" is another delightful country blast from this gorgeous Florida chanteuse. "Here's To You" is a midtempo track with Elizabeth's full-throttle vocals jamming the romance in reverse, "Heartache went from bad to worse, I called the doctor & got his nurse, So I'm here for a drink & the sound of a country band." On "Ruthless" Elizabeth gets funky with Alison Prestwood's bass & Henny Vaughan's stinging electric lead on this bluesy country rocker & Cook's powerful vocal, "She is gone now that you're found." Cook & Hardie McGehee penned the down-home classic "All We Need Is Love" drenched with Steve Fishell's steel guitar, "You think I'm hot & you're good lookin', I like your muscles, You like my cooking, Now all we need is love." The set closes with the sexy "Somebody's Gotta Do It" with Elizabeth's vocal cracking like a country Maria Muldaur. "This Side of the Moon" is an incredibly strong set with Elizabeth's excellent songwriting, high quality musicianship & her edgy powerful vocals blowing the mix through the roof. Bravo!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 11, 2007
Format: Audio CD
We caught Elizabeth Cook at the Ryman a few months ago and immediately picked up some of her CDs. I have to agree with some of the other reviews that she sounds like a mix of Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn. Loretta Lynn was the first thought that cross my mind when we saw her live and as I listened to the CDs, I could also hear indications of Dolly. My 5 yr old agrees. The first time we listened to This Side of the Moon, he asked if it was Loretta Lynn.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on January 4, 2006
Format: Audio CD
When Elizabeth Cook hit the scene in 2002 she was a refreshing change both from the uber pop of the mainstream but also a light hearted change from the dark and morose mainstream. Fun and swingy songs about being in love and the bounces one takes falling out of love, Hey Y'All was a good, if uneven, album. For her second album Cook has ironed out most of the wrinkles and put together an overall better collection of songs. Obviously, inspired by Cook's recent divorce, this album conjures up memories of the awesome Diary of a Mod Housewife by Amy Farris. While neither as bleak nor as funny as that classic gem, Cook does deliver a strong and satisfying album.

The album opens with its only weak spot, the cringe-worthy "Cupid." "Funny Side of Love " is a similar but much better song about looking for a guy who can keep her laughing through the hard times. "Before I Go That Far" is a wonderful, powerful waltz, that uses echoes of Dolly Parton to deliver lines like "Before I've finally had enough imagine me winding up/In another's arms/and if that breaks your heart/Stop me/Before I go that far." This is followed by the swingier "Here's To You" an anthem toasting the man who used to be her husband. A heavy dose of steel introduces the pretty love song "This Side of the Moon" which showcases Cook's soaring vocals. A pretty piano melody highlights the vulnerability of "Kiss Me Again," about two people trying to reconnect their fractured relationship. "Ruthless" is a darker, crunchier more up tempo song about a man returning home to find his wife gone (of course her name was Ruth, an old pun, but it still works). Partnered with writer Stephony Smith, Cook eases away from her hook driven lyrics in the blues influences "Alone Down Here." "Hard Hearted" is a jingle-esque song set to a perfect two step. The stand out song of the album is the soaring and gorgeous "Heather Are You With Me Tonight" about a man searching the memories of his loved one with lines like "Right now I'm not your man/I'm a pilot in flight" and "ain't it funny how winning feels just like sinning." In the hands of a lesser singer "All We Need Is Love" would be unlistenable, but Cook sells it with the right touch of humor. She takes a nice Merle Haggard doing country blues turn for the swinging "Where The Blue Begins." "Somebody's Gotta Kiss Me" is a song with nearly unforgivable lyrics, "If you'll be my Big Daddy then you're talking to your number one squeeze" but great music and incredible vocals.

Her weakness remains the very thing that sets her apart from the rest of what is called "Alt" country--a tendency to value hooks over poetry. It is refreshing to hear a women not afraid to sing something cute, and Cook's vocals sell the sentiment and emotion quite well. However lines like "That fat naked baby with the arrow and bow has go to be the worst marksman that I know" (Cupid) and "I'm a self admitted junky/cause soon as things get funky/I want to take a powder and run" (Funny Side of Love) and are best left to women like Shania Twain and it is difficult to understand how any woman of Cook's age could sing "Hard Hearted" or "Somebody's Got To Kiss Me" with a straight face. For this reason it is difficult to compare her to a Kasey Chambers or a Neko Case who's music seems almost deliberately anti-hook at times. In film they settle this dichotomity with the theory of A films (or Oscar/Prestige films) and B films (or popcorn movies). The idea is that it would be unfair to use the same scale to rank a movie like The Rock on the same scale as a movie like Schindler's List. Using that scale, Cook's album is a very good B album. It is to the mainstream what The Rock is to Dude Where's My Car?.
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on October 17, 2009
Format: Audio CD
Elizabeth Cook is a rare find in country music!
With her beautiful country voice and sparkling songwriting you just don't get much better than this.
Elizabeth continues with her traditional country sound on this sophomore album.There includes some catchy uptempos like Funny Side Of Love,Here's To You,Ruthless and All We Need Is Love.
And her voice really shines on ballads such as Before I Go That Far,This Side Of The Moon,Alone Down Here and the edgy Heather Are You With Me Tonight.
Elizabeth is often referred to as the modern day Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton and with this album you will see why.Every song is a pure gem.
You can never go wrong with an Elizabeth Cook album so this is a must to your country collection.Highly recommended!
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Format: Audio CD
Good record in her traditional singing style, but not up to her new record "Balls". Too much record companty production without understanding Elizabeth's true style. Buy it to understand how far she has come with a producer that knows how to get her best performance as with "Balls".
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on May 13, 2011
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
I really like this album. It is truthful, sometimes tap your toes, sometimes a little tearful, some times whoop and jump. She's great. Just Great!
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on February 10, 2014
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
Love her music. Haven't heard anything I have not liked. Working on getting all her albums. Won't be disappointed. Awesome
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on August 1, 2010
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
Ms. Cook sounds as good as she looks. A bit of Iris Dement with a touch more of the southern drawl. What could be finer.
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